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Heating Controls in your Home

What are they and how do they work?

Central heating controls

Whatever central heating controls you have, they need to be able to do three basic things:

  • Keep your home at the temperature you have chosen – you need a thermostat for this.
  • Turn the heating on and off when you want – a programmer or timer does this
  • Depending on the type, provide hot water at the temperature you want, when you want it.
  • What is a thermostatic radiator valve?

    A thermostatic radiator valve (TRV) if found on the pipework at the top or bottom of your radiator. 

    It gives you greater control over the heat from each individual radiator.

    Each TRV can be set to a temperature to suit you, so you can have different temperatures in different rooms.

  • How should I set my thermostatic radiator valves?

    It's best to set your TRV to a middle setting and see if the room is warm enough. If the room is too warm, turn the TRV down by half a mark, if the room is too cold, turn the TRV up by half a point. A middle setting corresponds to approximately 20ºC (68F).

    e.g. If your TRV is set at 3, and the room is too cold, turn the valve up to 3 ½.

    If the room was too warm, turn it down to 2 ½

    Do NOT turn the TRV fully ON or fully OFF to make the room you are in warmer or cooler - this will waste fuel. The most effective way is to turn the valve a little way and let it do the work.

  • Why does one radiator in my home not have a TRV?

    There may be one (or more) radiators in your home, usually the bathroom, which does not have a TRV. This does not mean that one is missing. There sometimes needs to be one radiator always open to allow water to flow into it if all the others are turned off, to avoid damage to the pump or boiler. It is not necessary to have a TRV in the room with the main room thermostat.

  • What is a room thermostat?

    A room thermostat looks something like the one in the photographs here. It controls the temperature of your whole home based on the temperature of the air circulating around the home.


    Room thermostats can usually be found in the living room, hallway, or dining room.

  • How does a room thermostat work?

    When the air around it is warm enough, the thermostat sends a signal to the central heating pump and boiler to stop firing and circulating water around your pipes to your radiators. Your radiators will then cool down.

    When the air around your room thermostat cools the thermostat sends another signal to the central heating pump and boiler to start heating up water again to pump around your pipes to your radiators. Your radiators will then warm up again.

    Throughout the day your radiators will feel cooler and warmer to keep the temperature constant.

  • What temperature should I set my room thermostat to?

    What temperature you should set your thermostat to, depends on you and your situation. The industry recommendation is that if you're a pensioner or vulnerable then your room thermostat should be set at 21º-23ºC (70º-73ºF), otherwise 18º-21ºC (66º-70ºF) is fine for healthy adults.

  • If I turn my room thermostat up will my home heat up faster?

    No. It is not like volume control! Turning it up will simply mean that it will warm up to a higher temperature. It will not warm up faster.


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