Radiators are wonderfully robust objects. Indeed, many of the old cast iron radiators from the Victorian or Edwardian era have been restored over the years and are still going strong. However, the vast majority of radiators will eventually get to a point where they are beyond repair or restoration and will need to be replaced. But how will you know when it’s time to replace your old radiators?
The average lifespan of modern radiators is between 10 and 15 years. Older radiators become less efficient, and even if they are still working perfectly after 15 years, they are more likely to develop problems, for example, internal corrosion.
As water runs throughout your entire heating system, it is inevitable that corrosion is going to become a problem at some point. The reaction between the water and the metal can cause small flakes of corrosion. If left unchecked, these will gradually build up, flake off and accumulate at the bottom of the radiator, and the sludge this creates will block the water resulting in insufficient heat output. Importantly this will result in higher energy bills as your system will have to work harder to keep the room at your desired temperature.You may also notice rusty spots appearing on the exterior of the radiator, which are another indication of corrosion.
Corrosion may also affect the whole heating system and could mean you end up having to buy a new boiler as well as new radiators.
These days, we’re all looking for ways of becoming more energy efficient. While turning the heating down or not having it on for as long as you’d like is very effective, replacing your old radiators could also help reduce your heating bills. Over the past few years, radiator technology has improved significantly. They have been designed to use less water, which means less energy is needed to heat each radiator up sufficiently to heat your room. By using less water, the risk of corrosion is also lessened, resulting in less damage, meaning your radiators will have a longer lifespan.
Contemporary radiators are also smaller than their older counterparts. Double panel radiators, for example, have a larger overall surface area, which is why they can deliver more heat. And designers have found clever ways of creating even greater surface areas on radiators, such as the way they have bent flat bars on the Horseshoe Cubed Horizontal designer radiator. This means that smaller radiators will save space in your room but still generate enough heat to keep it as warm as you want it to be.
How to prolong the life of your radiators
Having invested in new radiators, it makes sense to keep them well maintained in order to prolong their lifespan as much as possible. Check them regularly to ensure they don’t have any cold spots – if they do, they will need bleeding. When you bleed your radiator, check the colour of the water coming out – if it is discoloured, this is a sign of a build-up of sludge inside. In this case, you will need to flush the system – the darker the water the more urgent the need to book a specialist to do a power flush or chemical flush. A power flush will remove all the debris that has accumulated in the system, and once this debris has been cleared, the system will work more efficiently.