The market today offers a large choice of radiators for sale; it also offers a wide range of valves for both the modern radiator and traditional cast iron radiators, with many styles to choose from to compliment your particular radiator choice and home. When choosing a suitable valve, the first decision you face is whether you require a manual or thermostatic valve.
So what is the difference between thermostatic and manual valves?
A thermostatic valve allows you to regulate the heat output from your radiator i.e. you can turn the valve to a completely open position for maximum heat, or half open for half the heat output and so on. Thermostatic valves will often have numbers or lines on the lock shield (tap) end, making judging the position of how open the valve easier. For instance, Paladin Radiators offer The Grosvenor thermostatic valve which incorporates numbers 1 to 6, with 6 being the highest heat level and 1 the lowest, or the Buckingham and Belgravia valves which incorporate subtle lines to indicate how open the valve is and therefore the heat output being attained. Valves with an antique look, suitable for the traditional cast iron radiator, often have the subtle lines, whereas the more contemporary valve will incorporate numbers.
A manual valve simply allows you to turn the radiator fully on or off. You cannot regulate the heat coming from the radiator with a manual valve. However the advantage of a manual valve is that they tend to be less expensive than the thermostatic valve as they have less technical function. Reputable dealers will offer a wide range of manual valve styles in both traditional and contemporary designs.
So now we know the difference between manual and thermostatic, which type is right for you?
It is recommended to use a thermostatic valve in rooms that have a high usage i.e. the living room, bedrooms and kitchens. The reason for recommending this is that as the weather and temperature changes throughout the year, so does the temperature within your home. So on a cold winters day, you would quite often want the radiators to give their maximum heat outputs, whereas on a warmer spring day, to have all the radiators on fully could make the room uncomfortably hot to live in, therefore having a thermostatic valve to regulate the heat would stop the room becoming too warm for comfort. A manual valve would not give you this luxury, so the choice would be to fully turn off the radiator (which without the heat on may make the room too cool for a spring day) or to have the radiator fully on (making the room too warm for living).
Bathrooms and hallways would be more suited for the manual valve as they tend to have less living use; therefore heat regulation from the radiators is not as essential.
On the internet today there is an extensive and exciting choice of valves, both manual and thermostatic, and it is always best to be advised before purchase by a reputable dealer.