Friday, 31 July 2015

Why do chrome radiators have a lower heat output?

Radiators and heated towel rails are available in an increasing range of designs and finishes but radiator specialists are regularly asked the question: “Why do chrome radiators have a lower heat output than painted radiators?”
Radiators are now available in a huge range of models including contemporary, designer and traditional styles with each coming in its own range of finishes, from the whitest whites to outrageous oranges and gleaming chrome.   Customers demand not just comfort but a stylish product to add to their interior décor, therefore heat output as well as design and finish are all critical when it comes to choosing a radiator. 
However, when it comes to heat outputs, customers can find it all rather confusing.  One reason is that the heat output of a radiator can vary depending on purely the finish. 
For example, Feature Radiators’ D-Line contemporary style radiator, comes in white, black or chrome.  You would think that in the same size, they would all give the same heat output, but this is not the case.  Instead the white and black models give out 20% more heat output than the chrome version.  Chrome radiators will always give out less heat (up to 30% less) than a painted equivalent. 
So why do chrome radiators give out less heat than painted radiators?
There are 3 key reasons why chrome radiators are not able to radiate as much heat out:
  1. Firstly, this is down to the scientific phenomenon known as “surface emissivity”. Chrome has a low emissivity value; this means that chrome tends to trap heat and it is difficult for it to emit or radiate heat.  This explains why the seatbelt buckle in your car gets so hot on a sunny day.  Although this may not make them ideal for “radiators”, chrome does provide an excellent material for drying towels on. 
  2. Chrome is coating applied on top of another metal, usually mild steel or brass.  This means that the heat has to penetrate through 2 layers of metal; and
  3. Chrome is as shiny on the inside as it is on the outside meaning it reflects heat back in on itself reducing the amount it can radiate; it has an effect similar to the space blankets you see wrapped around long distance athletes after a race.
10 years ago, a chromium or chrome finish was the latest thing when it came to radiators, but increasingly there is a movement away from chrome because of the lesser heat outputs.  Now customers often opt for a polished stainless steel finish instead as this alternative option is very similar in appearance to chrome but, as it is bare metal rather than a coating, it performs better as a “radiator”. 
There is also some difference in emissivity between not just finishes but also even colours.  However the industry has agreed that this difference is negligible in practice and advertising heat outputs for every shade would overcomplicate the decision for the consumer.   Also manufacturers would require highly accurate, sophisticated and, consequently, expensive measuring apparatus to quantify the difference adding unnecessary costs onto the price of the radiators.  Therefore radiators finished in white and other “painted” or powder coated finishes are always advertised as the same. 
Bear in mind that retailers also may advertise the same products in the same finish with different heat outputs due to the variation in measuring standards used in Britain versus Europe.  For more information on variations in heat outputs see our article “Different companies sometimes state different heat outputs for the same radiators, why?”
For expert advice on choosing a radiator with the appropriate heat output for your space then contact a radiator specialist such as Feature Radiators.  For face-to-face advice and to see over 250 display models then visit their showroom at The Old Post Office, 134-140 Main Street, Bingley, West Yorkshire. BD16 2HL or call them on 01274 567789 or browse their products at www.featureradiators.co.uk.

Friday, 24 July 2015

Different companies sometimes state different heat outputs for the same radiators, why?

