Balancing Radiators: The Ultimate Guide

Who doesn't love a good practical guide? This week we are sharing with you lucky lot an in-depth guide on why, when and how to balance home radiators.

This is an incredibly useful technique that will add life to your home heating as well as increase radiator performance throughout your home. What’s not to like about that?

Once you have added this valuable radiator balancing knowledge to your DIY skillset, you’ll be able to make more use than ever of the fantastic home heating options available to you from our fantastic online store.

So, how do you balance radiators? By following this article penned by our expert team, of course…


Why Do I Need to Know How to Balance Radiators?

We’d wager that many of our readers know which of their home heating units heat up the fastest, and which take a little more time to get running.

You know which room will be hottest in the morning, which bathroom radiator to drape your clothes over as you get ready.

Uneven radiator heating speeds is the main reason behind radiator balancing, which enables you to align all your home radiators and get them heating up at the same rate.

Once you have passed through Drench’s ultimate radiator balancing guide, you will enjoy uniform home heating and will never again need to be selective as to where you rush to dress in those fearsome winter mornings.


Cold Spots?

If you are sat there wondering about the cold spots that affect your radiators no matter how fast they heat up, then you will be wanting also to bleed your radiators. Radiator bleeding is an equally important DIY maintenance for your home heating.

You can dive into Drench’s comprehensive radiator bleeding guide right here. It’s also really useful to bleed your radiators before you balance them as the temperature readings of your radiators that you take will then be more accurate.

Now you’ve got that sorted, let’s crack on with our radiator balancing act!


Radiator Balancing


You will need to get your hands on a few tools before we start radiator balancing. Nothing too outlandish, just the following:

  • Radiator bleed key
  • Lockshield valve key
  • Screwdriver
  • Digital thermometer or multimeter with thermometer

Once you have amassed these tools, summon all your energy and prepare to add radiator balancing to your ever-increasing arsenal of DIY power!


1. Turn Your Home Heating Off

To begin to balance your home radiators, you must first turn off your home heating system so that every radiator in the home is ice cold.

It is not essential but can be useful if you have recently bled your radiators, as this will enable you to take more accurate temperature readings from each of your home radiators.


2. Know Your Radiator Valve

The next step is getting up close and personal with the valves featured on your radiators.

You may already know what these are and even ensured that you have the same type of valve across every radiator to make tasks such as radiator balancing and radiator bleeding all the simpler. On the other hand, you may have no idea.

Either way it is incredibly easy to determine the type of radiators valves with which you are working!

You will have either a push cap or screw cap and will need the right type of screwdriver to remove this and subsequently expose the radiator valve body.

Remove the valves of all the radiators throughout your home – once you have done this you are ready to begin balancing your central heating and radiators.


3. Open Them Up!

Now that you have exposed all your home radiator valves, it is time to open them up. These valves open by turning anti-clockwise (to the left).

Maybe you can do it easily and by hand. Maybe you will find that they are too tight.

If the latter is the case, you can now whip out your trusty lockshield valve key and twist firmly yet evenly to the left.


4. Crank Up Your Heating


With all your radiator valves fully open, it’s time to turn your home heating back on.

Now, you may want to enlist the help of your family or friends to conduct this next bit in the most efficient manner…

You may also want to establish some sort of heat ranking system and distribute thermometers to your assistants so you don’t befuddle yourself with all manner of wackily interpretative rad heat readings.

You will want to take notes of the speeds at which each of your radiators get up to heat. Have your kids or mates shout through the house to you so that you can make notes of how quickly each responds to your home heating system.

It will make it a lot simpler and less sweaty if you don’t have to run from radiator to radiator yourself!

Now, what you should discover is that those radiators closest to the boiler are those that heat up the fastest. However, this is not always the case, which is why balancing heating systems is such a useful skill to possess.

And what you should be left with is a chart of radiator heating speeds (of some level of comprehension) that lists your radiators and the ranking by which gets hottest the fastest. Rad!


5. Turn Off Your Heating Again

Now it is time to turn off your boiler once more and let everything return to its absolute coldest.

You really want to ensure that your radiators are as cold as possible before you launch on the next step, which is why it’s a good idea to perform the first half of this task one day then this second task the next.

This is also why it’s a good idea to get your radiators bled and balanced well before winter sets in!


6. The Balancing Begins

We hope you slept well, were not too cold with all the heating off, and had dreams filled with the insurmountable thrills of radiator balancing. There’s nothing quite like it!

Now, you know what to do next…

Once you have turned your home heating back on – we know, we know – it is time to address your fastest radiator from yesterday’s race.


7. The Hot Favourite

First, fully close the valve of your fastest radiator (by turning clockwise or to the right) then open the valve by one quarter turn exactly.

Next, with your fastest radiator up to heat, take a temperature reading from the pipework by its valve and then a second reading from the pipework on the opposite side of the valve. This is likely where your thermostatic radiator valve, if you have one, is situated.

Note the difference between the two temperature readings and then begin to open the lockshield valve by precisely quarter turns until the temperature difference between the two temperature readings is precisely 12°c.

Please remember that you will need to wait a minute or two between each valve quarter turn and temperature reading to allow for temperature changes to take effect in the radiator.

You should also keep records of the quarter turns applied to each radiator, as well as the temperature readings. Such data will prove incredibly useful when it comes to your next radiator balancing act!


8. The Rest of the Best

Now that you have balanced your fastest-performing radiator to a precise temperature balance of 12°c, it is time to turn your attention to the rest of your home heating units.

Just as you did for your first radiator, first turn their lockshield valves completely to the right then open them by one quarter turn.

Take your two temperature readings and continue to open the valves by quarter-turns (and remember to allow a minute or two between readings) until the temperature balance is a precise 12°c.

You will want to complete this process for each remaining radiator, finishing with the slowest-performing radiator.


9. What You Should Discover

Now, it’s never guaranteed but what you certainly should find is that the number of quarter-turns (i.e. openness) of each lockshield valve is relative to the distance of that radiator from your home boiler.

For those radiators that are furthest from your boiler, and should therefore be the slowest to reach heat, you may discover that the lockshield valve needs to be opened completely.


10. It’s All About the Balance

Congratulations on completing your radiator balancing!

The valuable result of this balancing act is that the water from your home boiler is now reaching the furthest away radiator at the same rate that it is reaching the radiator closest to the source.

It may not sound like a gamechanger but trust us – come winter, those with their bedrooms and bathrooms furthest from your home boiler will be singing your praises non-stop.


That’s all for this week’s ultimate radiator balancing guide. We hope you had as righteous a time balancing your radiators as we did taking you through the process. It’s certainly a whirlwind and we don’t doubt that you feel the exact same way.

Your radiators will now be performing in greater synchronicity than ever. If you’d like to add to or upgrade your home heating collection, you can discover thousands of superbly priced leading designer radiators right here, where our January sale is still in massive swing!


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