What radiator valves do I need?

Buying radiator valves

One thing you will notice when you buy a radiator is that there are no valves with it, apart from perhaps the simple lock shield valves all radiators have. This is because you will need to decide which radiator valve will suit the placement of your radiator, something which will drastically change what kind of radiator valve you need.

However, there are a lot of different types of radiator valve and knowing which one is the right one for your radiator can be confusing. Fortunately we have produced a simple guide for you to help identify which radiator valve is which and what type you need or want for your radiator.

Firstly you will need to find where the valves on your radiator are. These ‘bottom opposite end’ connections are often found at the bottom of a radiator at each end and it is here that the valve will connect to the pipework of your central heating, whether that is through the floor or the wall. Next you will need decide what shape of radiator valve you need. These shapes come in five different varieties, straight, angled, cornered, H-blocked and the lock shield valve.

Straight Valves

Straight valves are one of the most common types of valve and are found on many old radiators. These valves either come straight out of the floor, and enter inlets found at the bottom of the radiator, or through an angled pipe into the side of the radiator. If your radiator has a bottom inlet then they are normally fine, however if your radiator has a side inlet they can take up a lot of room and look unattractive.

Angled Valves

Angled valves are a more popular form of valve as they are far more compact and attractive compared to straight valves. These valves literally have a 90 angle on them and can connect into a wall or floor central heating pipe through side or bottom inlets on your radiator.

Cornered Valves

Cornered valves are essentially a different type of angled valve with the angle being inverted towards the wall rather than down towards the floor. This allows you to connect the radiator to your central heating through the wall without having a clunky angled pipe hanging off the side of the radiator, giving you are far more discreet, attractive look.

Lock Shield Valves

Lock shield valves are usually the only kind of valve you will receive with a radiator or with any other type of valve you buy. These valves are for you to place on the opposite inlet to the one you are fitting with one of the valves above. They do not allow you to control heat but simply allow you to seal of the system.

If you want to make sure you get the right valve for your radiator and central heating system then the table below may help:

Radiator inlet

Central heating pipes through the wall

Central heating pipes through the floor

Bottom inlets    

Cornered valve

Straight valve

Side inlets

Angled/cornered valve

Angled valve

Middle inlets

H-block valve

H-block valve

  

H-block Valves

H-block valves can be straight and angled, however what distinguishes them from other types of valve is where they are placed and the type of radiator they are designed for. Literally creating a ‘H’ shape with their aesthetic, these valves suit radiators with inlets found within the middle of the radiator,  a common design element on very narrow radiators for small spaces such as vertical radiators for bathrooms.

Heat Control:

Manual Valves

Manual valves are the most common type of heat control you will find on radiators. Commonly they have the appearance of a simple tap; however more modern designs can come in a variety of different styles. These valves simply allow you to turn the heat of your radiator up or down depending on how much hot water you let in. Whilst simple they are not particularly accurate and can cost you more money on the long run as they do not allow you to control the heat of a radiator efficiently.

Thermostatic Valves

Thermostatic valves are becoming far more common and are an effective way of controlling the heat produced by a radiator. These valves often have a dial on them, whether physical or digital, and allow you to set the heat ‘value’ of your radiator to your desired temperature. Some modern Thermostatic Valves even allow you to control the literal temperature in degrees Celsius via digital controls. Whilst these valves are very accurate and will save you money on your fuel bills because of this, you MUST have at least one manual valve on a radiator in your home to allow the central heating to flow and prevent damage to your boiler. This is best done on a radiator in the same room as your thermostat.