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Tips on choosing the right heater to keep your home warm
Summer is over and the days are getting shorter and cooler. A chill is in the air and it’s time to snuggle up under a blanket on the sofa and enjoy family time at home, with all those special times that winter brings. One of the best options to ensure a pleasant and warm temperature at home are radiators. Radiators are heaters that are fixed to walls and work on electricity. One of their main features is that their heating system doesn’t generate any waste or emissions, and they also maintain the heat for much longer than conventional electrical heaters.
Here are few key points to help you understand the essential features of radiators.
How do radiators work?
Radiators are perfect for heating up a specific area in our homes. They work on what is known as thermal inertia, which means that they can maintain heat for much longer than other conventional heater systems.
How does a radiator heat up a bedroom?
The heating process with a radiator has three phases:
- Conduction: This works by means of a material that transfers heat energy directly through the resistor, with the two generating warmth when in contact.
- Convection: This directly heats up the air in a room. First, the conduction implies the resistor to transfer heat into the matter (such as metal), and then the metal transmits the heat into the air.
- Radiation: Known as radiant heat, the heat is emitted by warming the objects in close proximity.
What sort of radiators are there?
There are three types: ceramic stone, fluid filled and dry.
They differ when it comes to how fast each type is in reaching maximum temperature and for how long they can retain this accumulated heat.
- Ceramic stone: They are called this because of the ceramic element within them that accumulates heat. They take the longest to reach maximum temperature, but then they maintain the heat for longer. They are recommended for use over 8 hours per day or longer.
- Fluid filled: These are filled with a fluid that circulates through an emitter and heats up in a uniform way. The heat is transmitted by radiation, which is why they heat up faster than ceramic, but they don’t retain the heat for as long. They are recommended for use over 5 to 6 hours per day.
- Dry: These have an aluminium resistor which heats up fast, but they retain the heat for the least time. They are ideal for bedrooms or small spaces that need heating up quickly (bathroom, kitchen etc) for a short period. Of the three options, these are cheaper to buy, but they consume more energy if used for several hours. They are recommended for use over 2 to 4 hours per day.
What advantages do radiators have over conventional electrical heaters?
- Easy installation
- They are independent heat emitters to heat up the areas where you need the warmth
- They have a programmer so that you can manage efficiency and consumption better
- It’s a safe system
- Long guarantees
- Maximum respect for environment
- Availability of different models, designs and colours
What disadvantages to radiators have?
- Electricity is getting more expensive all the time
- You need a high-power input if you use a lot of the heaters
- They are not suitable for large areas
What radiator do I need for my home?
Before buying a radiator, you need to consider various factors:
- Surface area: if you want to install a radiator in your bedroom, calculate that you will need between 80 and 100 watts per m2 for heating. So, if your bedroom measures 12 m2, you will need a 1200-watt heater. To calculate this power, you should multiply the m2 of the room by the height and corresponding index of the climate zone where your home is; this is based on a warm area being 25 ºC, a cold one being 35 ºC and a very cold one being 45 Cº. This will give you the result for the minimum watts you need to heat a room.
- Insulation: check the insulation in walls, windows and your roof. You may need more energy to heat an area if the insulation is lacking, meaning more expense.
- Size: the size of a radiator is also important. You need to leave a space of between 10 and 15 centimetres between the wall and the emitter to ensure adequate heating.
- Programming: it’s definitely a bonus if you can get a heater with a programmer, as you can then programme switching it on and off to save on power.
- Period of use: If you’re going to switch it on sporadically and/or for a short period (1 hour per day): dry heater. If you’re going to use it for between 5 and 8 hours during the day: fluid filled heater. For over 8 hours per day, we recommend a ceramic stone heater.
What is cheaper, a radiator or a conventional heating system?
We should acknowledge that it is an economical alternative due to its easy installation, but it is not effective or the best system if you live in a large space with intense cold. It’s recommended for houses with moderate heating requirements, or for those that need a heating boost when there is already a centralised system in place, such as a boiler or a pellet stove. In comparison, the cost of generating 1 kw/h of heat with a radiator against a pellet or wood stove is the following:
- Radiator: € 0,19 kw/h
- Pellet stove: €0,06 kw/h
- Wood stove: €0,03 kw/h.
You should remember that, although some heaters take longer to warm up, what matters is the end heat result. A radiator, for example, can heat up much quicker, but then that heat is not maintained and the running cost is higher.
In this sense, when it comes to opting for radiators rather than conventional heating, it’s important to consider the electric power tariff you have; if you have the night tariff, whereby you pay less at night, you can have them on at night when it’s cheaper and switch them off in the day.
We’ve shown you a heating system that is perfect for warming up medium-sized areas and that retains the heat for some time. Now do you know which heater is right for your home? Visit our store or contact us directly so that we personally attend to your requirement. Follow all our latest news on our Instagram and Facebook pages, and find out more about our products and services on our blog.