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The heat is on: a buyer’s guide to radiators

So the first crisp breeze of autumn has sliced its way through the air and thoughts are turning to warm toasty evenings, cashmere socks and bowls of hot soup. Alternatively, at least putt the heating onwith Old fashioned radiators.

For most of us, that means firing up a series of ugly white steel boxes that we try to disguise behind covers, curtains and cupboards. However, those days are over. Designers have finally turned their attention to the humble radiator and turned it into a piece of modern art.

How big should my radiator be?

This is the first crucial step, and frankly the easiest way is to call your plumber and ask him to do it before you buy anything. If you are determined to be self-sufficient,then you can either do it in watts or British Thermal Units. Work out the volume of the room in cubicmeters (length x height x width) then for sitting rooms multiply by 50, bedrooms 40, halls, stairs, and kitchens 30 and bathrooms by 90. Add 15 per cent for North facing rooms and 20 for French windows or deduct 10 per cent for double glazing.

What is the greenest heating choice?

For those of us who cannot afford to replace our central heating with ground source heat pumps, which is the newest and best way to heat our homes, one simpler option is to swap stainless steel radiators for recycled aluminum. They use a very low water content which means they can heat up quickly and will reduce your energy use.

Then fit thermostatic radiator valves. TRVs automatically control the heat output so that the room never gets too hot. If the sun is streaming through the window, they will regulate the temperature accordingly.

What are radiators made from?

There is a huge variety of materials available.Old fashioned radiators are one of the biggest suppliers of specialist contemporary and traditional radiators in the UK, gives her verdict.

Aluminum- Lightweight, easy to install and has terrific heat output for the size.

Cast Iron- Everybody wants the original cast iron Victorian radiators, but if you do find the perfect reclaimed one, you will have to find someone to restore it.

Stainless Steel- Good for bending into sexy shapes, this is often the contemporary style of choice.

Stone- Natural materials are coming through now.

Glass- Edd Payton from The Glass Radiator Company says theglass is a dream product for radiators.

 Should I buy electric radiators?

In general, you would use these if you have built an extension and don’t want to go through the upheaval of adding to your existing central heating system; for example in the conservatory. Alternatively, if you needed extra heat in one particular room for whatever reason – an elderly parent coming to stay, or if you were in a listed building and weren’t allowed to install it.

Many radiators come in both freestanding electric and versions that you can add to your system though so do check.

Do heated towel rails work?Yes, if you buy the right one. You do need to consider if it is the sole source of heat for the room because if that is the case and you cover it in towels, then there won’t be much space left for heating the room. However, if you are going to have bathroom towel radiators as well, then the dedicated rails are perfect for warming the towels. Check more this site: www.bmukmirrors.com.

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