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How To Make a Radiator More Efficient

Updated on December 17, 2009

If you own an old home, you probably have radiators as your main source of heat.  Many people live in an old home with the original radiators still in use, yet seem to struggle with efficiency.  How can you make an old radiator an efficient heat source? 

Reflective Foam board Insulation

The reflective foil face of some foam board insulation products can reflect the heat back into the room making the room much more comfortable and nominally more even.  The reason for the insulation and not just reflective material is because you do not want to lose the heat through the reflective coating.  Having the insulation as part of the reflective system will ensure that 100% of the energy released is reflected off of the radiator. One caution, however.  There Needs to be a minimum of 1/2" air gap between the insulation and the radiator for fire safety reasons.  The foam board should be attached  to the wall and not be allowed to touch the radiator.


Ceiling Fan

The most under rated tool to a house with radiant heat is the ceiling fan.  Turn the fan on very low to cycle the air down.  Heat generally rises so this method works well and helps create a more even heat throughout.

These simple tips may save you 10% on your heat bill this winter.  Always remember that radiator boxes look nice, but they are not efficient.  A radiator box should always have the face of the radiator open.  These are usually custom build items so have your carpenter make face grates you can put on in the summer.


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