Calculating your heat output requirement from a radiator and finding the appropriate size of radiator can be confusing. 
For example:
You provide your room measurements and your radiator specialist, Joe Bloggs Radiators, recommends that you need 1200 Watts heat output from your radiator.  Consequently they recommend a radiator that meets your requirements; X radiator in white, 600mm high x 1000mm wide, which gives out 1264 Watts. 
However, your plumber tells you that the same radiator, X radiator in white, 600mm high x 1000mm wide but from his supplier, ACME Radiators, only gives out 1000 Watts.  How can this be? 
The answer is probably that Joe Bloggs Radiators are advertising their heat outputs at the British standard whereas ACME Radiators are advertising their heat outputs using the newer European standard. 
To explain, heat outputs can be measured in 2 different ways; the way they are measured is done against the “delta T” or “Δt” of the system. 
In the UK, the standard for calculating heat outputs is illustrated by the following example:
  • Flow water temperature (on entering the radiator) – assumed to be at 90˚C
  • Return water temperature (on exiting the radiator) – assumed to be at 70˚C
  • This means the average water temperature running through the system is assumed to be   80 ˚C
  • From this figure, you minus the average room temperature – assumed to be 20 ˚C
  • This equates to the Δt60 ˚C standard.
In Europe, the standard for calculating heat outputs is illustrated by the following example:
  • Flow water temperature (on entering the radiator) – assumed to be at 75˚C
  • Return water temperature (on exiting the radiator) – assumed to be at 65˚C
  • This means the average water temperature running through the system is assumed to be   70 ˚C
  • From this figure, you minus the average room temperature – assumed to be 20 ˚C
  • This equates to the Δt50 ˚C standard.
To be clear, there is no difference in the radiator, it is just a different way of recording the performance and heat output.  Like metric versus imperial; the numbers may be different, but they mean the same thing. 
The reason that retailers still often use the original British Δt60 ˚C is because most domestic plumbers and heating engineers still calculate heat requirements to this standard.  Although most manufacturers now using the European standard of Δt50 ˚C.
The important thing is to compare like with like.  Check whether your heat output requirement has been calculated at the Δt60 ˚C or Δt50 ˚C standard then match the radiator output using the same standard.
It is easy to convert a Δt50 ˚C heat output to a Δt60 ˚C heat output and vice versa:
  • To convert Δt50 ˚C to Δt60 ˚C, multiply Δt50 ˚C heat output by 1.264.
  • To convert Δt60 ˚C to Δt50 ˚C, divide Δt60 ˚C heat output by 1.264.
So in conclusion, when buying a radiator, make sure you are comparing like with like; check the testing standards used and convert the figures as necessary or, to save yourself time and hassle, contact a reputable radiator expert who can do all this for you.
For more information on radiator heat outputs and expert advice on choosing a radiator with the appropriate heat output for your space then contact a radiator specialist such as Feature Radiators.  For face-to-face advice and to see over 250 display models then visit their showroom at The Old Post Office, 134-140 Main Street, Bingley, West Yorkshire, BD16 2HL, call them on 01274 567789 or browse their products at www.featureradiators.co.uk.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Celebrate independent merchants on 4th July

Saturday is the 4th July and, in the UK, it's “Independents Day” (rather than Independence Day), a day to celebrate our nation’s independent merchants and the unique products and services they offer. So remember on Saturday, if you have shopping to do, take the time to consider buying from an independent and do your bit to mark the day.




In the USA, the Fourth of July is Independence Day, however
in Great Britain, the Fourth of July is “Independents Day”, a day to celebrate our
nation’s independent merchants and the unique products and services they offer.






When
it comes to finding products for the home, shoppers are increasingly opting for
independent merchants over the larger chain stores known for generic products
and lack of personal service.
   




The benefits of buying from an independent merchant are
numerous and include:




  1. Genuine
    specialists of particular products, with extensive product knowledge and
    expertise, helping you make the right choice for your particular situation
    and needs;
  2. Such
    specialist independents, have the ability to offer bespoke and/or unique
    products that you won’t see anywhere else in the country;
  3. The
    encouragement of diversity on our high streets;
  4. No
    annoying automated phone service or call centres; phones are answered by
    human beings and you can usually speak to the same person saving you time;
  5. No
    intermediaries; meaning you can speak directly to the relevant person,
    saving time and potential confusion;
  6. No
    rigid rules and standardised systems; independents can often tailor their
    service to suit your individual needs.


