Do oak radiator covers stop heat coming out?

If you are considering purchasing a radiator cover for use in your home, one of the first questions you will probably have is will it impede the heat from the radiator? We will look to address this question, as well as a couple of related issues here.

Frustratingly, there is no definitive answer to our question. Some covers can stop heat coming out, if they are poorly designed and not an appropriate size for the radiator they are covering, but others are less guilty of getting in the way of hot air circulating around the room, whilst simultaneously looking the part and providing all of the safety benefits that a covered radiator can bring.

How your radiator functions 

In order to fully address the question, we need to understand the way in which radiators work. A radiator is heated by the hot water which is supplied via your central heating system. The heat from the radiator warms the air immediately surrounding it and this heat then moves through the room via convection.

Since hot air rises, it would seem reasonable to assume that oak radiator covers are best designed without a solid top. Any radiator cover must offer sufficient gaps in its facade in order to allow the warmed air to move through the room via convection. 

Wood is a natural absorber of heat, so ensuring that oak radiator covers have sufficient space, via grilles, fretwork or any other aesthetically pleasing design elements serves to limit the amount of heat that they absorb.

It is vital to get the size right in looking to buy a radiator cover. Extra large radiators need extra large radiator covers and ensuring that the cover is fitted carefully will help you to get the best out of its safety and aesthetic features, whilst also allowing the radiator to do its work and heat the room effectively.

So the short answer to whether or not a radiator cover will stop heating coming out is, to a degree, yes, but this can be mitigated by choosing a design which was created to maximise heat transfer, in addition to being made from the right kind of materials. 

A wide range of designs ranging from compact through to extra large radiator covers are now available.

One further thought regarding the heat transfer issue is that most people want to cover their radiators for aesthetic or safety reasons. They simply don’t like the way that their radiators look in the rooms, especially within period properties, or they may be concerned that little (or not so little) fingers may be burned if they get too close. 

The aesthetic and safety benefits are likely to far outweigh any minor impact in heat loss.

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