white radiator in a home with white walls and wooden flooring

Please note this article is designed as a general guide for consumer awareness only. A fully qualified heating engineer will adopt a different and far more technical approach which looks at many other factors to ensure your system is optimally set. Viessmann always recommend you speak to a heating engineer in this instance.

We often take our radiators for granted - they heat up and cool down automatically depending on the programme of your heating system. However, if you find cold spots or discover that one radiator isn’t getting warm at all, you’ll certainly notice the temperature difference in your home.

In some cases, your radiators may need bleeding. This process involves taking air out of the system that could be blocking the hot water from heating a radiator fully. However, if you’ve tried this and you’re still finding issues with one or multiple radiators heating up, it could be that they need balancing instead or that the system might need flushing by a qualified engineer.

What does balancing radiators mean?

When you balance a radiator, you’re adjusting the flow of water in the system. If you have one radiator that is always colder than the others, balancing will allow less hot water into the hottest radiators and more water into the cooler one to make sure it reaches the right temperature. Bleeding, on the other hand, is about removing air from the system.  

How to balance a radiator

Below, you can find all the steps you need to successfully balance your heating system. Before following these instructions, you should allow the radiators to cool down completely and bleed them using a radiator bleeding key.

Important: Please note that this work is usually done by an engineer as water leaks can occur when adjusting radiator valves.

Step 1: Locate the lockshield valve on each of your radiators. These will normally be located on the opposite side to the thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs) that are used to control the heat output. Remove the lockshield valve caps from all radiators.

Step 2: Now that the valve caps have been removed, you should be able to open and close the valve to each radiator. Open the valves by turning them to the left. Repeat this for all of your radiators.

Step 3: Once every valve is open, turn your heating on. You need to monitor which radiators heat up fastest. It may be easier to have a family member or friend to help you with this task, otherwise you’ll be running round the house trying to determine what each radiator is doing. Radiators nearest the boiler will probably get warm first, so take this into account.

Step 4: Turn the heating off again and wait for everything to cool down. You should now have a list of which radiators are getting hottest the fastest and those that maybe aren’t getting hot at all or have cold spots. You’re doing this to balance the flow of water running through the system. Turn the heating back on.

Step 5: Go to the radiator that heated up the fastest and close the valve that you opened in Step 2 by turning clockwise. Once it’s fully shut, open it slightly using your lockshield valve key. Now repeat and move to each radiator, the furthest away radiators may need to be opened more than those closest to the boiler.

If you’ve followed all of these steps, what you have done is restricted the hot water flow to radiators that are the warmest and allowed more water into those that need it more. Your radiators should all be balanced and you can enjoy your warm home. 

Does balancing radiators save money?

Balancing your radiators can save you money on your heating bills. This is because you’re giving the correct balance to each radiator to ensure your boiler doesn’t keep cycling on and off and giving your system a nice smooth flow. If you are looking to save even more money on your heating, turning your thermostat down by one degree. 

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