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Radiator Tips

The Truth about Radiator Covers

By Radiator Tips No Comments

Radiator covers can be used as decorative purposes and to protect children from burning themselves or breaking the radiator. But other than that, are they really worth it?

The truth is, wooden radiator covers are a disaster for energy efficiency.

 

A study conducted by John Moores Liverpool University demonstrated that traditional covers can result in a significant, 40% reduction in heat output.

 

Problems with Traditional Radiator Covers:

Issue #1

Modern radiators circulate warm air with a convection system which requires continuous airflow.

(Modern Radiator Convection System)   

A wooden radiator cover blocks this airflow. As a result, the trapped warm air is continuously re-heated inside the cabinet.

 

Issue #2

Radiators also radiate heat which is usually the main concern for safety. Many go for traditional radiator covers to shield vulnerable people from the hot surface but wood insulates heat.

The radiated heat is “swallowed” by the wood and you end up spending money on heating you can’t even feel.

Tip: removing this front panel can help heat escaping the cover easier:

 

Issue #3

Some modern radiators have a built-in thermostat or “smart valves” which automatically turns the radiator off once a desired temperature is reached.

Covering this thermostat will result in the radiator switching off early because the target temperature is reached inside the cabinet. Meanwhile, the room remains cold.

As a result, you will turn your thermostat higher to compensate for the warm radiator cover, using even more energy.

 

Conclusion

In a nutshell, an uncovered radiator will have a higher heat output even though it may impose a risk for vulnerable people. Radiator covers cause much higher heating bills as the warm air that would otherwise circulate in your room gets trapped inside a wooden box.

Some may try bleeding the radiator or brushing the fins. But ultimately, these methods wouldn’t improve energy efficiency as long as there is a cover over the top and around the radiator.

 


Energy prices are on the rise, the more space your radiators have the more efficient they are and the warmer your home gets! Energy prices are on the rise, with our tips you can tackle the increase of your heating bills!

To find out more advice on how and which energy provider to use, we suggest www.ofgem.gov.uk who are Great Britain’s independent energy regulator.
If you want to compare your energy prices, check these comparison sites:

 


If you’ve found this article useful, please consider giving it a share to help others.

How to Clean a Radiator

By Radiator Tips No Comments

If your radiator looks like this:

Chances are, it emits a lot less heat than you think!

Thankfully, cleaning the fins with a radiator brush is very easy.

You can get a radiator brush at most DIY stores and online for only a few pounds, or make your own from an old wire hanger.

Dust settles inside your radiators easily which can be tricky to remove without the right equipment.

(Blocked Convection System due to built-up dust between fins)

This results in blocking the convection system therefore it is wise to give it a little cleaning every now and then.

Here is our simple guide to how to clean your radiator:

 

Step 1 – Turn Off Central Heating

Not only a cold radiator is safer, it is also easier to clean.

 

Step 2 – Get the Right Equipment

While you wait for your radiator(s) to cool down, gather some equipment:

  • Radiator Brush or a Long Stick
  • Vacuum Cleaner
  • Towels or Dust Sheet

 

Step 3 – Remove Top (if there’s any)

Modern radiators come with a grill on top. Removing this can make it easier to brush between the fins. Some companies like Rotarad manufactures their radiators with valves that allows you to simply pull the radiator down (making the back of the radiator more accessable).

 

Step 4 – Use a Vacuum Cleaner

Andrew Collinge, a heating product expert at Best Heating, recommends cleaning around and underneath the radiator with a vacuum cleaner first as much as possible.

With the right attachments, you may be able to reach between the fins as well.

 

Step 5 – Use the Radiator Brush

Place a long towel or dust sheet underneath your radiator to protect your carpet and floor. Push your radiator brush (or alternative item), from top towards the bottom between the fins to remove all dust and dirt until it’s clear.

Repeat this step on all fins. You can wear a facemask during this step to avoid inhaling dust.

 

Step 6 – Finish

Remove your towel or dust sheet from the floor and vacuum any excessive dust. Put the grill back on the top (if there was any) and wipe down the radiator with some soapy water and a sponge. Make sure you dry the radiator with a microfibre cloth to avoid the build-up of rust.

 

(Radiator Convection System after cleaning radiator)

Spending some time on this increases the efficiency of your radiators and could result in savings on your heating bills overtime.

If your radiator feels cold at some parts, consider “bleeding” it to keep your heating in good working order. Make sure there is also plenty of space between furniture and radiator to allow the circulation of warm air to continue. Note, curtains could also steal the emitted heat!

 


Energy prices are on the rise, the more efficient your radiators the less you pay and the warmer your home gets! Cleaning between radiator fins is a simple task and can avoid the increase of your heating bills!

To find out more advice on how and which energy provider to use, we suggest www.ofgem.gov.uk who are Great Britain’s independent energy regulator.
If you want to compare your energy prices, check these comparison sites:

 


If you’ve found this article useful, please consider giving it a share to help others.

How to Bleed a Radiator

By Radiator Tips No Comments

If your radiator has cold spots or not heating properly then air is probably trapped inside and the radiator needs “bleeding.” Fortunately, bleeding your central heating radiators is a quick and easy process and can save you the headache from finding a plumber.

Here’s how you can bleed your radiators:

 

Step 1 – Identify cold radiators

You must first find out which radiators in your household has cold spots. You can check this easily by placing your hand around your radiator’s surface.