When
it comes to specialised niche products, such as larger interior products for
the home, the relevant showroom will often be a destination in its own
right.
  Put simply, it’s worth travelling
to see a comprehensive range of a particular type of product “in the flesh” and
under one roof, particularly if there is also expert advice on offer.
  The savings of time and cost can be
phenomenal, and the end products are more likely to right for your particular
needs and design ideals. Such specialist showrooms will rarely be located in
the city centre because they don’t need to be.
 
Such specialist independents don’t generally rely on passing trade, and
need relatively substantial square footage to display their product range. 
 






A perfect example of the award winning business,
Feature Radiators, the UK’s leading radiator retailer and an independent
merchant that operates successfully from the small West Yorkshire town of
Bingley.
 




Based in the Victorian setting of Bingley’s
old post sorting office, Feature Radiators is a one-stop port of call for
anyone wanting stylish, high performance heating at competitive prices.
  This award winning company offers a
selection of the best contemporary, designertraditional cast iron and electric radiators and heated towel rails on the market in terms of quality, design and value for money.  They have approximately 250 styles on display
in their
showroom from where they offer expert advice, unrivalled customer service and
nationwide delivery.
 




So on
the 4
th July, if you have shopping to do, whether it be a bottle of
wine, a picture frame or a household radiator, take the time to consider buying
from an independent and do your bit to mark the day.




For more
information on Feature Radiators specifically
, then visit their showroom
at The Old Post Office, 134-140 Main Street, Bingley, BD16 2HL, call their
expert team on 01274 567789 or browse their website
http://www.featureradiators.co.uk




 



Friday, 20 March 2015

Aluminium radiators


As the UK’s leading radiator specialist offering an array of aluminium radiators, Feature Radiators’ experts are often asked the following questions:


  • What are the benefits of aluminium radiators?
  • What is the difference between aluminium and steel or cast iron radiators?
  • Is there anything I need to be aware of when buying aluminium radiators?


The benefits of using aluminium to make radiators


Aluminium’s physical properties make it a perfect material to construct a radiator from.  It offers the following positive characteristics:


  • Recyclable – as aluminium can easily be re-worked, recycled aluminium is widely used in every day products including radiators;
  • Inexpensive – using recycled aluminium keeps production costs down;
  • Light-weight - this makes transportation and installation easier and, consequently, cheaper;
  • Long guarantee periods – aluminium radiators come with guarantees of up to 10 years as this material has a protective film of surface oxide making it naturally resistant to corrosion, although, other inputs can cause a risk of corrosion.  See below for more information*;
  • Quick to react or “thermally conductive” – aluminium ensures rapid heat transfer from the water within the radiator to the air in the room.  In practical terms this means that the radiators only need to be switched on just before the room is needed.  On the flip side, aluminium cools down equally quickly unlike cast iron which retains heat for hours.
  • Variety of shapes and styles - aluminium is relatively soft, yet durable and has a high “ductile strength” meaning it can be stretched or “extruded” into long strips.  Therefore aluminium is often used in vertical radiator models and is commonly used for contemporary style “feature radiators”; and
  • “Sectional” options - the “extrusion” process means that uniformly shaped sections can be formed and radiators can be of “sectional” construction.  A sectional aluminium radiator is assembled by joining any number of sections together to create the desired width; this allows for a vast selection of widths and means that radiators can be easily sized to fit onto existing pipework.  The same sectional construction method is used for cast iron and some steel radiators.  Scope for large radiators means that huge heat outputs can be achieved. 

Comparing aluminium to steel and cast iron


There is not one material that is better than the other; there are pros and cons for each.  Your choice will depend on your particular circumstances and specification.


