A Buyers Guide to Choosing the Perfect Radiator

Posted on: July 19, 2019

When buying new radiators there are many things to consider before making your purchase. The type of panels you should choose, the material they’re made from, the size and orientation of the panels and the desired heat output all need to be given a good deal of thought.

Calculating the Required Heat Output

Before choosing your radiators you will first need to find the required heat output for each room. This is measured in British Thermal Units (BTUs). To calculate this figure simply measure the cubic feet of the room (height x width x length) then multiply the result by five for a living room or dining room, four for a bedroom and three for a kitchen. Finally, if a room has a north-facing external wall add 15% to the figure and 20% if the room has sliding patio doors or French windows. It’s also a good idea to measure the space from the control valve and the lockshield valve on your old radiator to avoid an unnecessary increase in installation costs.

Single, Double and Convector Radiators

There are three types of radiators available. The most basic are single panel radiators, which consist of one slim panel that sits close to the wall and they give the lowest heat output. Double panel radiators are made from two panels placed side-by-side. They give out greater heat than single panel radiators and sit further out from the wall. Convector radiators have convector fins fitted between two panels or sometimes behind a single panel to produce a greater heat output.

Horizontal or Vertical Radiators

The most common radiators are horizontal, but where wall space is limited, such as in a kitchen, vertical radiators may be an option worth considering. They give out the same heat as the more conventional horizontal radiators, but are more expensive. Vertical radiators are often used as heated towel rails in bathrooms and usually have separate electric and gas fittings so that you can warm your towels even when the central heating is switched off.


The best and most expensive radiators are made from aluminium, which conducts heat exceptionally well, heats up fast and doesn’t corrode. Stainless steel is a good alternative. Like aluminium, it is resistant to corrosion, but doesn’t conduct heat as well. The cheapest radiators are made from mild steel, which conducts heat less efficiently and corrodes.


If the pipe centres on your new radiator are the same as on your old one then fitting it into place will be a fairly straightforward task. But if this isn’t the case then modification to the pipework will need to be carried out by a qualified plumber. Centraheat Heating & Plumbing Ltd have an experienced team of fully-qualified, dedicated heating engineers and plumbers operating in Swindon and are the perfect choice if you’re unsure about installing your new radiators yourself.