Making sense of TRVs
Although the energy saving benefits of TRVs have been well documented in recent years, the type of TRV you choose to install could make a big difference to these benefits, says Bjorn Sejr Nielsen, Marketing Director of Danfoss.
Cut heating costs
Effective and easy to install, the modern
thermostatic radiator thermostat, commonly know as a TRV, enables end-users to
control the temperature of individual rooms in their home. Fitting a TRV on
every radiator prevents the unnecessary – and expensive – overheating of empty
rooms, whilst ensuring that occupied rooms are comfortably warm. Having this
level of control can really help households reduce their heating bills and their
carbon emissions. And it’s not just TRV manufacturers’ who are making these
claims. Tests carried out for BEAMA Heating Controls group in the
Energy House at the University of Salford showed that the installation of
effective temperature controls on home heating systems has a far more
significant effect on minimising energy use than previously predicted. In
addition, the research findings found that the application of TRVs was essential
to optimising energy savings, even if the system is balanced, by providing satisfactory
heat distribution throughout a dwelling.
So, we have established that TRVs can play a pivotal role in keeping
homes comfortably and, perhaps most importantly, affordably warm. The question
is, how do you go about choosing the right TRV for your customer from the wide range
of products on the market? When faced with a number of models offering
different functions, features and sensors, you can’t blame busy installers for
simply picking the product they’ve always used and are familiar with fitting.
However, knowing the main differences between the various types of TRV,
particularly the material used in the sensor, will help installers make a more
informed choice – and help them avoid potentially costly call-backs if the TRVs
don’t perform as promised.
What is a TRV?
professional heating installer will know, TRVs work by sensing the air temperature around them and regulating the flow of water
through the radiator to which they are fitted.
It does this by means of a sensor in the TRV head which is filled with a
material that expands as the room temperature rises and contracts when it
drops. The weight and density of
the material used to fill the sensor has a direct impact on the time it takes for
the TRV to respond to a temperature change in a room. According to basic
scientific principles, a lighter liquid filling will expand and contract more
quickly than a heavier material like wax, which is used in some products.
Needless to say, a TRV that offers a faster response time means improved
comfort and energy savings for end-users.
As well as offering greater
accuracy and efficiency, the liquid used in a TRV sensor is less likely to
deteriorate over time. It doesn’t have the crystalline composition of wax, for
example, that tends to get harder and heavier with constant expansion and
contraction, causing a detrimental effect on the TRV’s accuracy and performance.
It may take a year or so, but as this change occurs consumers with wax-filled
TRVs may find they have to keep increasing their temperature settings in order
to achieve the same level of comfort. In
having to do this they could wipe out all the energy savings they were making
when they first installed this type of TRV.
At Danfoss, we feel strongly that under-performing
products could easily undo the progress the UK heating industry has made in
raising awareness of the TRV as a simple yet highly effective heating control.
From our extensive experience in this market, liquid-filled sensors will
deliver more consistent performance over the life of the product – and that has
to be a major selling point for end-users and installers alike.
Although the case for choosing TRVs
with liquid-filled sensors may seem unequivocal, there are a few other factors installers
should bear in mind before making a purchase Achieving longer lasting
performance and durability will still depend, to a degree, on the robust
construction and quality of the TRV itself.
As the old saying goes, you get what you pay for. Opting for a TRV that uses
lower quality components could lead to problems further down the line, such as
liquid leaking from the sensor, resulting in a false economy for installers and
Improved profitabilityTaking the time to find out a bit more about the TRVs they
fit on a regular basis could make life easier for heating installers, make
their business more profitable and increase customer satisfaction. To get further
details about the different products currently available, simply check
out the manufacturers’ websites or ask advice at the trade counter the next
time you buy TRVs.