Does insulating radiators reduce heating bills?

Radiators are the metal panels filled with hot water which are used to heat our homes, and often we try our hardest to insulate the rest of our home to make sure the heat from the radiator stays in the home as long as possible. Whilst this is definitely the right thing to do, are you aware that as much as 25% of the heat from any radiator fixed on an outside wall is indeed heading straight outside? This means you are using 25% more energy than you need to achieve the same effect.‹¯¨

One simple solution to this problem is to insulate behind the radiators on the outside walls of your property, effectively reflecting the heat that is heading out of the wall, straight back into the house. This way you can use less energy to heat your home, and reduce your energy bills at the same time.

The most common way of insulating behind your radiator is to remove it from the wall, and to install a foil based lining, often expanded polystyrene based behind the radiator, on the wall. This will effectively reflect any heat heading out of the back of the radiator, straight back into the room, and will reduce the amount of heat lost out of the door.

To do this, you will not always need to take your radiator off the wall, as you can access behind it without moving it, although with many modern homes having rubber flexible piping to the radiators, lifting them off is very simple indeed. Many people chose to apply their radiator insulation when the redecorate their home. Obviously you need to turn the radiator off before you work behind it, or remove it from the wall for your own safety.
You will then need to measure the radiator you are insulating, and work out exactly where you are going to put the heat reflecting foil, bearing in mind you may not want it right to the edges, as you may not want to be able to see it obviously when sitting at a slight angle from the radiator.

One you have measured the piece of foil you need, you will need to cut it to size, and you may need to cut slots for the brackets to fit into. You can then use wallpaper paste, usually fungicidal to stick the foil to the wall. Some DIY guides also suggest the use of double sided sticky tape, although be aware that the glue could melt more easily on such tape and the foil could fall off. If you have used anything that needs to dry, like wallpaper paste, then be sure to allow it to dry before you replace the radiator and turn it back on again. You will now have a fully insulated radiator, so complete the steps for the rest of the radiators in your home and you could save as much as 25% off your heating bill.‹¯¨

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