Balancing act: fixing the flow between radiators


You may not give too much thought to the fact that water flows around your central heating system, but the fact that all of your radiators get evenly warm doesn’t happen by accident. It’s achieved by a process called balancing.

fixing the flow between radiators

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If the system is unbalanced, the radiators furthest from the boiler will take longer to heat up, leading to those areas being cooler and wasting fuel as the boiler will need to run for longer. Balancing, therefore, is all part of taking control of your heating to ensure it runs efficiently.

Out and Back

Before we talk about balancing, it’s important to understand how the water flow in a central heating system works. Radiators are fed from a loop of pipe. At the furthest radiator this loop will turn around to become the return pipe.

Water enters each radiator by a feed pipe and leaves via the return pipe, making gas one of the most efficent ways to heat your home.

Balancing Act

The balancing process involves using the lockshield valve. This is at the opposite end of the radiator to the main wheel or thermostatic valve.

To start, open all of the main valves fully and remove the caps from the lockshield valves. Go to the radiator nearest the boiler and using a small adjustable spanner, close the lockshield valve, then open it by one quarter turn. Move to the next radiator and open the valve on that slightly more, and so on until, on the last radiator, the lockshield is fully open.

Now turn on the heating and see how fast the radiators warm up, then make adjustments to the lockshield valves as required until you’re happy. A more accurate method is to get hold of a pair of clip on pipe thermometers. Attach these to the input and return pipes of each radiator and adjust the valves until you get an 11 degree C drop across each radiator.

Balancing will need to be done after you’ve had a new boiler fitted or drained the system down, so if you’re looking for boiler installation in Woking and you’re not confident in balancing your radiators yourself, boiler installers in Woking can do it for you.

Balancing is a simple process, and getting it right will make your heating system more efficient and cheaper to run.

Written by suNCh8

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