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Radiators

How to improve the appearance of a bathroom radiator

Do you have a radiator in your bathroom?  If so, you are sure to appreciate the warmth it provides on a cold winter morning. You might not care for the appearance of your radiator, however, especially if you live in an older flat or house.  How then can you improve the look of your bathroom radiator without detracting from its purpose?

Radiators and Underfloor Heating: A Comparison

Radiators have long been a staple of home heating.  They have come to be relied on as the unquestioned method of choice when it comes to warming a house.  However, in more recent times underfloor heating has been gaining popularity as an alternative heating method.  So how do these methods stack up against one another?  To answer that question, a direct comparison is needed. Radiators produce heat through convection.  Heated water is pushed through pipes in the floor, ceiling and walls.  The heat is transferred throughout the house.  Underfloor heating systems operate differently.  They concentrate heat in the floor itself.  Either water or electric is used to create heat that rises up from the floor to heat the room. Underfloor heating systems have being calculated to save 10 to 40 per cent in electricity costs compared to radiators.  This is due to the minimal amount of waste created by underfloor heating systems.  The heat rises up through the room, rather than circulating throughout the entire area. Radiators also waste space.  A radiator in a home must be placed in a location where it will not be blocked in any way.  Furniture and draperies can block some of the heat produced by a radiator.  This is not an issue with underfloor heating, where the heat rises directly from the floor itself. Underfloor heating systems have also been shown to be cost effective in comparison to radiators, in part because they produce so little waste and heat so efficiently.

How to Bleed a Radiator

If you can feel that your radiator is cold at the top and significantly warmer towards the bottom, it will need to be ‘bled’ to release the air that has entered.  This will happen quite naturally over time as water enters the central heating system and is very difficult to prevent.  The air that has leaked will then distribute at the highest part of the radiator, leaving that much cooler than the bottom.Firstly, it is advisable to switch off the central heating system so more air cannot escape into the radiator.  Each radiator has a valve on the end of the top, with a square shaft in the middle.  This needs to be gently extracted with a radiator key.  These can be cheaply acquired from a DIY store, although specific shaft designs can be removed with a screwdriver.The idea is to slowly release the shaft until the air begins to bleed out.  This should be evident by touching the radiator to feel a rise in temperature of the higher part.  There is no need to remove the shaft completely or take the key (or screwdriver) out of the valve.  As soon as water starts trickling out of the valve, re-tighten it and the process should be complete.  It may be an idea to have a cup or other item handy to catch any falling water in case it flows faster than expected.

Adding More Radiators to a System

At least one extra radiator can normally be added to a modern central heating system, which will be designed for extra capacity as requirements increase, although the boiler may need to be upgraded if you plan on doing a major extension.The addition of extra radiators is simple in principle, involving cutting into the existing flow and return pipes at the most convenient points and connecting tails that will link up to the new radiator.  This necessarily involves drainage of the heating system before you begin work, and this is an ideal opportunity for flushing out any sludge, descaling the boiler and incorporating a corrosion inhibitor. Like a lot of other DIY jobs, the addition of a radiator can have ramifications, or opportunities if you like.Draining and refilling the entire system can however be avoided if you are in a rush, by using a pipe-freezing kit.   This will form plugs of ice on each side of the place where the tee will be connected, effectively isolating the area from the rest of the system.  Once the tees have been connected into place, you simply hang the new radiator on the wall by its brackets and connect it to the rest of the system.The first step is to decide on the position for the radiator and fix it to the wall, then bend the pipes and run them down to the below-floor connection point.  Then connect the upper ends to the valves and tee the other ends in to the supply pipe.

