Can fitting a thermostat to your radiators save you money this winter?

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Radiators are the main heat source for most households throughout the winter, so it’s crucial to use them as efficiently as possible to keep costs low. Reducing the temperature of radiators in different parts of the house is one way to minimise energy usage, and it’s easy to do by adding thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs). According to TheGreenAge.com, installing TRVs in every room can shave up to 40 percent off your energy consumption, but is the upfront cost worth the potential savings? Express.co.uk spoke to two heating experts to find out whether it’s an investment you should consider this winter.

Can a thermostat on your radiators save you money?

Thermostatic valves can be fitted on any radiator, except those in the room where the main thermostat is located.

Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, Winston Davies, heating expert and founder of Avenue Heating explained that the self-regulating valves work by adjusting the flow of hot water through radiators, depending on what they are set to.

A lower setting allows less water to flow through while a higher setting allows more. Adjusting these settings is where cash savings can be made.

Winston said: “It’s very difficult to give an exact amount of what they can save as there are so many factors at play.

“Some manufacturers report that there could be a saving of up to 40 percent, but it is almost impossible to verify these claims! That said, they do make a significant saving, due to the fact that you don’t have all of your radiators just blaring out heat at full blast whenever your heating is on!”

Of course, the best way to reap the financial rewards of TRVs is to use them effectively.

According to Winston, the “most effective” way to use TRVs is to keep radiators set on their minimum settings in rooms you use less, and then at an “ambient”, warmer temperature in busier rooms.

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How much do thermostatic radiator valves cost to install?

If you haven’t already, it’s not too late to get thermostatic valves added to existing radiators around your home. Winston noted that any time between May and the end of September is an “ideal” time to do it before the depths of winter.

He said: “The main cost involved is usually the actual draining and refilling of a system, depending on its size. So it therefore makes sense to try to either all or quite a few thermostats at the same time.

“You would expect to pay for two or three hours of labour for an eight-radiator system, plus the cost of the valves and chemical inhibitor. So in London, that would look something like £400-500 to install.”

However, the cost is variable based on what you need to be done. The charge for adding a new radiator or fitting multiple valves is much higher, though the individual cost of one valve is much less.

According to Checkatrade, the material value of low-cost thermostatic radiator valves can be between £8-£40.

With VAT, the average cost of adding one radiator valve is £24.

This can quickly add up to around £590 to fit a new radiator with thermostatic valves and radiator tails.

The Checkatrade cost guide estimated the following average installation charges for radiators and thermostatic valves:

  • Radiator materials – £220
  • Thermostatic valve materials – £24
  • Smart radiator thermostat materials – £55
  • Adding a radiator plus valves and tails (materials and labour costs) – £590
  • Drain and refill the whole radiator system (materials and labour) – £87.50
  • Full water system commission (materials and labour) – £170

While some industry experts have praised the long-term savings which come with using TRVs, a Checkatrade estimator told Express.co.uk: “Personally I still see them as ‘nice to have’ items and would suggest that if you’re in a position to be shopping around for these items then you’re probably one of the lucky ones and won’t be feeling too much of a pinch this winter.”

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