It should come as no surprise that buying hydronic radiators isn’t easy, which is why we have compiled his guide to help you understand what is available and make an informed decision. There are a number of things that you need to consider when selecting radiators that suit your needs, so sit back and be prepared to take some notes…
What are the different types available?
There are a number of different types of radiator to choose from, however, each will be a combination of the following features: horizontal (the most common and, therefore, the least expensive), vertical (which frees up more wall space), panel (a thin container) and column (tubes arranged in rows that connect at the top and bottom). Heated towel rails are also available.
What are Kw’s and how much do I need?
In short, kilowatts (Kw)is the measure of heat output. The higher the Kw, the hotter the hydronic radiator can get. The standard practice is to use a Kw calculator to figure out how much your home needs. More Kw means that the system will be more expensive to run, but you do have the option to turn it down (it’s always nice to have plenty of Kw available and not need it).
What size do I need? Is bigger always better?
Size is an important consideration, as it affects the Kw output (the bigger the hydronic radiator, the more heat it will put out). But it’s also important that you think about its depth. Instead of choosing one that is really long and tall, for example, you could choose one that is more compact with plenty of depth so that it doesn’t take up as much space.
What is the best material?
The material your radiator is made from will help to determine how quickly it heats up and how quickly it cools. Cast iron was popular before modern insulation, as it took a long time to heat up and cool down. These days, however, mild steel, stainless steel and aluminium are more popular choices. Mild steel is a great low cost option, whereas aluminium will heat up immediately.
Do I need a professional or can I install them myself?
Short answer – just leave it to the professionals. The radiators are going to be fed hot water almost continuously throughout the winter months in order to provide warmth – any mistakes can pose a serious risk of damage to your home. Do you really want to risk having the system break down in the middle of winter? We highly recommend letting us handle the installation alongside your boiler.
At the end of the day, the process begins with getting an idea of what you want from hydronic radiators. Next, you need to know your technical limitations (such as the angle of your piping, how large the room is and the number of windows). From there, you can start browsing purely according to aesthetics and choose a radiator that complements the décor of your home.