Whilst being the traditional go-to product for designers and heating system installers, some myths have permeated the industry regarding radiators and have often been incorrectly considered as ‘fact’.
At one point in recent history, it was thought that radiators were impractical for use with some modern heating technologies, like heat pumps. It was thought that heat pumps would be better suited (and more efficient) to be used with underfloor heating, rather than radiators. This is not necessarily the case, as will be highlighted shortly.
Another blow to the credibility of the radiator was when the government launched it’s ‘Green Deal’ back in early 2013. The purpose was to help people financially with installing heat efficient systems in their home that would be kinder on the environment and would help reduce heating bills. These included help with loft insulation and contributions to upgrading boilers, but crucially, it did not include financial help for installing (or upgrading) radiators. This issue has since been rectified, but the fact radiators were not initially included in the Green Deal, highlights how they are under-appreciated when it comes to heating efficiency.
The technology that goes into radiators has improved greatly in recent years and they are no longer the bulky necessity of years gone by. We are now at a point with radiators where they are energy-efficient heat emitters, versatile and adaptable to the needs of a modern family, but also meet the aesthetic needs of a stylish modern home. In short, they now heat well and look good!
Most modern radiators now have convector fins on the back (or in the middle if the radiator is double-panelled). This greatly increases the surface area of a radiator, meaning they are able to give off more heat. This is especially useful in small areas where a small radiator with fins is now able to efficiently generate enough heat to heat the room, where an older radiator with no fins may have struggled. In addition, advances in presswork and welding means the industry is producing ‘low temperature ready’ radiators with high speed recovery, whilst giving out maximum heat output.
Under Floor Heating provides a low heat temperature output over a large area with a large thermal mass. On the other hand, radiators provide a high heat output from a smaller area and a lower thermal mass. In practical terms, Under Floor Heating can cause the boiler to react slower to your heating needs, whereas a radiator is much more responsive and quicker to react. This means that heat is only used when it is needed and can be switched off outside of those times. The use of radiators gives you more control over your heating system and should result in greater efficiency and lower heating costs. Under Floor Heating is not a practical option for many as it can be expensive and disruptive and, as eluded to earlier, radiators are actually ideal partners for heat pumps, as long as you choose the right specification and correct size for your room.
As we have demonstrated, radiators can provide an effective, responsive and energy efficient heating option for your home and should not be underrated or underappreciated.
Article by Benjamin Clarke