Radiators have been around for a long time and are a staple of many heating systems, especially in older homes. They often provide heat throughout the winter at a lower energy cost than some other heating options, they allow heat to passively radiate into the surrounding air, however, older radiator systems can require a lot of maintenance to keep in service year after year and may not be the best at providing enough heat in your home.
Homeowners will consider getting rid of radiator systems even if they’re still in mostly good shape but do not seem to be working properly. If you’ve got one of these heating systems in your home, you might even have considered it yourself.
While radiator systems aren’t as common as they used to be, there are definite advantages to using them in place of forced air or other heating options. With that said, there are some downsides to radiator heating as well.
Pros and Cons of Radiator Heat
Heat from a radiator is often more humid and comfortable because water isn’t removed from the air by blowing it over a heat source
Better control in each room than other heating options
Very little noise
The modularity of radiator systems makes it easy to replace individual radiators or other components
Radiators require a lot of room, both for the radiator itself and space around it for safety purposes
Cleaning radiators and around its elements can be difficult
Poor maintenance can result in steep drops in heating efficiency
Radiators are much slower to react to changes in the thermostat
Evaluating Your Radiator
There are a few things that you should look at when trying to evaluate how well your radiator system functions and whether it needs to be replaced as a result.
Give your radiator a visual inspection, look for damage, corrosion, or other issues
Remove radiator covers to see it more clearly
Make note if anything seems out of the ordinary
Check for small cracks, these can cause large problems over time
Shut your radiator off and then back on when the temperature is cool.
Time the system to see how long it takes to get back to the temperature
Check for louder sounds coming from the radiator
Keep track of the maintenance that has been performed on the radiator
If you find yourself performing frequent maintenance on the system it may be time to get a replacement.
When replacing your radiator, you may want to go with an updated radiator system. Regardless of what you choose, just know it is a big job to perform. If you need help with your radiator replacement you should search for HVAC and heating pros in your area who can get your radiator replacement installed the right way.