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With many consumers concerned about rising energy bills, what advice can installers offer their customers to keep heating costs down? One simple and effective way is to regularly clean radiators and heated towel rails, as Saffet Kalender from Pitacs explains.
Dust and dirt can create a layer of insulation on radiators and towel rails which reduces the heat emission and therefore their efficiency. This results in that radiators have to work much harder to heat an area, and because the area does not feel as warm as it should, users are likely to turn the heat up and thus push energy costs even higher.
Before undertaking any cleaning, though, it’s important to advise householders to turn off their heating and make sure that all radiators and towel rails are cold.
Using a vacuum cleaner, they should remove as much dust from the radiator as possible, from the outside, the wall behind the radiator and underneath. With a convector radiator, they will need to pay special attention when cleaning between the fins as the majority of the heat is emitted via the convectors. If the radiator has a top lid, they should be able to lift this off to expose the fins and vacuum between them.
A radiator brush is useful for reaching all of the nooks and crannies, but a DIY duster can also be an effective alternative – simply use a long piece of wire or a straightened wire hanger and fix a duster to one end. With a duster or brush it should be easy to clean the full depth of any radiator and in-between the bars of tall column radiators.
For the very stubborn dust collection areas, a hairdryer is a trusty tool. These can be used to simply blow cool air down through the middle of a radiator. Once the inside of the radiator is clean, it’s time to focus on the outside. A nonabrasive cloth or sponge, soaked in warm water with washing up liquid, should do the trick, remembering to clean the pipework and valves too, removing all of the dust residue and stubborn dirt.
How to boost heat output
Around a third of heat from a radiator can be lost by an external wall, and possibly more if the external wall is a solid wall and not an insulated cavity wall. One easy way to boost the British Thermal Unit (BTU) heat output of the radiator is to suggest the use of radiator heat reflector foil. The foil is insulated and specially treated against mold and moisture, and it reflects the heat back into the room.
It only takes a few minutes to fit – simply measure in-between the radiator mounting brackets, cut the foil to size and stick it to the back of the radiator.
Your customers will not only see an instant improvement in the performance of their radiators, but in time, with regular maintenance and cleaning, they should benefit from a significant saving in the cost of heating their home.