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The Guide to Choosing a Radiator

Whether you are involved in a new building project or just want to change some existing radiators there are a few things you might like you to consider.

Heat output

Depending on the type of room, its size, level of insulation and other key factors, such as open fire places, French Doors, etc., the amount of heat required will likely impact the style, size and finish of your ideal radiator. You can get an estimate as to how much heat you need by entering some information in our simple Heat Calculator. Further help see our information on getting the right heat output.

Style of radiator

Radiators tend to fall into specific categories, such as the following:

Designer or contemporary – These radiators tend to follow traditional design and manufacturing methods, but still manage to offer a great alternative to the standard ‘pressed steel’ radiators that are often considered the norm. Here is  a collection of designer radiators.

Traditional/classic – These are the styles of radiator that we often associate with our school days, churches and older public buildings. Usually coming in columns and sections these radiators tend to be either cast iron or, as a modern day equivalent, in steel. Our range of traditional radiators can be seen here.

Energy efficient – With energy prices continually on the rise, finding ways to heat a building as cheaply as possible are often key considerations when choosing a radiator. A lot more science is going into radiator design and construction these days and this has led to a wider range of ‘low energy/high output’ designs. This range might also be considered ‘space saving’ for those situations where you need to achieve maximum heat from a limited amount of wall space. See our range of energy efficient radiators here.

Trench heating – Traditionally trench heating was considered a staple in commercial projects but as glass walls and bi-fold doors have become the norm in house construction and new extensions and wall space has become a premium, it has become increasingly necessary to generate heat from smaller and smaller areas. Trench Heating, with the wide range of sizes and grille finishes now available, offers a sophisticated solution. Find our range of Trench Heating here.

Bathroom/towel rails - Even bathroom radiators no longer need to be the chrome ladder rails that we remember from old. There are a wide range of functional alternatives that do more than just dry towels. See our range of towel rails here.

Finish of radiator – White, colours, stainless steel, chrome, or bespoke painting on cast iron radiators (only).

White - If you need a radiator in a hurry it is most likely to be in white as this is the standard finish that we generally keep in stock.

Colours – Different manufacturers use different colour scheme for their radiators. On each radiator’s page you will see the colour palette available for that style. Choosing a specific colour may extend the delivery time, so please call for advice.

Chrome – Once chrome was reserved solely for the bathroom but in recent years more and more radiators for other areas of the house have become available in a chrome finish. Generally chrome on radiators reduces the heat output by up to 20% so it is important to build this in when calculating the size of the radiator needed.

Stainless steel – Stainless steel has figured increasingly in interior design over the last decade or so and radiators have followed suit. Besides the finish, the benefits of using stainless steel include no risk of corrosion, or peeling, flaking or a discoloration of the finish, easy to maintain the original finish, van be used on any type of heating system open or closed.

Heating Systems

Some radiators are not suitable for 'open' heating systems.

Closed circuit heating systems - The water in the heating system is sealed in and cannot be changed and just circulates all the time. The water will have needed to have been treated to protect radiators made from ferrous materials like mild steel, cast iron, etc.

Open circuit heating systems – This is usually mains water or from a spring or borehole making it impossible to treat the water with suitable chemicals. As a result, the radiators must be chosen from non-ferrous materials like stainless steel, brass, aluminium etc.

Fuel type – In the vast majority of situations a radiator will be added to a standard central heating system, with a gas, electric or oil boiler heating the water that circulates around the house.

Central heating system alternatives

However sometimes a standard central heating system is not available – maybe for geographical reasons or because it has not been possible to run the required pipe work to a particular room, such as a conservatory. In these situations an electric radiator may be the solution. See our wide range of electric radiators here.

Dual fuel – This is the obvious solution for bathrooms. In the winter use the central heating to heat the room and dry towels, but during the summer months switch to the electric mode and still have dry towels.

Wall space – How much wall space has been set aside for the radiator? The smaller the space available the less choice of radiator there is likely to be.

Availability – Many of our standard models are available from stock and can be delivered in 2 – 3 days. Others, depending on the size and finish, may take up to six weeks. Once you have a style in mind call us for advice.

Budget – There is a radiator available to fit almost any budget. Please give us a call to get some direction on which models might prove suitable.