If you’ve found that some of your radiators are hot and others cold, leading to warm and cool spots in your home, it might be that your radiators need balancing. This involves adjusting your radiators to ensure an even distribution of hot water and can easily be done on a DIY basis.
We break down the tools you need for the job as well as the steps to follow to balance radiators.
You Will Need:
- Radiator-bleeding key
- Lockshield valve adjuster or adjustable spanner
- Digital thermometer or multimeter with thermometer function
How to Balance Radiators — Step by Step
Bleed all radiators. Turn off the central heating (1) and allow the radiators to cool.
Remove the lockshield (2). It will usually have a push-on cap or one that is secured with a screw through the top.
Older models will have a wheelhead valve (3) on the other side — used to turn the radiator on/off. Newer radiators will have a thermostatic valve (4) instead of a wheelhead valve.
Open up the valves on all the radiators in the house by turning them anti-clockwise (5). Wheelhead and thermostatic valves can be turned easily by hand, but the lockshield will need a plastic adjuster to open it up (these tend to come with new lockshield valves). You can also use an adjustable spanner.
Turn the central heating back on and note down the order the radiators heat up (6). Those nearest the boiler normally get hot first. If you’ve got a lot of radiators, get an assistant to help. Turn the heating off and wait while the radiators cool down.
When the radiators are cool, switch the heating back on and go to the first radiator on your list. Turn the lockshield valve clockwise until it is closed and then open it by a quarter of a turn. Once the radiator has warmed up, take a temperature reading at the pipework leading to one of the valves (7).
Now take a temperature reading at the pipework leading to the valve on the other end of the radiator and open the lockshield valve gradually until there’s a 12°C difference between now and the reading you took in step 5 (allow a couple of minutes after each adjustment for the temperature to change).
The temperature figures indicated in step 5 and step 6 are relevant to the radiator shown – don’t take them as any kind of optimum figure – it’s the 12°C difference in temperature at the valves that counts.
Check the rest of the radiators in the system following the order in the list. The further you move away from the boiler, you’ll find the lockshield valve will have to be opened more. The last radiator may need to have the lockshield valve fully open to work at full efficiency.
Your radiators are now balanced and should work perfectly.