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How Radiators Work

By November 9, 2021December 8th, 2021Radiator Tips

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 who are Great Britain’s independent energy regulator.
If you want to compare your energy prices, check these comparison sites:


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