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How Home Radiators Work

To chart the history of the lead-up to the modern day radiator, we have to go back to the Roman Times where the basic form of central heating originated.

Much like today, the Romans used a heating system to warm up their villas, but unlike today, this was a system without radiators. Known as a hypocaust, the heating method they used acted as under-floor heating where heat was fed through pipes from furnaces. This heating system was used widely until the fall of the Roman Empire.

From the downfall of the Romans in 410 AD up until the nineteenth century, central heating fell out of favour, with people regressing back to fires to provide them with warmth.

It was only until the 1830s that an American called Angier March Perkins came up with the idea of a steam heating system, which was to be installed in commercial premises. Later, this innovation was improved with pipes and plumbing in an effort to increase efficiency and was rolled-out to residential properties from then-on.

The final chapter in the development of the central heating system comes in the form of the Russian businessman, Franz San Galli, and this is where the radiator comes in. He invented modern central heating as we know it today, with the classic boiler, pump and radiator setup.

From there, it took until the 1970s for this system to become a common feature in homes, and today radiators don’t just serve as a heating device; they also blend and stylise rooms thanks to the latest materials, design ideas and modern technology.

The key of getting a right radiator for a room is all in the sizing. In layman terms, to heat a room you need to have the basin knowledge, such as, the type of walls, the type of ceiling and what size radiator you need to install to make a room warm and cosy. You may have heard the term ‘BTU’(British Thermal Unit) being used at the time of purchasing a radiator, and there are many BTU calculators available, which can help you choose the right radiator.

Buying a radiator can be a tedious job, but if you have a basic knowledge it can be exciting, and you can save £’s on your purchase. Most of consumers, who want to replace their radiators, buy the same size radiators, which already exists in their room. Whilst height and width are obvious, you can change the amount of heat radiated into you room with your choice of ‘depth’. These different depths are explained below:

Single Panel Radiators – The working model of single panel radiator is straight forward. It uses 1 Steel Panel to hold the hot water in your central heating system.

Single Convector Radiators – This type of radiator has 1 Steel Panel and a set of fins. Metal fins are welded on to the back of a single panel, and heating is generated from that panel. These fins act as an increased surface area, which generates more heat and, therefore, produce more heat output than a Single Panel Radiator.

Double Panel Plus Radiators – This type of radiator features 2 steel panels, and 1 set of fins. The working model of this type of radiator is same as Single Panel, but as this radiator has 2 steel panels and 1 set of fins, it generates more heat than compared to Single convector radiators.

Double Convector Radiators –Now you may have started to see a trend – but to confirm this model has 2 steel panels and 2 sets of fins. This radiator has more capability to generate heat and is usually recommended for large rooms. The capability of generating heat is determined by the height and length of the radiator.

By having a basic knowledge on how radiator works can help you select the right radiator. Next time when you decorate – you can buy with confidence as you might have already understood the jargon that all steel panel radiators accompany.

Compact style radiators are the most common radiators used in UK. Design of these radiators is pretty basic, and it features side panels and a top grill to hide the elements such as fins. Top grills and side panels can be removed with some persuasion for maintenance and cleaning – but can be a hassle.

To avoid this hassle, there are a different type of radiators available in the market and is known as ‘roundtop’ radiators. In short, these are the same radiators but without top grills and side panels.

There are many companies that manufacture round-top and compact radiators; however, they do vary in a small way in terms of design and output. At QS Supplies, we stock a complete series of round top and compact rads from manufacturers such as Biasi and Quinn. Both these companies offer ultimate quality radiators, which are stylish and affordable in price. All radiators showcased at QS Supplies web store have short lead times and can be dispatched to your home within a matter of days.

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