Making a Statement with Bathroom Radiators

If there is one room in a house where it is likely that people will be peeling off their clothes, then that room has to be the bathroom.  And because people will be stripping off in this area, it is imperative that the space is adequately heated in order for everyone to be able to enjoy their ablutions in comfort.For this reason it is important that bathroom radiators fulfil their intended function.  However, bathroom radiators need not necessarily be all about the performance.A carefully chosen bathroom radiator can make a great functional feature and can help add to the character of this space, which is likely to be visited at one point or another by any guests to your home.  Bathroom radiators come in a wide range of shapes and styles with something available to suit all tastes and budgets.Choose from an exciting replica design that is reminiscent of the institutional installations of days gone by (also available in their original form from architectural salvage) or opt for an ultra modern sculpted standing piece that could double for a work of art.For those who wish to keep the focus on the functional, it is possible to buy designer radiators that serve a dual purpose – doubling up as towel rails for space saving and offering bathroom users a warm fabric embrace as they step from the bath or shower.Whatever bathroom radiators appeal to your own sense of style, it can be helpful to take advice from a plumber to ensure your choice will work in the available space.

DIY Tips – Removing a Radiator

There will be times when you might need to remove a radiator, for example, to paint or wallpaper the wall behind it.While removing a radiator is not particularly difficult, you do need to take care and use the correct tools, which include adjustable spanners, a radiator or bleed key, old sheets or towels, a small bowl and a bucket.These instructions apply to modern radiators and may not be suitable for older versions.•    Manually turn off the control valve on one side of the radiator.•    Remove the cap from the lockshield valve, which is situated on the opposite end of the radiator from the control valve.  Turn the exposed spindled clockwise using an adjustable spanner.•    Have a bucket or small bowl to hand and turn the radiator or bleed key so that the water can escape. •    You will need two adjustable spanners for this.  Holding the manual control valve with one spanner to keep it still, attach another spanner to the cap nut holding the manual control valve and loosen the nut.  Have a small bowl ready to catch the water•    Repeat the previous step, but this time slacken off the lockshield valve.•    If the radiator is very long you may find it useful to get someone to help you gently lift the radiator off its supports.  Excess water is likely to remain in the radiator and you should simply pour it into a bucket.•    Depending on what you intend doing next, it is advisable to cover the exposed pipe ends with tape.

Adding a bathroom radiator to suit your room

When it comes to choosing a bathroom radiator, or indeed bathroom radiators (depending on available space), it is necessary to take into account your needs.  Do you want something to keep a large space warm?  Or is it a fairly small space that can cope with just a heated towel rail?  The choice is endless and it is almost certain that you will be able to find what you need.  They come in a range of styles and finishes, from designer radiators to traditional or contemporary radiators so there is bound to be something to suit every bathroom.  The popular heated towel rail comes in various sizes, and they can be purchased to fill a large wide space or a small narrow one.  A heated towel rail is a good choice when the room is small and space is at a premium, as the room can be kept reasonably warm and towels remain dry.  Buying a bathroom radiator has never been easier.  There are many stockists now, from specialist plumbing retailers to the local DIY store.  And if you do not see anything you like in the shops, there is an even wider variety available online.  The downside to buying an item online is that you cannot see or touch the item prior to purchase, and it may take a week or two before you receive it.Another popular choice for purchasing a radiator is a salvage yard.  It is possible to find the old style hospital radiators which are becoming increasingly popular, and the originals are always better than a modern replica.  These will fit nicely into a more traditional style bathroom and give out a lot of heat. Bathroom radiators are a simple way to make a statement in the smallest room of the house.

