Manual or thermostatic valves: How to choose for your home

There are many decisions to make when choosing the right radiators for your home. We try to keep the process as simple as possible, but we also want to make sure you are informed of the impact each decision could have on your home.

The goal is always for optimum energy efficiency and maximum cosiness. One of the choices that will impact both of these factors is the valve selection. You can choose between thermostatic valves (TRVs) and manual valves. While TRVs are generally considered to be the most efficient and functional, there are instances when a manual valve might be better. Let’s explore this in more detail…

What is a thermostatic valve/TRV?

Stratford Gold/Brass Thermostatic Radiator Valve Set

With thermostatic radiator valves/TRVs, you can set the temperature of each radiator to the desired level. The valve will automatically open or close to help maintain your chosen temperature. This means you can heat each room how you want it rather than heating the entire house.

TRVs are more energy-efficient than manual valves. They allow you to turn down the heat in specific rooms, perhaps because you don’t use the room as often, or because the room is naturally warmer. This can help you save money on your energy bills.

What is a manual valve?

Welford lever antique brass manual radiator valve

A manual valve will also allow you to control the flow of water into the radiator, but not change the temperature of that water from what your central thermostat is set at. You can only choose between ‘on’ or ‘off’ positions.

These valves are not automatic and you cannot select different temperatures for different radiators in your home. You only control the temperature in your home by the central thermostat, not on each individual radiator. In short, they are generally cheaper but offer less flexibility generally throughout your home.

When to choose a thermostatic valve

A TRV is the most energy-efficient valve available. While they might be a little more expensive than manual valves, they are more efficient and could save you money on your energy bills in the long term.

You should consider a TRV if you need to have control over individual radiators in your home. So, if the temperature between rooms varies quite significantly, you could benefit from this type of valve.

A great advantage of TRVs at this time of year is that, due to the ability to control the required temperature in each room, it’s possible to maintain a minimum temperature in your home so that pipes are not at risk of freezing. This is called ‘Frost Protection’. Our TRVs give you the option to keep the heating on, but at a lower and cheaper level whilst maintaining sufficient heat to protect your pipework and radiators.

Finally, we recognise that keeping on top of our energy bills is vital for those facing higher energy costs. It’s worth noting that maintaining an ambient temperature using TRVs will allow you to fine-tune the temperature in your home with greater ease.

Nudging up the temperature in a room you use more often will be easier and cheaper if you maintain a consistent ambient temperature throughout your home. This is also why Building Control generally requires TRVs to be fitted to new builds and larger extensions.

Choose a thermostatic valve if:

  • You want your home to be as energy-efficient as possible
  • You want the flexibility to adjust the temperature room by room to suit you rather than the whole house
  • You have consulted with a plumber as to which rooms require TRVs
  • You want frost protection in the winter to stop your pipes and radiators from freezing

When to choose a manual valve

The manual radiator valve is an industry standard and is present in many homes. It’s enduringly popular because it is cheaper for builders/developers. You might want to choose manual valves if you don’t need to have individual control over radiators. If you are happy to use your central thermostat to control the temperature in your home, manual valves will be sufficient.

You can still isolate single radiators in your home and switch them off if you don’t need them. For example, if you don’t use a room very much, you might choose to switch off the radiator to save money on your heating bills. Just remember, however, it does cost more to heat a room or home from scratch compared to heating from a maintained ambient temperature at the outset.

Manual valves are also ideal for rooms such as a bathroom or shower room, as the steam from showers and baths can sometimes impact the readings on thermostatic valves and make them less effective.

Choose a manual valve if:

  • You are placing the radiator in a bathroom or shower room, as steam heat can impact the readings on TRVs
  • You want to control the temperature with your thermostat
  • You don’t need to heat rooms to different temperatures

Still not sure?

If you’re struggling to choose between thermostatic valves and manual valves, we always recommend consulting with a plumber. They will be able to advise you on the best choice for your home, based on the heating requirements and your existing boiler system.

And if you need help choosing the right valve design for your home, get in touch with our team. We stock a wide range of manual and thermostatic valves that will fit perfectly with your period renovation.

Remember, with our extensive range of thermostatic valves/TRVs you do not have to compromise on style to achieve the energy saving you need as most of our TRVs are still designed with that authentic period look and finish.

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Cast Iron Radiator Centre
(a Division of Mossmead Ltd)
241 Torrington Avenue
(Corner of Padstow Road)
Coventry, West Midlands
0800 294 8603
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