It’s important when installing a radiator that it’s heat output is correct for the room it’s in. Too low and the room won’t feel warm enough, too high and the room will be far too hot, as well as causing an unnecessary increase in your heating bills.
Fortunately, it is now quite easy to work out what amount of heat your radiator should kick out due to the introduction of heat calculators. You can put in a few calculations and you’ll get a result in either British Thermal Units (BTUs) or Watts (W), both of which are displayed on all of the radiators on our website.
However, an issue of increasing importance is how hot the surface of a radiator can become. This is of particular concern for the more vulnerable in society such as the elderly, the disabled, the very young and others who are at risk of burning themselves.
Many radiators installed on a regular hot water central heating system can have surface temperatures of 80°C which can actually burn skin coming into contact with it in less than a second.
In the healthcare sector, conditions have been introduced under the NHS Safe Surface Temperature guidelines that require any heat emitters being installed in NHS buildings must only have a maximum surface temperature of 43°C. 43°C is considered a safe surface temperature because it would take over 2.5 hours for skin in contact with a radiator at this heat to burn.
These Low Surface Temperature (LST) radiators have become very popular, especially with similar standards being introduced in new-builds, schools and buildings housing vulnerable members of society.
The best LSTs are enclosed in a special casing that is not too hot to the touch and has plenty of ventilation. The ventilation grills pull in cold air at the bottom and transfer heat into the air at the top through the process of convection.
The casing on the outside of an LST is usually very flat which makes cleaning very easy, very important in a healthcare building or establishment. In many cases the paint on the outside of the casing will MRSA-resistant paint which again makes them a great option for hospitals.
It’s preferable to install thermostatic radiator valves along with the LSTs as this will allow the under to adjust the temperature easily without the risk of opening the casing and exposing themselves to higher temperatures. It should also be remembered that any exposed pipework that is located within 2 metres of the radiator should be adequately insulated if carrying hot water that is above 43°C.
There are now a wide variety of radiator manufacturers producing Low Surface Temperature radiators that have all of the characteristics outlined above. If the surface temperature of radiators is of concern to you, or you are installing rads in a healthcare environment, then LSTs are definitely an option worth exploring.
Article by Benjamin Clarke
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