Do Radiator Cabinets affect Heating Economy?

clean radiator cabinet

It’s a question we are often asked. People like the idea of radiator cabinets, but are worried that they might impact their heating efficiency. If this is you, then we have good news, because if your radiator cabinets are properly designed, they should not interfere with heating your room at all.

How radiators work

There are three main types of heating – radiation, convection and conduction – and they each affect us in different ways.

Radiant Heat

Radiant heat is the heat we feel from the sun, or from standing next to a fire. Radiant heat doesn’t directly heat the air, but instead travels in straight lines of energy.  Radiant heat from a covered radiator will find it difficult to get past the cabinet. Meaning that the effects won’t be felt by people in the room.

Convected Heat

Convection heating happens when air is heated and begins to expand. This air rises and so cooler air replaces it. As the warmer air rises, it diffuses its heat and warms the air that isn’t as close to the source of heat. The warmer your radiator or heat source is, the further away the convection current will carry the heat. On the surface, it would seem that  a radiator cover is going to have a negative effect on the temperature of a room. However, this isn’t necessarily the case.

Conducted Heat

The slowest method of transmitting heat, conduction is heat travelling through solid objects.

According to most experts, the optimum mixture of heating types needed to leave us feeling all nice, warm and happy is around 20% radiant heat and 80% convection.

Radiators don’t radiate much

Most radiators, despite being called radiators, don’t use direct radiant heat to heat a room, but do so through natural convection. The resulting circulation of heat around the room keeps the temperature at a constant level and comfortable to anyone in the room.

Covering a radiator badly can have the effect of halt this flow of cold and warm air, and affect how free the air is to circulate. But if the correct type of radiator cabinet is used, a cover doesn’t necessarily mean that the a radiator’s efficiency is reduced. If there is sufficient space around the radiator, and the cabinet is designed properly, convection can still occur, heating the room adequately

Do Radiator cabinets affect your efficiency?

The simple answer is that if your radiator cabinets are properly designed, they should not interfere with the heat transfer from the radiator to your room. And some studies suggest that the right radiator cover grilles can increase the efficiency of your home radiators by as much as 20%, helping to lower energy bills and reduce fuel consumption. According to a few different sources, if a cabinet is designed correctly, the cover can actually add around 5-10 degrees more heat to your output.

On the other hand, a poorly designed or DIY radiator cabinet, relying only on the perforations in a sheet of decorative MDF or hardboard, might not work so well.

To make sure you get the best results, it’s best to go for the best. Which is why we create radiator cabinets uniquely for each situation our clients need.

With the right radiator cover, you don’t’ have to lose any heating efficiency at all and your radiator can be as warm and economical as it ever was.

Talk to us at Kingston Cabinets about how we can improve your heating efficiency with our bespoke made to measure radiator cabinets.