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How to Select the Right Central Heating Radiator

Selecting the right central heating system and radiators can be a bit confusing. Let us take the guesswork out of this process by providing a few useful tips, tricks and suggestions.

When Should You Change Your Central Heating System?

There are several instances which may dictate that your central heating system has seen better days. The most obvious case is when your home is not provided with sufficient warmth and yet it is properly insulated. Or, perhaps you have just added an addition and the current system simply does not have enough capacity to heat a larger area. You may be hoping to depart from the more traditional look of a radiator and desire a more sleek and modern appeal.

Older central heating radiators will lose their power over time. Boilers may begin to leak. Pilot lights could fail during the colder months of the year. Not only can this prove to be frustrating, but the added costs to heat your home are nothing to be laughed at. These are but a handful of the instances when a change is indeed good.

What is the Right System for Your Home?

Valiant Combi Boilers

Choosing the correct system can be a challenging task indeed. The first consideration will determine the boiler itself. Recent laws require that all units should be what is known as condensing boilers. In essence, this means that any heat that would normally be lost is recirculated within the system. Some designs can offer up to 96 per cent efficiency. Still, there a few subcategories of boilers to choose from. These are:

  • Combination boilers
  • Sealed systems
  • Open-vent sealed systems

Combination boilers and their associated radiators are extremely popular options. As water is heated directly from the mains, there is no need to wait to achieve the desired temperature. They are quite small and most will not employ an external tank. So, a “combi” boiler is perfect for smaller homes or flats that will not require a massive heating capacity.

Sealed systems will keep hot water in what could be considered to be a traditional storage tank. These therefore require a bit of extra room. The main benefit with these systems is that hot water can be run from numerous locations without heat being lost (this is an issue with the previously mentioned combination boilers). Sealed systems are commonly used in average-sized homes.

A final choice is known as an open-vent sealed system. The primary benefit here is that it is a perfect option for larger homes. It should still be noted that time is required to heat up the water to a desired temperature and thus, the home may take a while to become warm. These are nonetheless more robust when compared to combination boilers.

Now that we have addressed the types of common boilers, another critical component when selecting the right system revolves around the type of fuel that you desire. This will deal with cost as well as the type of system employed. Some energy sources include LPG, oil, natural gas and electricity. Over a ten-year period, natural gas is the cheapest option to choose while damage to the environment is minimal.

The final concern is from a more practical point of view. It may be difficult to install certain systems within older homes or those with limited space. Perhaps you wish to do away with the traditional radiator for underfloor heating (discussed later). Finally, what will the entire system cost to install and are there any energy incentives provided by the government to help pay for the ultimate price tag? Keep in mind that central heating radiators and their associated systems are very real investments and they can add a great deal of value to your home.

How Can You Reduce Central Heating Costs?

In 2012, it was found that the cost to heat a home for one year topped a massive £600 pounds (1). This is indeed money that could have been spent elsewhere. Notwithstanding replacing a central heating system or a boiler, there are several other methods to help reduce the cost of heating during the colder months of the year. It is critical to check the insulation of a home, for hundreds of pounds can otherwise be spent heating the great outdoors. Should you find that your central heating radiators are functioning properly, you then need to check suspect spots such as an attic. Improper insulation can have a drastic effect upon heat loss. Should you notice a great deal of ice on your roof, this is likely the cause. However, also check for drafts around windows and doors. If you have the option, purchase double-glazed windows for added protection. A few other tips and tricks are:

  • Check to make sure your heating systems are running efficiently.
  • Make certain that pipes are properly protected from the cold.
  • Open the blinds on your windows during sunny days to allow more light and warmth to enter.

What is the Difference Between Underfloor Heating and Central Heating?

The primary difference between these two systems is the ways in which the heat is distributed. Central heating will make use of radiators, baseboard heaters and circulation systems to pass air through an environment. Underfloor heating (also known as radiant heating) employs a system of flexible pipes below floors such as tile or wood. In turn, the heat will rise from below and provide a uniform temperature. However, such systems can be expensive and not all floors will be able to accommodate the installation requirements.

Your Radiator Style Guide

Radiator Style Guide

Radiators come in a wide variety of shapes, designs and sizes. So, making the best choice can be a bit challenging. You must first take a look at which units provide the appropriate heat within an area. Double-panel models will produce the most heat although they take up slightly more room. Single-panel radiators are slimmer and are ideal for smaller dimensions. Still, heat output alone is not the only issue.

Since the radiator was invented in the middle of the nineteenth century by a Russian businessman, its decor has always been an issue. Do you like a traditional convector model or are you more interested in sleek and stylish designer central heating radiators? Keep in mind that there is always a trade off between looks and function. Still, even modern units boast impressive heating capabilities. There is a dizzying array of options to choose from such as gloss finishes, slender vertical tubes and robust columnar shapes. You will need to factor in cost, heating requirements and the allocated space to make the best choices possible.

So, it is clear to see that there is much more than meets the eye in terms of central heating radiators and their associated systems. As this can be somewhat of a daunting task, many homeowners will prefer to employ the services of a professional for expert advice and suggestions. As mentioned previously, modern systems can last for decades at a time with little need for maintenance or repairs. Additionally, the heat that they provide is light years beyond what was available only a handful of decades ago. By assessing the variables that we have discussed, you can be able to make the best choices at the right times.

Reference: Radiator Information

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