enhance the performance of radiator as an example of Free or Low-Cost Fix-ups tips
Photo: Susan Seubert. Illustration: Jason Lee.
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Performance-Enhanced Radiator

PRO: Richard Trethewey, TOH plumbing and heating expert

SECRET: Hook up a thermostatic valve on a steam or hot-water radiator to stop rooms from overheating and wasting energy, says Richard. The device, which allows you to divide a whole-house system into climate-controlled mini zones, consists of two parts: a valve that opens and closes to regulate the flow of steam to an individual radiator, and a thermostat with a built-in sensor that controls the valve based on the temperature you set for the room. Installing a thermostatic valve on a one-pipe radiator is an easy DIY job, but call a pro if you have a two-pipe version.

TOH Tip: To put a thermostatic valve on a one-pipe steam radiator, close the supply at the base of the radiator and unscrew the old air vent on the side. Wrap Teflon tape on the valve threads, and screw the valve onto the old vent hookup. The valve comes with an attached air vent.
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