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Decorating Around a Radiator?


Just moved into a beautiful arts and crafts home in the midwest. Problem is, this California girl has never had to deal with radiators.

I'd like to use the space - but is it a no-no to put furniture in front of a radiator? Do they block heat? Is it a fire hazard? I've seen all sorts of covers online - are there any kind that re-direct the heat up and out?

Any suggestions for finding cheap radiator covers?



  • Brad White
    Brad White Member Posts: 2,398
    Steam or Water?

    Not a deflective question, just one of temperature. See below.

    In general though, it is best not to make contact with radiators especially over time. Leaving a one-inch air space is recommended.

    As for loss of output, what is first lost is the true "radiant" or line of sight heating effect. If the house is well insulated (and more than it ever was, meaning you may have well over-sized radiators), you may not notice as much.

    As for covers, most reduce heat output. The only ones that are neutral or increase it slightly have low inlets and high (top) outlets. This promotes positive convection, a "chimney effect" if you will, which forces more air over the radiator than otherwise would occur.

    There is a link on this site to old documentation on covers which illustrates this. I will see if I can find it later if I can. Worth seeking if you can.

    The steam or water temperature question goes mostly to convection. The higher the temperature, the stronger the convection and steam gets you up there more quickly. If you have hot water, you can modulate the temperature based on outside temperature for best fuel savings and comfort over time.

    Congratulations on finding what must be a gem of a house!

    "If you do not know the answer, say, "I do not know the answer", and you will be correct!"

    -Ernie White, my Dad
  • Tom Hopkins
    Tom Hopkins Member Posts: 552
    Radiator covers

    This is from Hot Tech topics at this site. There's more if you search around the other areas. Ain't Dan great?


    This fabrication shop was in my neighborhood for years. Gentrification (and land value, there's condos there now) pushed him out into the neighborhoods a little further. At least he didn't move his operation to Mexico.


    If you can find a source for used radiators in your area they will either have or steer you too someone with used covers. Any cabinet maker can make some very attractive wood covers. The dumb ones build them so we have to tear it apart to change a valve. It should have large removable access panels. Enjoy your hydronic heat. Make sure to have the entire system looked over by a heating pro before this heating season.
  • Steamhead (in transit)
    Steamhead (in transit) Member Posts: 6,688
    The cover illustrated on that site

    is of the most inefficient type. It will cut the radiator's output by 33% or so. Fuel is too costly to justify using these things.

    C.T., just wait till winter. Those big lumps of cast-iron will be your best friends. And, with the right paint job, they look real sharp!

    How about some pics?

    To Learn More About This Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Professional"
  • where in the midwest?

    Where in the midwest is this place... ?
This discussion has been closed.