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Balancing Radiators

How To Balance Radiators

Balancing Radiators

Radiators not heating to their full capacity? It may be time to balance your cast iron radiators. To ensure an even distribution of the hot water to the radiators in a system, you’ll need to do what’s known as radiator balancing. Read our guide on how to balance radiators for a tool checklist and step by step guide on keeping your central heating system up to scratch.

Why Balance Radiators?

As the water in your central heating system is pumped via a pipe and branches to feed each radiator, the ones at the beginning of the ‘run’ tend to get more than their fair share. By balancing radiators, this will ensure distribution of your hot water will be more evenly spread, heating up not just the beginning of the run, but the whole home.


How To Balance Central Heating Systems

Wondering how to balance a heating system? Balancing radiators is achieved by using the lockshield valve on each radiator to regulate the flow of water. By partial closing of these valves, the radiators nearest to the pump can be restricted more than those further away.

The best way to get this right is by using radiator thermometers, which can simply be clipped to the flow and return pipe at either end, and measuring the difference. You won't often see a plumber balancing radiators using these though – experience enables them to adjust the valves without measuring the temperature when they’re radiator balancing. But you may want to use a radiator thermometer when carrying this out yourself, to make sure you get the balance right.

What tools will I need?
  • Screwdriver
  • Digital thermometer
  • Radiator bleeding key
  • Lockshield valve adjuster

What do I need to do before balancing a central heating system?

When balancing radiators, you will need to turn off your central heating system well in advance – this is so the water has chance to cool down. Each radiator has a control valve – the one you use to turn it on or off. It also has a lockshield – the one with a cover which you don’t normally turn. How to open a lockshield valve: To open or close this lockshield valve, you need to remove the cover and use a suitable tool. To begin balancing a central heating system, open both valves on all the radiators.

Note: make sure your radiators have all been bled before you start this process to get the most out of balancing your radiators as possible. Find out how to bleed your cast iron radiators.

Step-by-step guide on how to balance radiators easily

Step 1.

Turn off your radiators/central heating system, if you haven’t already done so. When balancing central heating systems, remember that the pipe to each radiator is a branch from the main flow pipe. Near the furthest radiator, the main flow pipe turns back towards the boiler and becomes the return pipe. The pipe from each radiator then feeds back into this during the balancing radiator process.

The water does not go into the first radiator then out and on to the next. It actually flows from one main pipe feeding all of them, and then flows back out into the return coming back from all of them.

Step 2.

Next, turn the central heating system back on and go to your first radiator. You are going to adjust them in the order in which they are served, so if you don’t know this, make a note of the order in which they heat up.

Step 3.

Fit the cast iron radiator thermometers to the flow and return. Turn off the lockshield valve then open it gradually again until the difference between the two thermometers is about 20 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 4.

Move on to the second radiator on the system and repeat the process to complete your radiator balancing.

If you repeat this for all of them in order, you should have a perfectly balanced heating system so that all your radiators in the home or establishment heat up efficiently. Note, you may find the last one will need the lockshield valve fully open.

Now you know how to balance central heating radiators easily, why not take a look at our range of cast iron radiators to go?

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