A Guide to Dual Fuel Towel Radiators - Part 1

A Guide to Dual Fuel Towel Radiators - Part 1


Welcome to Trade Radiator’s Complete Guide to Dual Fuel Heating.


We’re here to be the only guide you’ll ever need when it comes to all things dual fuel heating and dual fuel radiators. We wanted to create a place where our customers, or anyone who wants information on the topic, can come and get answers to all the burning questions on this specific type of radiator.


Throughout this guide, we’ll be looking at everything you’d ever need to know when buying, installing, using, and maintaining dual fuel radiators in any room.


We’ll also go through precisely what makes a radiator a dual fuel unit, how they’re made, what styles and finishes these unique radiators come in, and pretty much all there is to know on the topic – all in one place


Whether dual fuel is an entirely new concept to you and you’re interested in getting some of these handy radiators for your home, or you’re keen to learn exactly how they work if you just found out you had one and haven’t a clue what to do, you’ll be able to learn about it here.


This guide will be broken down into three specific areas: what dual fuel heating is, how to buy dual fuel radiators, and advice on using dual fuel radiators.



Part 1 - What is Dual Fuel Heating


Understanding the Basics




So you’re interested in learning all there is to know about the wonderful world of dual fuel heating, but you don’t know where to start. Truth be told, it’s a concept which is simple to surmise, but can get incredibly confusing if you overthink or start asking questions no one can clearly answer (which we’ll get to later in the guide).


If you’re here just to get a simple answer and not read through this fantastic guide, here is all you need to know:


Dual fuel heating uses electricity.


Easy, right? Well, there’s actually a lot more to it than that. We think it helps to get to grips with the basics and demystify some of the magic surrounding dual fuel heating.


Let’s look at some of the most common questions customers ask us and what you should know before buying a dual fuel radiator




What is Dual Fuel Heating?


Dual fuel heating is when a radiator will have an electric element inside. This element can be used when your heating system is turned off, and you want to just have one radiator on.


The element will be controlled by you, either through a smart thermostat, central switch or from plugging the radiator into a nearby plug socket.




What does a Dual Fuel Radiator look like?


DQ Ruvo Designer Aluminium Radiators


Imagine any kind of radiator or towel rail hanging proudly on a wall. Well, that’s exactly what a dual fuel radiator looks like. There’s no difference in what a dual fuel model looks like as the element is located inside the radiator.


You wouldn’t even notice the difference unless you pick up on a small wire coming from the bottom of the radiator into a plug socket or wired connection on the wall.




How do I know if I have a Dual Fuel Heating System?


It is more typical for homes in the U.S to have complete dual fuel heating systems (due to how houses are constructed there), but more homes in the UK and Europe are moving towards dual fuel systems over gas or oil.


You’ll know you have a dual fuel heating system if you have a heat pump installed alongside your boiler. It will look like a large box unit with a fan on the outside.


Homes and building would have these when trying to be energy efficient throughout, as dual fuel on the system level can allow for the heating to switch independently.


It is important to note though if you had a dual fuel system, it would mean all your radiators are sourcing hot water from one area, rather than the radiator acting independently.




How do I know if I have a Dual Fuel Radiator?



Some people might move into a home (or office) without knowing what type of radiators they have. If you were to have the heating on a lot just to heat a room or two, and only find out down the line you’ve had dual fuel radiators this whole time, you’d kick yourself.


If you want to know if your radiators are dual fuel, look at the entry valve at the bottom. This is usually on the right-hand side but will be whichever said the valve you use to control temperature is on. If there is a wire coming out of the entry and goes into the wall directly, or is a plug going into a socket, you’ll have a dual fuel radiator.




How do I know if my Dual Fuel Radiator is Working?


Keep your traditional heating off so you know there’s no hot water moving through the system. Turn on the radiator at the plug socket, or the switch you’ll see nearby. If the radiator starts to get warm, and you know everything else is off, your dual fuel radiator is working.


If it isn’t working, and you know the plug socket is fine, it will need to be looked at. It could be the case that it’s simply the fuse in the plug needs changed, but it is best to get a professional in to check everything and make sure there are no internal radiator problems which warrant investigation.




Can any Radiator be a Dual Fuel Radiator?




In theory, yes, any radiator can be a dual fuel radiator, but you should be careful when choosing whether you want to do adapt your radiators.


Ask yourself:


  • Is the price of conversion worth it?
  • Is it cheaper to buy a new dual fuel radiator?
  • Will my warranty/guarantee on the original product be affected?
  • Does the room need dual fuel heating?


There’s a good bit of work involved when adapting existing radiators, and a lot of care needs to be taken to ensure the finished work is safe to use, so best to consider your options before rushing to get the job done.




How are Dual Fuel Radiators Made?


The basic process of creating dual fuel radiators involves taking a standard radiator and placing an element inside. This element is powered electrically through a T-pipe at the entry valve of the radiator. The T-pipe is a vital piece of kit as it’s the adaptor which lets you flip from one heating source to the other.


Whenever you buy a dual fuel radiator, you are buying a radiator which has already been adapted for use out the gate.




Do Dual Fuel Radiators have Fluid Inside?


They’ll have water passing through, as this is the water which travels through your heating system.


When you have the electric option on, you’ll have to isolate the water in the radiator so that the element can heat everything without water passing on through, while allowing for some pressure to release.


If you’re told that your radiator has thermostatic fluid inside, then you most likely have a fully electric radiator.




Do Dual Fuel Radiators use much Electricity?



Dual fuel radiators need electricity for the internal element to get going. Now, the big question most people ask when looking at these radiators is “are they wasteful?” It all depends on how much energy you want to use and where you want to save energy.


Let’s imagine you have a dual fuel radiator in your bedroom and you want to have a nice toasty bedroom to go to at night. Now, you could turn the heating on and get it heating up the whole house, or you could go from room to room and manually turn each valve off and hope that water will make its way to the bedroom without wasting energy getting there.


Alternatively, you could just flick the plug switch and let one small radiator get to work comfortably. If you were keen to figure out to the penny how much electricity would be used, a rough equation to use is as follows:


Radiator’s kWh (kilowatts per hour) x your energy tariff


Let’s say your radiator runs as 1kWh and your tariff is 15.60p; therefore, you’d be looking at:


1kWh x 15.60p = £0.156


You could weigh that cost up against what it costs to run your oil/gas for one hour, and you should find that dual fuel is usually cheaper.


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