Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Cracking radiators

Is Jack Frost nipping at your…radiators?

The recent cold snap and record-breaking low temperatures have led the British public to encounter a rarely seen phenomenon: cracking radiators! This is despite the radiators being inside a property and on a functioning central heating system.

But radiators are known as strong and durable pieces of engineering, so how can a radiator crack?

When water freezes: its volume expands by around 10%. A radiator full of water that is in a particularly cold room such as a conservatory, can freeze and the expansion of the freezing water can cause cracks; usually at weld points and seams on the radiator.

Radiator experts, Feature Radiators, recommend some options to prevent radiators freezing and the consequential damage.

Firstly, install a “frost stat”. This is a device that will override your regular central heating timer and thermostat by automatically switching on your central heating when it senses the temperature drop below a pre-determined amount.

Secondly, invest in some thermostatic valves as these have a “frost protection” setting. This means that when the thermostat on the valves measures the room temperature as approaching 0°C, the valve opens a little, allowing water into the radiator to ensure that it doesn’t freeze. However, this will only work when the central heating is “ON” as thermostatic valves are not able to turn the boiler on.

The frost protection setting on thermostatic valves is great for protecting your radiators and pipes during the day when your central heating system is switched on and working. However, a frost stat will ensure that you protect your radiators and pipes when your central heating system is switched off overnight or when you’re away during the winter and it is this period when most frost damage occurs.

Feature Radiators also recommends you consider frost damage when purchasing reclaimed cast iron radiators. These are often purchased from salvage yards and can be stored outdoors leading to cracking. Pressure testing of reclaimed radiators is essential to ensure that radiators are functioning correctly and that they are free from leaks.

For more information on radiators, contact specialists Feature Radiators on 01274 567789 or visit their website

Helena Gerwitz, EzineArticles Basic PLUS Author

Friday, 10 December 2010

Radiator valves - Thermostatic or manual?

What are thermostatic valves and what are manual valves and which ones do I need for my radiator?

Feature Radiators, a radiator expert, has provided below some helpful advice for those choosing valves for radiators. There are 2 types of valves available, thermostatic and manual, and this overview of both will enable you to make an informed decision when buying radiator valves.

Thermostatic Radiator Valves (TRVs) come with an in-built temperature sensor. The thermostatic valve will maintain the room at the temperature you have selected, by automatically adjusting the heat output from the radiator.

This means that you can make the most of any “free” heat the room receives, such as that from the sun (solar heat gain) or from electrical appliances. As the valve is controlled automatically, it turns itself up and down, ensuring the radiators perform as efficiently as possible and are environmentally friendly as they prevent energy being wasted by overheating a room.

Please be aware that building regulations require TRVs to be used for all new builds except:

- For one pair of valves on a system that can and should be manual, so they can be left fully open at all times. This is needed to allow the system to function properly. Usually such manual valves will be put on the radiator/towel rail in a bathroom or entranceway, as more constant heating is needed in these areas;

- In rooms where there is a room thermostat that controls the boiler.

Although not essential, we recommend TRVs for larger radiators (above 1800 watts, or where the radiator is oversized for the room) and for use in kitchens where temperatures can fluctuate dramatically (due to additional heat from ovens, fridges and other appliances).

Manual valves simply act like taps as they directly control the flow of water into the radiator and consequently how hot the radiator gets. Therefore the amount of heat given out will be constant, regardless of the surrounding room temperature.

Manual valves allow you to turn the heat up or down, but you will need to physically go to the valve to make the adjustment. Manual valves have no labelled settings – simply turn the valve head until the radiator is giving the amount of heat desired. The smallest most discreet valves available are manual valves.

Whether you choose thermostatic or manual valves is up to you (apart from cases where building regulations apply). As a general rule, thermostatic valves tend to be larger than manual valves (as they need to accommodate the thermostatic mechanism) but are more energy efficient. Manual valves on the other hand, tend to be smaller and more discreet, so are often chosen for their neat minimal look.

For more information on valves, or radiators, contact Feature Radiators on 01274 567789 or visit their website

Helena Gerwitz, EzineArticles Basic PLUS Author

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Radiators for Hot water systems

I have a secondary return domestic hot water (DHW) system, what types of radiators are suitable?

For a secondary hot water system, it is essential that you install radiators and towel rails that are made of “inert” metals. These are metals that are non-reactive and do not corrode when in contact with water such as stainless steel, brass or copper.

In a secondary hot water circuit, the water that runs through the radiators is the same water that comes out of your taps. So the water running through the system needs to be clean and free from chemicals. Accordingly, radiators made of mild steel, aluminium and cast iron, which need to be used in conjunction with corrosion inhibitor, are not suitable.

You also need to consider your radiator valve choice, again ensuring that these are made of inert metals.

Despite options being more limited, there is still a great range of suitable radiators, towel rails and valves for secondary hot water systems that perform well and look fantastic.

For instance, Feature Radiators offers a wide range of contemporary stainless steel radiators in both brushed and polished finishes in a variety of designs, such as the Zermatt and Millennium. Their towel radiator collection includes options made of stainless steel such as the Alpine range of ladder style rails and also traditional options with ball-joints such as the Coniston and Deco, which are made of brass and coated in a superb range of finishes including chrome, gold, antique brass, antique copper and pewter.

For more information on radiators, towel rails and valves that are suitable for use on secondary hot water systems, then contact Feature Radiators at or on 01274 567789.

Helena Gerwitz, EzineArticles Basic PLUS Author