Finding the right radiator

Choosing radiators might sound like an easy job, but with a ever-increasing number of options available it’s not as simple as it seems. Simon Morris of The Radiator Company offers his advice

When it comes to choosing radiators, it’s no longer just about the standard white column or panel steel ones. There’s a huge array of colours, designs and sizes on the market, each with their own benefits.

A guide to efficiency

With such a large variety of radiator designs, valves and accessories to choose from, it has become far easier to choose a style that complements your interior and unique sense of style. But before deciding on the perfect design for your home, it is important to take into consideration the other aspects that ensure your new radiator functions efficiently in your home.

Choosing the correct size of radiator has a direct impact upon its ability to heat your room. To accurately gauge how much heat you require from your new radiator, head online where free heat output calculators are available. The results will be listed in BTUs or watts, which are standard measurements of heat output used by all showrooms and merchants to ensure you are able to find the correct size and style of radiator for your home.

When considering the purchase of a new radiator, investing in a high quality product will give you peace of mind for the future. A minimum guarantee of at least five years should be available for your chosen design, with some guarantees ranging up to 20 years depending on the materials used. The heat output is the most important factor and selecting a good quality radiator with certified outputs will set your mind at ease that the quoted measures are correct and will deliver the warmth required to heat the room effectively.

Traditionally, radiators are placed in the coldest parts of the room, such as under windows or against outside walls, to counteract the cold convection of air entering the room. With double-glazing and use of high-tech insulation commonplace in modern homes, this is not always necessary. When planning, look at the layout of the room and then make a decision on the best place to position the radiator to optimise the use of space. Consider all available options, including underutilised areas such as chimney breasts, alcoves and tight corners that are ideal for tall, thin radiators.

A vast majority of radiators available on the market will provide you with the option to select different dimensions in order to achieve your desired level of heating within the proportions of the room. For example, selecting a radiator with a greater depth allows you to achieve higher heat outputs without increasing the height or width of your radiator.

Traditional multi-column radiators offer the option to increase the number of columns within each section, while more contemporary radiators offer single, double and triple variants. Using multiple radiators helps to dissipate heat evenly throughout a room, so don’t be tempted to plan all of your heat output from just the one radiator, as this will not be effective in heating the space.

Always consult your plumber or merchant early on in the planning process to discuss the location of your radiators and placement of the pipe work. This helps to ensure that you have positioned the product in a place that allows the best use of the surrounding space. One of our top tips is to avoid concealing your radiators behind large objects such as your sofa; this will inevitably reduce the radiator’s ability to heat your room and will prevent you from feeling the full benefits of your radiator.

Popular materials & trends

Radiators come in a variety of styles, sizes and colours to meet almost any interior design need. Traditionally radiators are manufactured from steel as it provides an excellent combination of strength, efficiency and flexibility, allowing for the creation of statement designs and unusual shapes. There are however a number of other materials used to design radiators, each with their own individual characteristics.

The ‘best’ material to use depends on a number of factors, including the style you want to achieve (traditional or modern), your heat source, and whether you’re using renewable energy or traditional fuel sources.

Aluminium is lightweight, energy efficient and environmentally friendly with excellent conductive properties that make it incredibly easy to control.

Aluminium is also very thermally efficient so requires less water and can work effectively with lower water temperatures (often produced when using renewable energy sources).

Steel is still the most popular material to use and is often used for designer styles due to its flexibility. It can be used in both traditional and more modern styles. Due to the flexibility of the material there is often a much larger than normal variety of sizes available in each range.

Cast iron is a traditional material dating back from the Victorian era. Cast iron radiators take longer to heat up, but once the heating is switched off they can hold their heat for longer than other materials, continuing to heat the room. These are best suited to period homes with less insulation needing a constant heat source.

Depending on the your price range, a vast collection of colours and special finishes could be available. White is no longer the staple choice, with chrome, black and anthracite becoming more popular choices for radiator designs. Colour is an increasingly important selection criteria, with hundreds of colours and special finishes to choose from when matching your interior scheme.

Whether you want your radiators to blend in with neutral tones or make a focal point with vibrant colours and mottled effects, you can opt to have your radiator powder coated in a colour or finish of choice prior to delivery. Not only does this produce a far better quality of finish, it’s actually more cost effective than having them painted yourself. However, something to bear in mind in your planning and decision process is that ‘specials’ are made to order and can take between four and six weeks to be delivered.

New colours and finishes are often introduced in response to the latest interior trends. One exciting development that promises to prove popular in 2018 is galvanised finishes. Colours such as antique copper, antique brass and satin nickel will seamlessly integrate the metallic trend into your home.

From traditional radiators to modern designs, products are available in a range of dimensions and colour options to ensure you are able to find the perfect radiator to match both your style preferences and efficiency requirements in the home.

Simon Morris is marketing manager at The Radiator Company