Improved control of radiator heating systems with thermostatic radiator valves without pre-setting function

Theofanis Benakopoulos, Robbe Salenbien, Dirk Vanhoudt, Svend Svendsen

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Low-temperature district heating will play an important role in a future free of fossil fuels. This will only be able to be realized through the low-temperature operation of heating systems in existing buildings. Existing radiator systems can operate with low temperatures for most of the year because they are designed for extremely cold days, but errors have to be corrected and the control of the radiator systems needs to be improved. In this paper, we present a strategy to achieve low-temperature operation from the radiator system of a multi-family building in Denmark without a pre-setting function in the thermostatic radiator valves. The strategy is based on operating the system with a combination of a minimum supply temperature and small temperature differences over the radiators. The operation of the system is analyzed through a thermal-hydraulic model. A minimum supply temperature weather compensation curve was calculated and implemented in the central supply temperature control. Return temperature measurements in the substation, the risers, and several critical radiators were performed before and after the implementation of the strategy. The measurements confirm that a lower supply temperature results in a reduction of the return temperature. However, the system operator needs to be supported by a tool package to correctly maintain the system’s operation.
Original languageEnglish
Article number3215
Issue number17
Number of pages24
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Low-temperature district heating
  • Radiator heating system
  • Thermostatic radiator valves
  • Low-temperature operation
  • Low supply temperature
  • Multi-family building
  • Thermal-hydraulic model
  • Return temperature measurements

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