We’ve all come home and switched on our heating, never really giving it a second thought. But have you ever wondered how does a radiator work?
In this guide, we review some of the science behind how radiators heat your home and what you can expect from an electric radiator.
How does a radiator work?
Radiators have two types of heating functions. Radiators primarily heat your room using convection. This convection pulls cool air from the bottom of the room and as it passes over the flutes, the air heats up and rises. This circular motion helps block out cold air from your windows and ensures your room stays toasty and warm.
Secondly, the surface area of the radiator radiates heat into your room. Have you ever wondered what those flutes were for? They’re not just a design choice, these folds help increase the surface area of your radiator so that you get more radiated heat than if it were a flat surface. Top of the line electric radiators like ELKAtherm have welded flutes of only 1cm apart on both sides of the housing so that even more heat is radiated throughout the room.
We’ve answered how does a radiator work – so what’s the difference between an electric radiator and a wet system radiator?
How does a gas heater work?
Gas radiators, or wet system heaters, heat the radiator by filling it with hot water. This hot water, delivered by a boiler in one part of your house, travels throughout your entire home, supplying hot water to each radiator. It’s a lot of work, and you might notice that radiators that are further away from your boiler might take longer to heat up because of this.
Gas system heaters need to be on the entire time you require heat. This means that in order to maintain your room temperature, your radiators will need to be switched back on after any heat has escaped. This is due to the fact that water loses its heat while it passes through radiators and continues to lose heat until it’s pumped back into your boiler again to be warmed up.
How does an electric heater work?
Electric radiators act very differently than wet system heaters which makes them much more energy efficient. Unlike relying on water to heat the aluminium casing to radiate and convect heat in the room, ELKAtherm radiators have a non-porous, ceramic core (a Chamotte block) which contains up to 20 heat plates. Because the heating element is directly embedded into this core, the radiator is able to heat up quickly, and more importantly, retains its heat within this block so that your radiator continues to convect and radiate heat long after the electrical unit has been switched off. Because your heat doesn’t have to travel the entire length of your home first before it reaches your radiators, electric radiators are able to heat up to maximum heat in just five minutes and stay warm long after. For instance, our independent tests show that with an outside temperature of 6 degrees, an ELKAtherm radiator would only need to be on a third of the time to maintain 21 degrees in your room.
We hope this guide has given you some insight into how radiators work, and the differences between a wet radiator and an electric radiator. If you would like to learn more about how electric heating can transform your home, fill in the form on the side of this page or call us on 0800 011 9085.