Common Radiator Mistakes to Avoid to Reduce Heating Bills

Do you know what’s worse than a chilly winter day? Getting hit with an energy bill that’s through the roof. Those high costs might be coming from inefficiently set up radiator valves and thermostats.

But, you don’t have to suffer through another winter fearing those astronomical bills if you learn how to take control of your heating system. In this guide, we’ll explore the two common radiator mistakes and offer simple fixes to maximise their heat output.

Mistake #1: Don’t Go Overboard With Turning Down Your Radiators

First, you need to understand the role of your room thermostat. Essentially, a thermostat controls the temperature of your home by telling your boiler when to run and when to stop. If you have modulating controls, it can even adjust the intensity of heat produced by your boiler, saving you some more money.

Thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs) operate differently. Their job is to determine the ideal temperature for each room and then shut off the radiator valves once that temperature is reached so that no more hot water runs through. You can control the heat in each room separately, avoiding any unnecessary heating.

Your thermostat and radiator valves work together to conserve energy and regulate warmth. However, using them incorrectly can result in energy wastage. Let’s consider an example. If your home is cold, your thermostat will signal your boiler to heat up water.

Your radiators have valves that control how much of this hot water they let in. If these valves aren’t letting the hot water pass through into the radiators, the hot water just keeps circulating around your pipes. It’s just moving around and not actually warming up your home. This happens when you turn all the radiators down to restrict the water flow.

If you have rooms in your house you’re not using, you can save money by turning down the heat in those rooms. However, make sure you’re not turning your radiators down too far. Your boiler could end up working overtime, trying to heat your home without enough hot water getting to the radiators.

Mistake #2: Wrong Radiator Valve Setting Near Your Room Thermostat

If you have your thermostat set to a toasty high temperature, yet the radiator closest to it is turned down or off, you’re not only being wasteful, but you’re also missing out on the heat you crave. Why? It comes down to how radiator valves work to regulate temperatures in different rooms. Those settings on the valve actually correspond to a specific range of temperatures. You can check them out below.

Valve Setting

What It Does


Completely shut the radiator valves.

Frost Protection (*)

Slightly open the radiator valves if your room is about to freeze.


Keep the room cool with minimal heat.


The valve closes when the room is cool, but not cold. It’s a bit warmer than the setting one.


Make your room comfortable before shutting off. This is your everyday setting.


Make your room toasty and warm before shutting off.


Keep heating the room as the valve stays open.

Thermostatic radiator valves can’t determine when your boiler turns on. That responsibility falls on the room thermostat. Your boiler will continuously produce hot water as long as your thermostat signals it to be on. This hot water then flows through your pipes, enters your radiators, and cycles back to the boiler. 

So, if you have your thermostat set to 25 degrees but your radiator valve is on the lowest setting, your boiler will continue to run and use energy to heat up your space to a higher temperature. Yet, the heat won’t be able to reach the room because the valve is preventing it from flowing in. You’re paying for heat that you can’t even enjoy.

How can you resolve this issue? It’s quite simple. Strategically place your thermostat in the room that you intend to heat the most, such as the living room. 

Can Thermostatic Radiator Valves Reduce Heating Bills?

With thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs), you can have control over the temperature in each room and save money on your heating money – if used correctly, of course. 

Your boiler doesn’t have a clue what your TRVs are up to. It will blindly pump hot water through your house, regardless of whether or not your radiators are on. When a radiator’s valve is closed, the hot water is diverted and must continue on its route around your home. In doing so, it loses less heat and retains its warmth. When it reaches a radiator with an open valve, the water is already fairly hot and can heat up the room quickly.

After completing its rounds, the once-hot water returns to the boiler, having lost heat along the way. By closing off some of your radiators, you can save overall energy consumption, as more heat is directed to the rooms where you want to increase the temperature. You can also keep those radiators at a lower setting. This can allow just enough heat to circulate, helping your boiler to condense and prevent any damage from dampness or freezing.

Ideally, you want to make sure the room with your thermostat reaches the desired temperature quickly so that the boiler can turn off efficiently and save you money in the long run. 

If your boiler is too old to function properly, it might be time for an upgrade. Your old, inefficient boiler will start costing you more in repairs than what it’s worth. The good news? You might qualify for a free boiler grant. Check your eligibility today and start saving!

Final Words

If your energy bills are high, your radiators might be the culprit. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Only turn down your radiators when necessary.
  2. Check your radiator valve settings. If they’re wrong, the heat won’t reach your rooms properly.

In short, balance your radiator settings to get the most heat for your buck. Do it right, and you’ll have a warm home without the shock of massive energy bills. Simple as that.

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