 

Step 2 – Find Bleed Valve and Key

Next, you will need to identify what valve your radiator has and find the right bleed key. This should be fairly easy unless you have a very special radiator model fitted in your home. The valve is usually in one of the top corners of your radiator (note: it might be on the back of the radiator!) There are different types of bleed keys, however for some valves you can use a flat headed screwdriver.

Valves:

 

Bleed Keys:

 

Step 3 – Turn off Central Heating

Once you have identified which radiators need bleeding and found the right bleed key, turn off your central heating and let the radiator(s) go cold. This way you won’t burn yourself during the process.

 

Step 4 – Bleed

When your radiator has cooled down:

  • Hold a cloth or jug under the bleed valve
  • Insert bleed key
  • Turn bleed key anti-clockwise until you hear a hissing noise of air escaping
  • Wait until water starts coming out
  • Turn bleed key clockwise to close the bleed valve

Do these steps for all your radiators that have cold spots and once done, you can switch central heating back on. After a little while, come back to your radiator and check if temperature is now more even and that there’s no water leaking from the bleed valves.

 

Step 5 – Repeat Annually

Radiators should be bled at least once every year as part of routine maintenance in order to keep radiators working to their maximum performance.

 

This simple task will increase your radiator’s efficiency and soon your home will be a lot cosier and warmer.

If you can’t find the right key or don’t want to bleed your radiators yourself, you can always find a local plumber who can do this for you (for British Gas customers, this service can be £50 for all radiators)

Consider cleaning your radiator as well in order to maximise its efficiency and save even more on heating costs! Make sure you also keep plenty of space between your furniture and radiators to allow the circulation of warm air to continue. Note, curtains could also steal the emitted heat!

 


Energy prices are on the rise, the more efficient your radiators the less you pay and the warmer your home gets! Bleeding radiators is one of the easiest ways to avoid increasing your heating bills!

To find out more advice on how and which energy provider to use, we suggest www.ofgem.gov.uk who are Great Britain’s independent energy regulator.
If you want to compare your energy prices, check these comparison sites:

 


If you’ve found this article useful, please consider giving it a share to help others.

How Curtains Steal Heat from Radiators

By Radiator Tips 2 Comments

Feeling cold even though your heating is on? Don’t put your curtain on top of the radiator!

 

Rooms with radiators under windows can be pretty cold during winter and this gets worse with curtains on radiators. Modern radiators heat the room with the convection system that circulates warm air around the room.

 

How Radiator Convection Works

(Modern Radiator Convection System)

 

When curtains are pulled in front of a radiator, the radiator releases warm air behind the curtain and heats only the window’s space.
During winter, days are shorter and curtains are pulled even earlier than usual. By doing so, we risk using more energy/heat more than necessary, leading to much higher bills.

 

Curtain on Radiator

(Curtain in front of a radiator, blocking circulation of warm air)

 

If your room feels cold, our tip is to try putting your curtains behind the radiator.

 

Curtain behind Radiator

(By putting the curtain behind the radiator, warm air can travel in the room freely)

This way the radiator warms the room rather than the window’s space. It also allows the radiator’s convection system to work perfectly and as it was designed.

If you are concerned the curtains may catch on fire – don’t worry, radiator surfaces do not get hot enough to cause a fire or flame.

 


Energy prices are on the rise, the more efficient our radiators the less we pay and the warmer we are! Curtains on radiators are a commonly overlooked issue, don’t let that give you a higher bill!

To find out more advice on how and which energy provider to use, we suggest www.ofgem.gov.uk who are Great Britain’s independent energy regulator.
If you want to compare your energy prices, check these comparison sites:

 


If you’ve found this article useful, please consider giving it a share to help others.

How Radiators Work

By Radiator Tips One Comment

Most modern heating systems use convector radiators. They heat the room with the convection system which pushes air around the room. Blocking this system greatly decreases the efficiency of any modern convector radiator.

 

How Radiator Convection Works

(Modern Radiator Convection System)

Cold air passes through inside the radiator, where the fins warm it up. Then it is released into the room through the top of the radiator as warm air, continuing the convection process.

While this is happening, the water inside the radiator cools down and eventually returns to the boiler where it will be heated then returned to the radiator and the cycle continues. This process is what typically regulated with a thermostat.

 


 

Radiators also radiate heat. This means heat can be emitted from the surface of the radiator as well.

Modern Convector Radiators also Radiate Heat

(Heat coming off the radiator’s surface as radiation further increasing its efficiency)

Contrary to popular belief however, covering the surface of the radiator does not stop it from releasing hot air but, in fact, helps insulating the convection process, making the radiator actually more efficient.

 

Blocking radiation and convection via objects like settees, sofas or beds seriously affect the heating process:

How Furniture can affect the Radiator's Convection

(Furniture blocking cold air from passing through the radiator)

Heat from radiation is lost into your furniture and therefore the convection system is blocked off. It is crucial to keep the convection system unblocked to maximise the efficiency of the radiator.

If, however, it is unavoidable to place furniture in front of your central heating radiators, then the recommended method is to pull the furniture away slightly and give the radiator as much gap as possible. The more space there is between, the more this will help the convection system and the radiation.

 


Energy prices are on the rise, the more efficient our radiators the less we pay and the warmer we are!

To find out more advice on how and which energy provider to use, we suggest www.ofgem.gov.uk who are Great Britain’s independent energy regulator.
If you want to compare your energy prices, check these comparison sites:

 


If you’ve found this article useful, please consider giving it a share to help others.