  • Price – there is a common misconception that the cost of a radiator is entirely dependent on the material it is made from but there are so many other factors at play. 
  • Weight - Aluminium is light-weight whereas cast iron is heavy and steel sits somewhere between the two.
  • Guarantee periods – aluminium radiators usually come with 10 year manufacturer’s guarantee but so do cast iron radiators.  Steel tend to come with less at 5 years as steel is more prone to corrosion, though if the radiator is installed and maintained properly, this should not be a problem. 
  • Speed of reaction - aluminium heats up quickly, but then cools down quickly whereas cast iron takes longer to heat up, and retains the heat for longer after switch off.  Steel sits somewhere in the middle.
  • Shapes and sizes - aluminium is relatively more ductile and malleable than steel and cast iron.   


*Prevention against corrosion


In order to comply with your radiator guarantee, your radiator must be installed in accordance with BS5449, section five commissioning, which is a process your installer should be fully aware of.  This means on completion of installation, the system should be properly flushed and filled to remove debris and minimize the presence of solid particles and chemical residue that may cause corrosion and damage within the system. 


Any radiator (except those on a secondary hot water system) must be used in conjunction with a suitable corrosion inhibitor. 


Corrosion inhibitor should be used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions and recommendations and should take into account the particular metals within the system.  Corrosion inhibitors are available from most plumbers’ merchants and DIY stores.



For more information on aluminium radiators, contact a radiator specialist such as Feature Radiators.  You can view over 250 models and receive expert advice at their showroom in Bingley, West Yorkshire or contact their sales team on 01274 567789 or through their website www.featureradiators.co.uk

Friday, 6 March 2015

Radiator Valves – angled, straight or corner - which ones do I need?


Feature Radiators, a radiator expert, has provided below some helpful advice on which valves they would recommend for different radiator set-ups, enabling you to make an informed decision when buying radiator valves.

 

  1. Are your pipes already installed? 

You may be starting from scratch without any pipes installed; in this instance, you can probably choose where you want your pipes to come from (wall or floor).  This means you have freedom when it comes to choosing your radiator and valves.

However, as is often the case, you may already have your pipework installed.  You may be able to have this moved but, if not, this may narrow down your radiator and valve choices. 



  1. “Wall-mounted” or “floor-mounted”?

A question we are often asked is whether a particular type of radiator can be “wall-mounted” or “floor-mounted”.  



  • “Wall-mounted” means that the radiator is hung from the wall on brackets (without feet).  However there is a common misconception among homeowners that “wall-mounted” means that the pipes come out of the wall. 
  • “Floor-mounted” means that the radiators are sat on the floor, usually on “feet”.  Again however customers often think that this means that the pipes come from the floor. 

Whether the radiator is hung from a wall or sat on feet, the pipes can come from wherever you need them to; out of the wall, out of the floor, along the skirting board, etc.  This position of your pipes does not affect your choice of radiator, but it does affect your choice of valve.



  1. Position of valve connections?

In order to choose the best valves, you firstly need to know if your radiator has “side connections” or “underside connections”.

 

Side connections

The connections for the valves (holes) are situated at the bottom of the radiator on either side.  This is the norm for standard corrugated panel radiators and traditional style cast iron radiators.  This type of connection is also known as BBOE or Bottom Bottom Opposite Ends.



Underside connections

The connections for the valves (holes) are situated underneath the radiator, at either end or centrally at 50mm apart.  This is the norm for ladder style towel radiators and is common on many modern vertical radiators, which are designed to take up a minimum amount of wall space. 

 

  1. Position of pipes?

Choose your particular set-up from the list below:

 

  • Pipes coming up from the floor on a radiator with side connections = you need “angled” valves

The head of the valves would sit upright, either side of the radiator. 

 

  • Pipes coming up from the floor on a radiator with underside connections = you need “straight” valves

The valves would sit underneath the radiator and the head of the valves can be twisted so they are in-line with the bottom of the radiator and do not protrude into the room.

  • Pipes coming out of the wall on a radiator with side connections = you can choose from “angled” or “corner” valves

Traditionally installers would use angled valves, but this means that the valves would lie flat either side of the radiator and the valve heads would stick forward into the room usually beyond the front of the radiator.  A neater alternative is to use corner valves, which means that the valves would be either side of the radiator but the heads of the valves would sit upright, rather than protruding into the room.

