If your heating system doesn’t seem to be able to maintain a consistent temperature throughout your home, you may have a balancing issue.
Heating systems that aren’t correctly balanced will inevitably work efficiently. The end result tends to be a number of rooms that are toasty and warm when the heating is on, with a fair few others that remain uncomfortably cold.
In this article, we’ll explain everything you need to know about radiator balancing, so you can check whether balancing your radiators might improve heat distribution within your home.
What is Radiator Balancing?
Radiator balancing means making small adjustments to every radiator in a property, to allow them all to work at maximum efficiency as part of the overall heating system.
If radiators are unbalanced, then their proximity to the boiler will have a significant effect on how warm a room feels. This can lead to discrepancies in temperature as you move through a property, giving you rooms that feel impossible to heat and others that seem to remain cosy no matter what.
The idea of radiator balancing is to adjust the flow of water, to bring each radiator in line with its counterparts. It’s quite different from radiator bleeding, which is a simpler process that must be done annually to remove air from radiators.
How to Tell If Radiators are Unbalanced
The telltale sign of an unbalanced heating system is a noticeable difference in temperature as you move through a property.
While it’s possible that some rooms will be more vulnerable to draughts and poor insulation than others, sudden changes in temperature as you step through the door to different rooms are usually down to unbalanced radiators.
If you notice that some rooms are always chilly in your home, even when the heating is on and seems to be working well, we recommend balancing your radiators to see whether this solves the issue.
How to Balance Radiators
Radiator balancing can be a tricky task, especially if your heating system is complex, or your property has several storeys. The below guide will take you through exactly what needs to be done, but if you’re unsure or would prefer that a professional balanced the system for you, don’t hesitate to book an appointment with one of our engineers.
Switch Off the Heating
First things first, turn your heating off. You’d never want to attempt to balance radiators while the heating was on.
Every radiator and heated towel rail in your home should be completely cold before any balancing can begin.
We’d also recommend that you bleed all radiators shortly before balancing, as this allows for more accurate temperature recordings.
Open Up Your Radiator Valves
The next job is to fully open every radiator valve. To do this, you simply need to turn the valves anticlockwise as far as they will go.
The valves of many radiators can be adjusted by hand, with no tools required. However, if you have lockshield valves, then you’ll need to remove the cover before you can adjust the valve.
Simply take the plastic cap off and use your lockshield valve key to open the valve as far as it’ll go. If you don’t have a lockshield valve key, you can use a spanner.
Allow Heating to Cool Down
If your heating was on in step one, you’ll need to wait a while for the system to cool down.
Don’t be tempted to plough on with balancing your radiators until every single one is completely cool to the touch. You need every radiator to be cool so that you can accurately measure how fast they heat up in the next step.
Once your radiators are cool, you can turn the heating back on, and with the valves still open, you’ll be able to measure the speed at which different radiators heat up.
This job is far easier if you have some help to save you from hurtling around the house attempting to record the temperature of every radiator at the same time!
Adjust the Fastest Radiator
Once you have measurements of different radiator temperatures and are aware of how quickly each one heats up, you can start to make adjustments. You’ll need to turn the heating back off before turning it back on to start adjusting the valves.
Close the valve of the fastest heating radiator, then re-open it by a quarter of a turn. Check the temperature of the radiator, then measure the temperature of the pipe going to the other radiator valve. If this is within 12 degrees, then your radiator is correctly balanced.
Repeat for All Radiators
Now, it’s just a case of repeating the same steps for every radiator in the property until every single one has a valve that’s open at precisely the correct level. This should ensure a balanced heating system.
Balancing complete, you’ll soon notice that every room is now at a consistent temperature, as your radiators are working in unison. You’ll definitely feel the benefit in terms of heat in your home, and you’ll also have a heating system that’s working far more efficiently than it had done before.
Get More Advice on Balancing Radiators
If you’re unsure whether unbalanced radiators are causing issues with your heating system, or you’re in need of further advice on how to balance your radiators, make sure you give us a call.
Our engineers are always happy to recommend new ways of improving energy efficiency, whether you need to install a new boiler or balance your radiator.
Just get in touch to book an appointment with one of our engineers today.