Not all radiators are created equal. There's a huge variety of different radiators on offer and choosing the right one for you can be difficult. Here, we outline the most efficient radiators available, which can help you save money and reduce the impact of your home on the environment.
- Radiator Size
- Electric Radiators
- Aluminium Radiators
- Dual Fuel Radiators
- Double Panel Radiators
- Keeping Radiators Efficient
One of the most crucial things to consider when choosing the most efficient radiator is size. Having the correct sized radiator for the room you intend to heat will ensure no energy is wasted.
Larger radiators will often be more efficient. This is because they have a larger surface area to radiate heat, so the water inside them doesn’t need to be as warm as in a smaller radiator to generate the same amount of heat. This also means your boiler won’t need to work as hard, so you’ll save money on your heating bills.
However, it’s important to remember that if your radiator is too large for the room, the high levels of energy required to heat up the large amount of water inside it will likely outweigh what’s needed, which will lead to falls in efficiency.
When it comes to picking the correct radiator size, we always recommend using our BTU calculator.
In the UK, electric radiators have a reputation for being inefficient and expensive. Much of this misconception comes from traditional fan heaters. In fan heaters, a lot of the energy is used to power the fan inside which pushes air into the heating element, so there is a lot of wasted energy. Their small size also means they have to use a lot of energy to heat an entire room.
Most Efficient Radiators
Electric Radiators however can be considered a '100% efficient' device. This is because almost all of the electricity used to power them is converted into heat. As a result, in many ways electric radiators can be considered the 'most efficient radiators'.
An electric radiator system in your home can also bring other efficiencies when compared with traditional systems. In a central heating system the water needs to travel through a number of pipes to reach the radiators, all the time it travels through these pipes, it will lose heat which reduces efficiency.
In a central heating system, water is pumped to all of the radiators throughout your home, even into rooms that you aren't using. With electric radiators, you can turn them on and they will heat up quickly as and when you need them. Your home will therefore be more efficient as you aren't heating up rooms you don't need to. As the system is modular, you don't need to set a thermostat for your whole home, so you can reduce energy wastage by heating each room to the precise temperature you need.
It could also be argued electric radiators have environmental benefits. As they don't have water inside them, they are less susceptible to sludge built up so should last longer, which is good news for the environment. If one radiator fails you also only need to replace one, rather than a whole system.
Are Electric Radiators Expensive To Run?
In the UK, electricity is more expensive than gas. As a result electric radiators are usually more expensive to run than a gas central heating system. However, as they are also more efficient and you can have more precise control over temperatures, you can bring these costs down.
If you are looking for energy efficiency in your central heating system, aluminium radiators are the place to go. Aluminium is a fantastic heat conductor, which means aluminium radiators heat up quickly and use less energy to reach the desired temperature
Aluminium radiators will also require less water than other radiator types. This means less water needs to be heated and your boiler doesn't need to work as hard to achieve the same temperatures. Great for the environment and your wallet!
Aluminium radiators are particularly suited to rooms which aren't used very often, as the radiator won't be on all the time but you want it to heat up quickly when it is! By contrast, cast iron radiators are more suitable for larger rooms, as they heat up slowly but will radiate heat more evenly.
When it comes to the environment, aluminium is often the friendliest option as it is much easier to recycle than other radiator materials.
Dual Fuel Radiators
One of the biggest efficiency issues of central heating systems comes from the fact your boiler will always pump heated water around your whole home. This is highly inefficient if you don't need to heat every single room. Dual fuel towel rails can solve this problem and lead to some great efficiency improvements in your home
When all your radiators are on in the winter, your towel rail will run on the central heating. However, in the summer when your radiators are off but your towels still need to be dried, you can run the towel rail using electricity. This will represent a great energy efficiency saving vs turning on your entire central heating system just to warm the towel rail
To start reaping the benefits of a Dual Fuel heated towel rail, you'll need to purchase a compatible radiator and a heating element. Sometimes known as summer heating elements, these are added to your towel rail to allow you to use it with both central heating and electricity.
Double Panel Radiators
Double panel radiators, as the name suggests, have two panels on the outside to distribute heat rather than one. As a result, the double panel has a larger surface area to emit heat from, so it will have a higher heat output than a single panel radiator and is therefore much more efficient. Double panel radiators can also help you save wall space in your home. Rather than needing a large single panel radiator, you can get the same heat output from a much smaller double panel.
Keeping Your Radiators Efficient
If you're not ready to purchase a new radiator, you can still improve the efficiency of your current heating system by properly maintaining it.
Flush Your Radiators
Over time, sludge composed of rust and dirt particles can settle inside your radiators. As it is heavier than water, the sludge will sink to the bottom of the radiator, which prevents water and heat flow inside. As a result, your heating system will be less efficient as you'll need to heat the water to higher level to achieve the same temperatures. Flushing your radiators is an easy way to solve this problem and ensure they are working at their best.
Bleed Your Radiators
When air becomes trapped in your heating system, it will cause cold spots which will make your radiators inefficient. Bleeding your radiators is easy to do and can lead to instant improvements in the performance of your central heating. Take a look at our handy guide to bleeding radiators here.
Insulate Your Pipes
As we've already stated, one of the issues of central heating systems is the heat loss that can occur before the water has even reached your radiators. Insulating pipes where you can is an easy and cost effective way to keep your heating system running at its best.
Invest In Thermostatic Radiator Valves
Thermostatic radiator valves (TRV's) can help your radiators work more efficiently by automatically regulating the temperature. Unlike conventional valves which need to be adjusted manually, a TRV can detect when the temperature in the room is too hot or cold and adjust the flow of water to the radiator accordingly. This will help you achieve efficiency as you won't be wasting energy turning radiators too high, only to turn them down or off again.