Learn about radiator valves and how they work with Nest thermostats

Google Nest Thermostat works together with your existing radiator valves to help you stay comfortable and save energy.

Once you’ve adjusted your radiator valves to your liking, you’ll use your Nest Thermostat to control the temperature - so you won’t have to adjust your valves often.

What is a radiator valve?

Radiator valves reduce or increase the amount of hot water entering the radiator - they don’t turn the boiler on and off.

When you turn your thermostat up, your boiler will provide hot water to the radiators in your home. Since each room in your home heats up differently, radiator valves are used to fine tune the temperature of each radiator. The Nest Learning Thermostat and radiator valves will work together - the thermostat will heat your home to the temperature you like, and the valves will balance each room individually.

Adjusting radiator valves properly when you set up your heating system can help tune your home for even heating, and save energy in rooms that are rarely used. When your Nest Thermostat is first installed, it’s a good opportunity to make sure that your radiator valves are tuned the way you like them.

There are three main types of radiator valves: manual, thermostatic, and programmable. Here’s how the Nest Learning Thermostat works with each type of radiator valves:

Manual radiator valve Manual radiator valves 

Manual valves are used the same way as a water spigot. You simply turn the valve to allow hot water to enter your radiator.

How do I use manual radiator valves with the Nest Thermostat?

If you have manual valves, make sure the valves are open for each radiator so that the radiators get warm when the Nest Thermostat is heating. You can also close valves that are in rooms you don’t use very often, like spare bedrooms, so that the Nest Thermostat doesn’t heat empty rooms

Thermostatic radiator valve Thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs) 

Commonly known as TRVs, these valves control the amount of water that enters a radiator. Unlike a manual valve, a TRV can regulate the temperature using a range instead of just on or off. This range is usually set in a range of 1-7.

How do I use thermostatic radiator valves with the Nest Thermostat?

If you have thermostatic radiator valves, make sure that they are set so that your home heats evenly when your Nest Thermostat is at the temperature you like. Or, you can turn the radiator valves down to a lower value in rooms that aren’t used often so that you aren’t wasting energy heating an empty room.

electronic programmable radiator valve Electronic programmable radiator valves 

Programmable radiator valves can be programmed from a central hub to heat to a specific temperature at different times of day.

How do I use programmable radiator valves with the Nest Thermostat?

Programmable radiator valves can have their own schedule. With Nest, it can be easiest to set them to one value that provides even heat throughout your home. Instead, you’ll use the schedule on your Nest Thermostat to turn the heating in your home up and down as needed. That way, the Nest Thermostat will turn your boiler off when heating isn’t needed.

Using a programmable radiator valve’s schedule to turn down the radiator valve when you’re away doesn’t save as much energy as turning down the temperature on your Nest Thermostat.

How do I tune my radiator valves?

We recommend that you or a professional set the valves in each room for even heating when you install the Nest Thermostat. Most manufacturers have recommended settings you can use as a guide, or you can try different settings to find out what’s right for you. Here’s how:

  • Set the Nest thermostat to a comfortable temperature on a cold day and check which rooms are too cold or a bit too warm. Turn the radiator valves up or down as needed. You may need to give the room a few hours for the temperature to stabilize. If some rooms are still too cold and the valves are open all the way, turn the thermostat up, then turn the valves down in warmer rooms to even out heating between different rooms.
  • Make sure the radiator valve on the radiator closest to the Nest Thermostat is open. If it’s closed, your thermostat will not feel the temperature change and your boiler may run inefficiently.
  • Remember to turn radiator valves down in rooms that are rarely used, like guest rooms or storage rooms to save energy.
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