Radiators: Types and common issues

Hot water and Steam Radiators

The term “radiators” refers a range of devices that work by having fluid circulate through exposed pipes.

Radiators in your home, though, operate by transferring heat from the device into your house.

Since radiators work via convection, it would seem logical for them to be called convectors instead, as no radiation is occurring in the heat transfer. However, this could be due to the device emitting heat, therefore it radiates the room.

Hot-water radiators function by pumping hot water into the device, which then heats the room via convection, eliminating the cold. When hot water goes into the radiator, it moves to the top of the device (since heat rises). Once the heat has convected out of the water it becomes cooler, and then sinks to the bottom of the device and escapes through a pipe. 

hot water radiators

A steam based radiator has the advantage of working without any pump, as it can flow with its own pressure. Because of this, steam radiators were adopted before electric motors and pumps were available. Since such high temperatures are required for the steam radiators to work, they are much less efficient than a hot-water radiator, and waste a large amount of heat. Additionally, steam radiators are often noisier.

Steam Based Radiators

Issues with your radiators or central heating?

If you think your radiators are failing to provide heat, or have noticed you heating system has become less efficient, it may be in need of a powerflush.

Over a prolonged period of time, a number of issues can occur that can clog up your heating system, such as rust and limescale. A powerflush is an extensive clean of your heating system, flushing away this unwanted residue and allowing your central heating system to operate to its usual standard (without these substances polluting the devices).

This may not be the case, though, so it’s best to get in contact. At Alford Plumbing and Heating, we are highly experienced in energy efficiency and helping households becoming more economical.

Our engineers’ expertise can help you reduce heating bills and your carbon footprint. Please get in contact for more information.