Where Is the Best Place to Position a Radiator?

Where Is the Best Place to Position a Radiator?
15 November 2023 126 view(s) 4 min read
Where Is the Best Place to Position a Radiator?

For even heating and the right comfort levels, most radiators are best placed in the coldest part of the room, traditionally found under a window or against an outside wall, where the cold air drops to the floor helping create convection inside the room i.e., pushing the warm air from the radiator into the room. 

However, with the increased use of double glazing and improvements in insulation the level of draughts has dropped so (depending on the level of your insulation) you can position them wherever suits your room design. With so many different-sized radiators now available, there are likely to be several possible places where you could put your radiators. We recommend however that nothing is positioned above the radiator and that 100mm below should be left clear so heat from the radiator can be effectively distributed. A windowsill or shelf the same depth as the radiator can reduce outputs by 4% and enclosing a radiator can reduce outputs by 15%.

The Ideal Temperature for Your Rooms

Valve manufacturers and the standards used for testing radiator outputs work on the assumption that living rooms are comfortable at 20 degrees, bedrooms at 18 degrees on the basis that a cooler environment makes it easier to sleep, and Bathrooms at 22 degrees. However, we can safely assume that everyone has a different sense of what is warm or cold so setting your valves or SMART controls to suit you. 

How Many Radiators Do I Need?

Large spaces are more effectively heated with 2 or more, smaller radiators rather than one large one. A rule of thumb often used in the trade is to have one radiator every four metres (about 15 feet) or so in the room. In addition, finding room for a large radiator might prove harder than two smaller sizes. You can also make multiple radiators a feature in the room, tall radiators look good as columns sat on either side of doors or windows. 

Why Are Radiators Typically Put Underneath Windows? / Is It Wrong to Place Them Under a Window?

No, this is still a perfectly suitable location, for even heating and the right comfort levels, most radiators are best placed in the coldest part of the room: traditionally this would be under a window or against an outside wall, where the cold air drops to the floor helping create convection inside the room i.e. pushing the hot air from the radiator into the room. 

You should however consider how any sofas or curtains may obstruct the radiator, full length curtains can, for example, reduce the distribution of heat.

However, with the increased use of double glazing and improvements in insulation the level of draughts has dropped so (depending on the level of your insulation) you can position them wherever suits your room design. With so many different-sized radiators now available, there are likely to be several possible places where you could put your radiators. We recommend however that nothing is positioned above the radiator and that 100mm below should be left clear so heat from the radiator can be effectively distributed. A windowsill or shelf the same depth as the radiator can reduce outputs by 4% and enclosing a radiator can reduce outputs by 15%.

Can a Radiator Be Too Big for a Room?

When sizing a radiator for a room it might be sensible to build in a little extra output for those extra cold snaps. However, if the radiator is excessively oversized it can be inefficient and cost more to run. You may be heating water that you don’t need to, adding extra cost and strain on your heating system.

Is It Cheaper to Turn off Radiators in Rooms That Are Not Used?

If you know that certain rooms are not going to be used for some time it is sensible to turn the valves in those rooms down. This will prevent the system from heating water for no reason and that will save money and reduce pressure on the boiler. In winter it is probably best not to turn them completely off, this will allow some warm water to flow to prevent potential burst pipes and leaks if you have a severe frost. Most Thermostatic valves have a frost setting as their lowest temperature for this reason.

What Should You Not Put Near a Radiator?

We recommend that 100mm above and below should be left clear so heat from the radiator can be effectively distributed. A windowsill or shelf the same depth as the radiator can reduce outputs by 4% and enclosing a radiator can reduce outputs by 15%. Sofas or full-length curtains for example may obstruct the radiator, thus reducing the distribution of heat.

In terms of heat, it is probably not a good idea to have house plants too close to the radiator, the direct dry heat can be detrimental to many plants. It will also dry the soil out quicker, potentially damaging for plants. It is also not good to regularly put wet items on the rads to dry. Over time the damp can cause damage to the paint and even rust in some cases. 

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