Radiators and Wall Radiators – Old Technology That’s Come Back Around
In schools, office buildings, homes and apartments in the first half of the 20th century, the radiator was a pretty familiar fixture. These heavy cast-iron radiators would circulate steam or hot water through their pipes and fins to provide radiant heat (the design actually dates back to 1834) and warm a room.
Over the years, as different, more efficient heating systems came into use, cast-iron radiators fell out of favor. Today, though, the wall radiator has come back into style again for many newer applications.
They’re still an effective way to heat a home, and their simplicity makes them worth revisiting for a heating option. Their fins and folds provide more surface area than, say, a single slab or panel, and provide more material to disperse heat. Best of all, a radiator doesn’t need a blower, usually – it’s the room’s natural air circulation that does all the work to spread heat.
Here’s a little information about what the modern-day radiator heater has to offer.
Ever heard of Runtal Radiators? Since the 1950s, Runtal has been the world leader in radiator development. The company’s headquarters is in Switzerland, with plants and distribution around the world, including a plant in the United States.
Runtal offers a wide variety of stylish, unobtrusive radiator heaters and wall panels for residential, institutional and commercial use. Some of their innovations include towel radiators for bathrooms (there’s nothing like drying off with a nice warm towel and then putting on a warm bathrobe), electric baseboard heaters, wall panels and many other styles.
Runtal radiators are available in hot-water, steam and electric designs. They’re designed to be safe, efficient and up-to-date, and can be a great fit for just about any décor or style.
There are also steam baseboard heaters available from Runtal, for a subtle look that can fit in anywhere, and ceramic systems for steam heat. Ceramic radiators are a state-of-the-art design that isn’t hot to the touch and is incredibly efficient for sustainable heat.
Today, many houses aren’t set up for steam or hot-water heat…which is why you don’t see a lot of radiator heaters anymore. Electric radiators are a great option for homes that aren’t fitted for steam heat. With an electric radiator, the heat actually comes from a special mineral oil inside the unit.
This thermal oil isn’t burned in the heating process – its high flash point and boiling point make it almost impossible to burn, but it has an uncanny ability to carry and radiate heat. The heater uses a heating element that’s not unlike the burner on a stove, which then heats up the oil.
The oil conducts heat through the body of the radiator, which is then transmitted through the radiator’s body and fins for a cozy, warm room. Electric radiator heaters are also portable – many are on casters so they can easily be moved from one room to the next. As a space heater, they’re safe and efficient and can quickly make a room comfortably warm.
Radiator Do’s and Don’ts
If you have steam heat or hot-water heat, here are some helpful tips for using your radiators.
- Your pipes should be insulated to get the most out of your heating system. Many older homes have asbestos-coated pipes, but there are much more efficient insulation materials available today. If your home has asbestos-coated pipes, don’t try to remove it yourself for an upgrade. Plastic wraps are available to cover the asbestos. Remember, steam is a gas that is trying to become a liquid again. Naked, un-covered pipes can only help it turn back to its liquid state, so make sure they’re insulated.
- Old radiators are heavy. Really, really heavy, like several hundred pounds. Don’t try to move a radiator on your own, and don’t try to repair a radiator that’s in bad shape. Leave that to the professionals.
- Remember to keep furniture and flammables away from the radiator.
- Remember that the radiator needs proper air flow to work right. As mentioned above, keep things away from the radiator that could obstruct its air flow. This is a pretty easy one to remember, as radiators are also very hot to the touch.
What type of heat does your home have? If you’re considering an upgrade or refit for your home heating system, it might be time to think about going with radiators.
They’re efficient, they’re attractive in many room decors and can heat up a room to a comfortable temperature in a surprisingly short amount of time.
If you just need space heaters on a room-by-room basis, electric radiators are also a great choice. Why not consider this heating option?