Radiator valves are an important part of the home radiator system that controls the flow of water within a radiator. It plays a crucial role in the proper functioning of the radiator and it is important that you replace the faulty valves with new ones at the earliest for better efficiency.
Replacing a faulty valve can be a nightmare to many. But did you know that with little effort you can replace the faulty valve on your own? Chances are that you don’t have a clue on replacing a radiator valve. But don’t worry, for we have you covered.
What are the different valves on a home radiator?
Almost all home radiators have two types of valves:
- Lockshield valve
- On/Off valve
Lockshield valves are generally fitted on the return pipes and it controls the water flow into the radiator and from the radiator.
The On/Off valve is placed on the flow pipe and it controls the temperature setting of the radiator. This On/Off valve can either be a manual or a Thermostatic Radiator Valve with a dial. Irrespective of the valve or it’s type, the process of changing them is more or less the same except for some minor differences.
The tools needed to replace a radiator valve:
- Spanner kit
- PTFE tape (plumber's tape)
- Hose ( to drain the radiator)
- Wire wool
- New valve
- Dry towel/cloth
Changing a radiator valve
Step 1: Turn off the heating system and shut off the water supply
Ideally, you should turn off the power supply to the boiler at least one hour before replacing the valve. By doing this you reduce the risk of burning yourselves or the pumps. Once it has sufficiently cooled down, ensure that all the electrical connections are disconnected, thermostats have been turned off, and then proceed to drain the water from the boiler.
In most systems, the drain off would be located in the lowest point in the house. This is where having a hose comes in handy. Connect one end of the hose to the drain off point and leave the other end at a place where the water can run off into either soil or an outside drain. If you have a jubilee clip, use it to secure the hose to the drain outlet to avoid any leakage.
Once the entire water in the system has been drained, you can proceed to the next step.
Step 2: Removing the radiator valve
Using a wrench hold the body of the valve straight and use a spanner to undo the top and bottom nut of the old valve. Make sure that you place a dry cloth under the valve to catch any water that runs out from the radiator.
Once you have pulled out the radiator valve, remove the chrome tail that connects the radiator valve to the radiator. You can use a hexagonal radiator spanner or a plumber's wrench to remove the chrome tail. Make sure that you place a tumbler at the opening of the chrome tail before pulling it out to collect any extra water.
Using the wire wool, thoroughly clean the threads and the surrounding areas
Step 3: Fixing the new valve
As said earlier, irrespective of whether you are using a manual or a thermostatic radiator valve, the process of changing them are the same.
Start by fixing the chrome radiator tail at where the old one was removed. Ensure that you use the PTFE tape while fixing the chrome radiator tail to reduce the chances of a leak. Once you have securely fixed the radiator tail, slide in the nut and olive onto the radiator tail. Locate the water pipe and fix it to the olive. Also, fix the radiator valve's body to the water pipe. While connecting ensure that the valve body is in line with the water pipe.
Once you’ve completed all these steps, double-check whether all the nuts have been properly tightened or not.
Step 4: Turn the water back on
Once you have double-checked everything it’s time for the moment of truth.
It is important to note down the exact number of turns you made on the lockshield valve to close it. While turning it back on you need to turn it the exact number of times to keep the system balanced.
Turn on the water supply back and look for any leakage on the new joints. If everything looks good, you can turn the radiator valve back on to let the water flow into the radiator.
Step 5: Bleed the radiator
Once you’ve ensured that the radiator valve isn’t leaking, it is time to let the trapped air out of the radiator. Open up the radiator bleed valve to let out any trapped air to ensure that the radiator gets properly filled with water.
Now you need to open up the lockshield valve to its exact previous position.
Turn on the power supply to the boiler and let the system get up again. Wait for a while and have one final check to ensure everything is working perfectly at the radiator's end.
Changing the radiator valve without draining the system
Changing radiator valves without draining the system isn’t an easy task, especially if you are a beginner. It would be best to get some professional help. The same applies if you have a conventional heating system at home. But if you still insist on replacing the valve on your own there are certain ways to get it done easily but you would need some extra tools.
Get a radiator freezing kit from a plumbing store. This kit can temporarily freeze the water in the flow pipe and prevent water from flowing out onto to the floor.
Please note that if you are not confident about changing the valves yourself, you can seek the help of a professional.
We hope that this article could help you better understand the process of changing a radiator valve on your own!