Skip to navigation Skip to content

The Essential Radiator Glossary

Let's face it, engineer's terminology can be slightly confusing! So here's your helpful essential radiator glossaryWords are loosely categorised below in order to help add a bit of context to each term's explanation.

TIP: you can also press both your control key (CTRL) and the letter 'F' on your keyboard to search the page for particular words.

The Only Radiators Essential Radiator Glossary

Radiator Features

  • Dual Fuel | Dual fuel radiators are radiators which can heat as part of the central heating system, through gas; as well as independently, through electric.

 Radiator Types

  • Home Radiator | Fundamentally, a hollow metal panel that is fed heated water through pipes by a central boiler in order to radiate that heat outwards. A radiator is an incredible, life-changing development that is now taken for granted by us all.
  • Rad | A 'rad' is a shortened version of 'radiator' that only cool people use.
  • Convector Radiators | Convector radiators are normal rads with convector fins, increasing BTU.
  • Convector Fins | Convector fins are long sheets of metal which are bent into a zig-zag shape and then welded to the rear of a radiator panel. This increases the surface area of a radiator.
  • Double Panel Plus Convector Radiators | Double panel convector radiators, aka double panel single convecting radiators, are home radiators in which a layer of convector fins is sandwiched between two radiator panels.
  • Double Panel Convector Radiators | Double panel convector radiators are, confusingly, double panel plus convecting radiators with 2 layers of fins between the two panels, rather than just 1 layer. Also known as double panel double convecting radiators - which is a much better name.
  • Designer RadiatorA designer radiator is designed to incorporate interesting and non-standard designs which may not necessarily affect performance. They're usually conceived by those strongly considering the visual impact of a radiator, as well as it's ability to heat a room.
  • Heated Towel Rail A heated towel rail is a smaller, low power radiator designed to hold and warm towels.
  • Underfloor HeatingUnderfloor heating refers to home heating solutions that are installed out of sight beneath the floor. Usually in bathrooms, but they can heat an entire room with the right coverage.


Radiator Materials

  • Aluminium | Aluminium panels are lightweight, extremely quick to warm up, and produce a higher maximum BTU.
  • Cast Iron | Cast iron is affordable but heavy. It holds a heat for a long time but takes longer to warm up, too.
  • Steel or Mild Steel | Steel is affordable and relatively light. But its strength lies in its ability to be easily shaped and mass produced - so it's great for affordable designer radiators.
  • Stainless Steel | You know the benefits of stainless steel. If you take good care of this shiny metal then it'll last a long time. Anti-corrosive, no-stain, impact resistant, no need to repaint.

Radiator Valves

  • Valves | A radiator valve sits at either side of a home radiator to connect it to the central heating system. It also controls the temperature output by managing the flow of water in and out.
  • Thermostatic Valves | A thermostatic valve (TRV) is a type of radiator valve that automatically adjusts itself to the temperature of the room. They aren't usually too complex - most just have a tiny bit of wax inside them. Very clever.
  • Manual Valves | A manual valve is the basic form of a radiator valve. It's essentially a tap which controls the flow of water into the radiator. That affects how hot the radiator gets.
  • Angled Radiator Valve | Angled radiator valves are normal radiator valves with a 90-degree bend. This helps to connect a radiator to plumbing where an angled valve is needed - usually when pipework exits the wall or below floorboards.
  • Bleed Valves | A radiator's bleed valve is found atop a home radiator and is used to release trapped air that can cause cold spots.
  • Air Vented Valves | An air vented valve is a device which automatically 'bleeds' the attached radiator by releasing trapped air. Air vented valves are non-essential accessories that fit on the bleed valve.

Installing a Radiator

  • Pipe Centres | Pipe centres are the overall distance between the 'tappings' on a radiator.
  • Tappings | Tappings are the thread inside the inlets of a radiator in which the valves (or elements) will be screwed.
  • Tails | Tails are the copper pipes fitted to a radiator for plumbing installation.


Radiator Maintenance

  • Radiator Bleeding | Radiator bleeding is the process of releasing air trapped inside a radiator. Air must be released as it prevents hot water from reaching the top of the radiator, leaving cold spots.


Other Plumbing Terms

  • BAR | BAR is a very common measurement of pressure.
  • Boiler | A boiler is a sealed tank inside a home that heats water to be distributed around a house through pressurised plumbing.
  • Combination (Combi) Boiler | A combi (or combination) boiler is a boiler that supplies instant hot water output and supplies a home's central heating as well.
  • Corrosion | Corrosion in radiators refers to the inevitable buildup of particles from the water, along with rust from both inside the radiator and the system in general. Erosion happens to even the most rust-resistant systems.
  • Central Heating | Central heating refers to the common home-heating system in which hot water is heated in a 'central' boiler. It's then circulated through the radiators.
  • Efficiency | Efficiency refers to the performance of a radiator. Basically, how good it is at using your gas or electric to heat a room.
  • IP Rating |  An international classification system that rates how well something resists moisture (up to how well it does being submerged in water).
  • Watts | Watts is another way of measuring heat output, only really used when referring to electric radiators
  • Variable Heat | Variable heat simply refers to the fact that the temperature can be manually controlled.
  • Zone | A zone, in the context of heating, is any area within a building that is to be heated. Or, where IP zones are referenced, the zones inside a room which have different IP rating requirements due to moisture.



Our goal is to be as helpful as possible and I hope we've done that here for you. With this home-heating essential radiator glossary of technical terms. If not, then emailing us and asking your questions directly. You'll be doing us a huge favour - as well as helping everyone else who needs a new radiator, too.

You might also like

Back to top