Don’t Forget the Designer Radiator during Your Bathroom Remodel

Gone are the days of plain, white – or whatever colour you painted it – radiators. Designer radiators now come in a variety of shapes, sizes and finishes, and no bathroom remodel would be complete without one.The Blaze designer radiator features a stunning, geometrical construction and comes in an anthracite or silver finish. This designer radiator might even pass for a work of art in your bathroom, as it looks more like a contemporary door panel than a radiator. The specs are 880 BTU per hour, 258 watts. Looking to give your bathroom an Asian-inspired décor? Then the distinctive, block styling of the Keiko designer radiator will fit right in. Anthracite and silver finishes are available. The specs are 723 BTU, 212 watts. The wave-shaped Kingston Chrome is another contemporary option in designer radiators. Looking nothing like the radiators of old, this designer radiator will keep you warm while looking cool. The specs are 1,514 BTU, 443 watts. Those looking for a designer radiator to do double duty as a towel warmer will want to check out the Spirit 950. With its chromed solid brass and a white, painted-steel insert, it looks like a modern version of the old cast-iron radiators. It would work perfectly in a period bathroom. The specs are 1,801 BTU, 528 watts.Finally, the sleek look of the Pro Linea designer radiator will complement a bathroom with clean, modern stainless-steel fixtures. The specs are 3478 BTU, 1020 watts.To find a designer radiator for your bathroom remodel project simply search for “designer radiator” or “designer radiators” online. With all of these designer radiator options, radiator valves must be purchased separately.

Mere Towel Rails

Towel rails have become a popular feature of modern bathrooms. All too often individuals have decided that they do not want a traditional bathroom radiator but they do still want a cosy room and somewhere to heat their towels – hence the towel rail. Many of these towel rails are actually produced with style in mind. Take Mere products, for instance. The sleek, stylish designs will provide an elegant finish to any bathroom.The Tarporley range by Mere is available in a mammoth 12 sizes. These towel rails are constructed entirely from stainless steel which is considered a durable and environmentally friendly material. Mere towel rails are designed for optimum heat output but can also be considered a focal point in any bathroom.The Mere Savoy Straight Multirail is actually available in a choice of pergamon, white or chrome finishes in order for the product to fit right into any bathroom. The reason that this particular Mere range is so popular is due to its broad choice of sizes, ten to be exact, which means there is bound to be a radiator size in the range that will fit your needs. If you have considered purchasing a bespoke radiator for a small or awkward sized room, you may wish to check out this range beforehand as they may have something suitable.Finally, the Mere Marabu Curved Designer Rail is really a piece of furniture which is designed to be appreciated as a cohesive addition to a stylish, modern bathroom. Again, with availability in six sizes such sophistication could be at home on any bathroom wall.

How to Paint a Radiator

Radiators are a necessary evil if you want to stay warm. As such, while we are glad to have them, we generally try to minimise their appearance in our rooms. This generally means painting them.The first question to consider is what colour to use. You may choose to blend into your wall, but it is important to remember that light colours radiate more heat than dark.The second is what type of paint to use. Again, it’s important to take into consideration what conducts heat the best. Gloss finishes radiate better than matt. They also take longer to dry, so plan your project accordingly.Before you begin, you need to isolate your radiator and let it cool down. Be prepared for the radiator to be out of commission for at least 24 hours; applying paint to a warm radiator or trying to turn it back on too soon will ruin the finish.If the radiator has been painted before, use sandpaper to key the surface of the old paint. Use a good quality paint that isn’t solvent-based (using a solvent-based paint will result in yellowing – important to avoid, especially if you’re using white). Your best option is to use a paint that is recommended for radiators.Using a small (5 cm) paintbrush, apply the paint, working from top to bottom. Do not paint the valves, as this will make them harder to open them. Leave the paint to dry for at least 24 hours before turning your radiator back on.

Save Energy and Money with Your Existing Heating System

If your radiators don’t already have TRVs (Thermostat Radiator Valves) they are worth adding to your heating system as they could potentially save energy and money. Giving you control over each room’s temperature and also having frost guard for unused / spare rooms. If you want to add TRVs to all the radiators in your home you will have to check that your system has an ABV (Automatic Bypass (pressure balancing)) Valve fitted. This will be located near to the central heating pump between the flow and return pipe. If you don’t have an ABV fitted then a couple of TRV say in a small cloak room or toilet should be fine, but don’t exceed 50% of the system in each zone (upstairs & downstairs). A major don’t is, don’t add a TRV in the same room as the main house thermostat.

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