  • Pipes coming out of the wall on a radiator with underside connections = you can choose from “angled” or “corner” valves
Traditionally installers would use angled valves, but this means that the valves would sit underneath the radiator and the valve heads would stick forward into the room usually beyond the front of the radiator.  A neater alternative is to use corner valves, which means that the valves would sit underneath the radiator and the heads of the valves would sit horizontally, rather than protruding into the room.


 
Manual or thermostatic?

 

Remember, you also need to decide whether you need thermostatic or manual valves.  Please see our article regarding the differences via the link below.



Friday, 8 August 2014

Choosing radiators


Although Feature Radiators’ team is often complimented on our comprehensive range of products, we are sometimes asked by our customers why we don’t offer certain other radiators that are available from other retailers.  

Feature Radiators’ aim is to ease the decision-making process for our customers; one of the ways we do this is by using our expert knowledge to eliminate products that don’t add anything new to our range. 

There are 3 key reasons why we may choose not to sell a particular product:

  1. We want to ensure that all our products meet our strict quality standards, regarding both the product and the service attached, as some radiators do not;
  2. We want to avoid overwhelming our customers - There is now a huge range of “feature radiators” available, so if we didn’t limit our range, we would be offering literally 1000s of different models including numerous duplicate offerings; and
  3. We want to ensure that our products offer good value for money.

To ensure quality, our business is ISO 9001 accredited; this is an internationally recognised quality accreditation and means that we have strict processes regarding what we sell and how we sell it.  To ensure that we offer the best quality, we have a step-by-step process in place for introducing new products. 

Identify a new product

  1. We identify a potential new product.
    1. Either radiator manufacturers approach us with new products; or
    2. Our team seeks out a product to fill a specific gap in the market.
  2. Is the supplier on our “Approved Suppliers” list? 
    1. Yes – great.  They have been scrutinised and passed our “Approved Supplier Process”; this checks things like quality and service standards, company ethos and financial health. 
    2. No – then they would need to pass the “Approved Supplier Process”.
  3. We request product information and images from the manufacturer.

Scrutinise the product’s specification

  1. We do this by completing a New Product form which ensures that we have considered all relevant factors when introducing a new product.  These include:

  • Heat output – Does the radiator produce a good output, particularly in relation to its dimensions?
  • Quality of the product – Do we feel that the quality stands up against the price?  Have the smaller details e.g. brackets been considered?
  • Does this radiator add something new or different to the market? – We don’t want to duplicate products that we already sell.  
  • Range of sizes
  • Range of finishes
  • Availability and lead times
  • Delivery service   

  1. Once the New Product Form has been completed it is passed to the sales, technical and marketing team and the Directors who then submit their feedback. 
  2. A decision is made at this point as to whether to proceed with further inspections or not. 

Inspect a sample of the product

  1. A sample is ordered. 
  2. We assess the radiator and its delivery service from a customer’s perspective.
  3. Negative comments are fed back to the supplier so minor issues can be resolved.  For instance, we may flag up that the packaging is not adequate.
  4. Our conclusions are passed to the directors to make the final decision.

Introduce the new product to our range

  1. A name is chosen based on the product’s appearance and characteristics; it may highlight a key selling point. 
  2. A pricelist is completed and added to our website; this will include images and all relevant information for a customer, not just prices and heat outputs, but also useful details such as “Wall to front face measurement”.  
  3. A display model is hung in our showroom for members of the public to view. 


For more information on choosing radiators, speak to an expert such as Feature Radiators.

 

Their large showroom in West Yorkshire has over 200 radiators on display and expert advice on hand.

 

Feature Radiators, The Old Post Office, 134-140 Main Street, Bingley, West Yorkshire. BD16 2HL


Tel: 01274 567789  Fax: 01274 561183