Five radiator efficiency tips

As the weather turns colder, we rely more on our heating systems. To make sure that you get the best out of your radiators, here are a few simple tips that are worth following.

Image Credit

1. Trapped air

If your radiators are cold at the top but warm lower down, it is usually due to trapped air. You can easily deal with this yourself by opening the bleed valve to allow the air to escape. Do this when the system is cold, and make sure you have a cloth ready to catch any dribbles.

2. Understanding BTUs

The British Thermal Unit (BTU) is used to measure the output of a radiator. What size radiator you need to heat a room depends on a number of factors including its size, how many outside walls it has, and which way it faces. Online calculators are available that will help you to work out the size of radiator you need to heat a room.

Image Credit

3. Replacing radiators

If you want to replace part of your system, perhaps with some smart aluminium radiators from, it’s important to check that you have the correct heat capacity. This is measured in BTUs; radiators with a high output no longer need to be large in size.

4. Making the most of your radiators

There are some simple things you can do to ensure that you are getting the most out of your radiators. If you have a radiator under a window, make sure that it is not covered by curtains as this prevents heat escaping into the room. Similarly, don’t have sofas or other furniture too close to radiators as this blocks the path of heat.

For radiators on outside walls, put reflective foil behind them to bounce the heat back into the room. You can buy special radiator foil in rolls or panels from most DIY stores.

5. Update your controls

If you are updating an old heating system, you can make it more effective by improving the controls. Most older systems just have a timer and a room thermostat. You can improve things by adding thermostatic radiator valves or by having a wireless thermostat that you can take from room to room. The latest systems allow you to control them remotely through an app on your smartphone.