‘Best’ methods to ‘increase’ radiator efficiency – save money on bills

Clean It, Fix It: Maxine cleans a radiator

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Radiators have a crucial job to do throughout autumn and winter months – to heat the home effectively. However, if they are not working up to scratch, this could lead to higher energy bills. To reduce the risk of having to call out an expensive engineer, when the cost of everyday essentials are on the rise, energy experts have shared their top tips for improving radiators.

Invest in radiator reflectors

Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, Matthew Jenkins at Myjobquote.co.uk advised investing in radiator reflectors. He said: “Radiator reflectors are relatively cheap and easy to install. 

“They are fitted behind the radiator and help to ensure that heat isn’t wasted by passing through the wall behind the radiator. Instead, these handy devices ensure that as much heat as possible is reflected back into the room.”

George Bishop, Gas and Renewable Energy Trainer at HybridTec, also agreed with this tip. He told Express.co.uk: “If a radiator is on an outside wall, the best way to make it more efficient is to put a layer of tin foil behind the radiator – the biggest heat loss is through the wall. 

“This can be up to 30 percent, and so using ordinary kitchen tin foil can improve the efficiency of the radiator by 10 percent, while the room will heat up 10 percent more quickly.”

Place a shelf above the radiator

Fitting a self above a radiator will not only add to the aesthetic of a room, but it will make sure the heat is confined.

Matthew said: “A shelf above the radiator can help to reflect the heat back out into the room. It can also prevent heat from rising and becoming lost up in the ceiling. 

“Instead, the warm air will be pushed out into the room. Shelves above the radiator are especially useful when combined with reflectors.”

This technique is particularly useful if you have any radiators that are positioned directly below a window.

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Bleed radiators

Matthew said: “One of the best ways to improve the efficiency of your radiators is to bleed them. This process involves opening the bleed valves and releasing any trapped air in your radiator. 

“This will help to get rid of any cold spots on the radiators and ensure that the system can run to its full potential, increasing the efficiency of your heating system.”

Jordan Chance at PlumbNation also advised bleeding radiators so that households can make the most out of their appliance. He said: “Bleeding your radiator is essential in preventing the efficiency of your radiator from decreasing, as a result of air entering your heating system. 

“The quickest way to check if air has entered your heating system is to turn your central heating on and feel your radiator. If the radiator is warm at the bottom but cold at the top this is generally a sign that air is present.”

Clean radiators regularly

As with all other appliances, radiators should also be cleaned regularly. Matthew said: “You must ensure that the airways between the fins are clear. 

“The space between the fins attracts light dirt and dust which can block the airways and reduce the circulation of warm air. Cleaning the entire radiator, including the space between the fins, can help to improve the circulation, allowing your radiator to radiate more heat.”

Jordan urged homeowners to add cleaning radiators to their weekly cleaning routine. He said: “If your radiators aren’t in your weekly cleaning routine, then it’s time to add them. A buildup of dust can affect your health, allergies and your heating bill. Layers of dust in your radiator can prevent heat from escaping effectively, meaning your radiators will have to work harder to warm your room.”

To clean radiators George said: “If you have double panel radiators, use a long thin brush to clean in the gap – particularly underneath – where dust may have accumulated between the two panels. Dust can stop the air flow and ensuring this is clear can improve efficiency by up to a further 10 percent.”

Move furniture away from radiators

It may sound simple but rearranging the furniture in homes will help make big savings on your annual energy bills. 

George advised: “If you have furniture, especially a couch, in front of your radiator then make sure there is at least a 50mm gap between the radiator and the back of the settee. 

“This will improve the efficiency in the room by up to 20 percent as it will allow for convection currents to circulate the heat more effectively.”

Moving everything into the middle of the room and finding new homes for things can even lead to new ways of using the space and furniture you have. 

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