How To Balance Radiators

If you are unhappy with unbalanced radiators causing discomfort, this guide is just for you. It will describe precisely what balancing a radiator entails and how it helps. The best part is, you’ll also find out how to balance radiators on your own. Here’s to a self-reliant homeowner in the making!

Read on ahead to reclaim your central heating system and beat the hot or cold spots.

What is Balancing Radiators & Why You Should Do It

One of the main ways for you to keep your radiator setup as effective as possible is learning how to balance radiators. Several radiators may be part of a central heating system, unless they are a dual fuel or electric radiator.

They may naturally operate as an eco-system, the first device functioning parallel to the next. Balancing the heater radiators ensuring that each heating element, large or small, provides the same output in terms of heat. They must get the same amount of water.

In certain radiator configurations, the radiator nearest to the central heating system would always get more water than those farther apart. So, to adjust this, radiators need balancing.

Unbalanced radiators do not heat up at the exact steady rate as each other, allowing you to feel much cooler in certain spaces in your house. You must to make sure your radiators’ heat levels are in sync, or you may feel uncomfortable in your own home.

Why It’s Different To Radiator Bleeding

The process of bleeding a radiator is often referred to as boiler bleeding. It involves letting out air that has been stuck within the heating system. Trapped air stops the entire radiator from heating your home, creating opportunities for cold spots to pop up.

Bleeding a radiator involves using a radiator valve key to allow the trapped air out of the valve. When the heat comes on and your radiators make a noise, they may need bleeding. The same applies if the top or side of the radiator has cold patches.

Boiler bleeding attempts to restore your heating back to an optimum level with uniform circulation of hot water. On the other hand, radiator balancing enables more water to flow to the cooler radiators. It limits a flow from radiators that are too warm.

If you have bled the radiators in your home first, you can do a great job at balancing them. It will help you take a temperature reading that is more precise. If your radiators don’t function properly and you’re uncertain if they require bleeding or balancing, do both!

Step By Step Guide To Balancing Radiators

It is not a challenging prospect to balance the radiators in your home. Before you get down to business, there are some fundamental tools you will need to find. Here is a list:

  • Radiator bleeding key
  • Lockshield valves key
  • Screwdriver
  • Digital thermometer or multimeter with thermometer function

Once you have a count of these tools, you can start balancing radiators, step by step.

Step 1 – Turn Off Your Heating

Turn the heating off, and let the radiators cool down. Follow up with bleeding your radiators.

Step 2 – Get To Know Your Radiator Valves

Be familiar with the radiator valves when balancing a radiator. You will find a lockshield valve leading to one end of the pipework- open and remove its cap. Contemporary home set-ups include Thermostatic Radiator Valves, present on the opposite side of the lockshield valve.

Step 3 – Open All Your Radiator Valves

You must now open all valves by turning them anti-clockwise. You may need an adjustable spanner or lockshield valve adjuster to turn them.

Step 4 – Check How Your System Heats Up

With all valves now open, it is time to turn the heating back on and observe the radiators’ heat patterns. The first radiator to get hot will be the one nearest the boiler. Make a note of the order of heating.

Step 5 – Turn Your Heating Off Again (Wait)

To balance your radiators, you need to start cold for accuracy. So, turn off your heating again.

Step 6 – Go To The First Rad To Heat Up

Approach the fastest-heating radiator and turn the lockshield valve clockwise to close it. Open it again, just as you did with the others by turning them anti-clockwise.

Step 7 – Take Your Radiators Temperature

Take a temperature reading of the warm radiator- at the pipe that leads to one of the valves.

Step 8 – Take The Temperature Of The Pipework

Follow up with noting the temperature of the pipework on the other end. Open the lockshield valve with a quarter of a turn until the two temperatures you took have a 12°c difference.

Step 9 – Check Each Radiator On Your List

Use your list as a guide and repeat this with the other radiators until there is a 12°c difference in all. You may have to turn the lockshield valve of the last radiator fully anti-clockwise with an adjustable spanner, to balance correctly.


In most situations, you can address the question of certain rooms being colder than others by rebalancing your heating arrangement. You could powerflush the set-up as well. However, there will often be times when this does not work. Contacting a heating engineer or plumber is advisable.

The best-case situation is that either your tubing, your radiators, or your boiler will have a small problem that they can quickly repair. You could also discover that you need to find a new one- in the worst-case scenario.

New Boiler Installation

The process of buying and installing new boilers can be daunting, but your hot water and heat relies upon it! There’s no need to worry- you can find affordable options in the market. Generally, you can choose from three types of boilers. These include combi boilers, system boilers, and conventional boilers.

Consider the following factors before a purchase:

  • Size or kW output
  • Reliability
  • The location of the new set-up
  • Energy-Efficiency
  • Installation Time

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Last Updated on May 3, 2021

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the quickest way to balance your radiators?

The quickest way to stabilise your radiators is the method above. Contact a professional for efficient and precise results.

Do you need to balance radiators with thermostatic valves?

Yes, you need to balance radiators with thermostatic valves. It is to ensure that the mean flow rate through the valve is right.

How long does it take to balance radiators?

The time it takes to carry out the process depends upon the size of your home and the heating arrangement. A small flat could take anywhere from 2-3 hours while a bigger house with several radiators could take an entire day.

How can I balance my radiator without a thermometer?

You need to have a thermometer or a multimeter with thermometer for accurate balancing of heat. If you do not own a thermometer, open the lockshield valve on the first radiator with a quarter-turn. On the last radiator on your list, ensure the valve is closed and then open it just as necessary. Each radiator should have a slightly more open lockshield valve than the previous.

Do you need to balance radiators with a combi boiler?

Yes, even combi boilers give way to a requirement of balancing radiators. Inconsistency in the heating of radiators does not depend upon the boilers in itself.


Author: Indra Gupta

Indra is an in-house writer with a love of Newcastle United and all things sustainable.

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