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Choosing The Perfect Radiator – A Buyers Guide

A few years ago buying a radiator was a much simpler task, options were limited to single or standard single or double panel radiators, and many people simply let their plumber decide which radiator was right for each room. Nowadays there is a much wider range to choose from, with designer radiators being hugely popular.

Take Measurements & Calculate BTU

Before buying a radiator it is essential to know two things; the required BTU rating and the available space for installation. First measure the dimensions of the room with a tape measure in feet, then multiply the height, width, and length to determine how many cubic feet your room is. Multiply the figure by 3 for kitchens, 4 for bedrooms, and 5 for living rooms and dining areas. You should also adjust the BTU figure to take things like external walls and large windows into account. For north facing external walls, add 15%. For French windows or sliding patio doors, add 20%.

You may also want to measure the distance between the lockshield valve and control valve on your existing radiator, to keep installation costs to a minimum.

How to Install A Radiator

Replacing a radiator can be relatively simple if the new radiator has identical pipe centres, however if the pipe centres are different then your pipework will need to be modified. Unless you are a competent plumber who knows how to alter pipework, it’s worth contacting a professional to do the work for you. For radiator installation in Swindon, visit centraheat.co.uk.

Single Panel, Double Panel, & Convector Radiators

Single panel radiators are the most basic form of radiator. This type of radiator is relatively slim and fits closer to the wall than a double panel radiator. Double panel radiators are constructed of two stacked panels, the protrude further from the wall but offer superior heating to single panels. Both single and double panel radiators may have convector fins fitted to the rear of a single panel, or between the panels on a double panel radiator. Convector fins form vertical tubes behind or between panels to enhance heat distribution.

Vertical and Horizontal Radiators

Vertical radiators can be an ideal option for small rooms or kitchens where wall space is required for wall mounted cabinets and white goods. Most heated towel rails for bathrooms are also vertical radiators.

Contrary to popular belief, vertical radiators are just as efficient as horizontal radiators, with a 5000 BTU vertical radiator producing the same amount of heat as a 5000 BTU horizontal radiator. Horizontal radiators are a more conventional choice in the UK, and standard horizontal panels are often the cheapest option.

Ladder Towel Rails

Keep your towels warm and your bathroom toasty with a ladder towel rail. A towel warmer will keep your towels dry and ready to provide a warm embrace when you step out of a warm morning shower into a cool bathroom on a winter morning.

Many ladder towel rails are dual fuel, this means that in addition to heating up when your central heating is on, they also have a dedicated electric heating element fitted inside. If the central heating is off, you can turn on the towel rail independently.

Choosing the Right Material

The ideal radiator material heats up quickly conducts heats exceptionally well, and does not corrode. Aluminium is a superconductor that fits all of these requirements almost perfectly. Unfortunately, Aluminium radiators are quite expensive, so stainless steel can often be a good compromise.

Mild steel radiators provide a low cost alternative to stainless steel and aluminium radiators, but since mild steel corrodes, stainless steel is a superior choice.

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