Gas boiler problems, different temperatures in distinct rooms

How to balance a central heating system

You may need to balance your central heating system from time to time if your home isn’t getting the heating efficiency it needs, but don’t worry it could be more straightforward than it sounds.

It often helps to set your central heating to cover different areas of the house at different times, for instance. There are a number of tweaks you may be able to make to balance radiators, which is why we’ve put this handy guide together for you. Here are our top steps for balancing a heating system:


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Close the valves on the closest radiators

Generally speaking, the radiators closest to your boiler might be found to be warmer than the rest; this might be a sign that your system needs rebalancing.

You could do this by partially closing the lockshield valves on these radiators. This aims to allow more hot water to flow beyond them and to the other radiators around the house.


Use radiator thermometers

If you’re able to get hold of a radiator thermometer, you could test each lockshield valve as you go along to ensure consistency.


Bleed the radiators

It may be possible to balance out your central heating system by bleeding your radiators. A radiator key and a dry cloth are required to get started here - and you’ll need your central heating to be completely cold before you do anything.

Find out more in our guide to bleeding radiators.


Open all the valves

Opening all the valves on your radiators could help restore equilibrium once your system has been turned off. You may be able to do this by hand with thermostatic valves, but a spanner may be necessary to make any adjustments to lockshield valves. Contact us today if you’re in need if any assistance, we could have an engineer local to you.


After that …


Assess your heating system as it fires up again

If you’ve tried any of the mentioned steps, you should keep track of how the system operates once it’s turned back on -– the closest radiators should naturally heat up first, but as long as they have no blockages in the pipes, they should allow enough water to flow through to the others.

Make a list of the order in which they heat up at this stage.


Check the temperature on one side

To do this, you’ll need a digital thermometer. Apply it to the pipes leading up to the valve and you should get a good reading of the temperature after you have followed the above steps.


Check the temperature on the other side

Use the same method beneath the other lockshield valve and keep opening it slightly as you go along (leaving time for the heat to adjust) until you have a 12-degree (Celsius) difference between readings on either side of the same radiator.


Check the rest of the radiators

At this stage, it may help to go through the same process with each radiator to ensure that they are heating up correctly. It could be the case that the radiator that is the furthest away from your boiler takes the longest to heat up, which could mean that its lockshield valve needs to be fully opened.


Information and other materials on this website are not intended to constitute professional advice and should not be relied upon. Please see our Terms of Use for further details.

It is crucial to remember that you should only perform checks on your boiler that are simple with minimum risk. Do not attempt to fix the issue yourself as this could be extremely dangerous.

All of our engineers are Gas Safe-registered and fully qualified to diagnose and fix your central heating problems, so whether you know what the problem is or not, you can book an appointment with a local expert to diagnose the issue and get your heating back up and running effectively again.

Information and other materials on this website are not intended to constitute professional advice and should not be relied upon. Please see our Terms of Use for further details.

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