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10 Top tips for your household radiators

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The Manufacturers Association of Radiators and Convectors (MARC) have produced their top 10 tips for maintaining domestic radiators and maximising the efficiency of the UK’s number one choice for home heating.

  1. Remove trapped air - Over time, air can become trapped inside your radiators. This means that the radiator doesn’t heat you, or the room as well as it should. If you think that a room in your house is colder than it used to be, there’s a good chance that the radiator needs bleeding. It’s a good idea to bleed your radiators a couple of times a year and now is as good a time as any.

  2. Painting precautions – Too many coats of paint on a radiator reduces the efficiency of the radiator. Removing paint from a radiator and re-applying is a long and messy job and it is sometimes more cost effective to replace an older radiator.

  3. Improve control - The installation of TRVs (thermostatic radiator valves), providing independent temperature control in every room, can significantly improve comfort for householders by providing satisfactory heat distribution around the home. This is not achieved without TRVs, even if the system is balanced.

  4. Keep clear - We would not recommend using radiator covers because thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs) sense the air temperature around them and control the flow rate depending on what level they're set at. Having a cover over the radiator means that the TRV is enclosed, which is likely to make it think that the room temperature is higher than it actually is - because heat will be trapped between the radiator and the cover.

  5. Keep curtains higher - It′s sound advice to close curtains at dusk to help reduce heat loss. However, tucking in curtains behind the radiators is not recommended. With most modern radiators, at least half of the heat output is from behind the front panel. If you tuck in curtains behind the radiator, you will restrict the free flow of warm air. In some cases, tucked-in curtains will completely block this passage of warm air, and substantially reduce the heat output.

  6. Hang out your smalls – Drying your smalls on the radiator reduces the efficiency of your central heating system, as it blocks the convection currents from the radiator around the room, thereby costing you more.

  7. Make the right choice - Choosing the right radiator can help reduce energy bills, for example too large a radiator will increase bills unnecessarily, but too small a radiator will be too cold and will be constantly running at maximum. By performing a Heat Loss Calculation, you can establish the radiator Watt / BTU outputs required for a particular room taking into account any heat that will be lost through walls, windows and ceiling. This ensures that your rooms will be heated comfortably and efficiently.

  8. Don’t mix and match – Need to add or change a radiator? Stick to the same type of metal. Introducing more than one type of metal radiator into your heating system can increase the risk of corrosion.

  9. Thinking about renewables? - Historically there has been a misconception that radiators are less energy efficient than some other heat emitters when used with low water temperature systems. In fact modern high performance panel radiators work well with low water temperatures, making them an ideal choice for eco-conscious developers and home owners.

  10. Efficient and stylish – Modern radiators not only harness innovation, they have undergone something of a renaissance in the last decade or so. In line with people's aspirations to create beautiful and unique homes that match their taste and lifestyle, the radiator has not been forgotten. There are now thousands of possibilities in size, shape and configuration.

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