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Radiator Reflective Insualtion Reccomendations?

After reading Dan's Greening Steam book, we'd like to try adding reflective insulation behind some of our radiators to keep the heat in the living space instead of heat up the outside walls. We saw the UK had some ribbed-panel products, thicker-cut-sheet metal style, and some bubble-wrap with foil on each side type products that claim 20-40% more heat in the room? Has anyone tried some of these, and would you reccomend one over another? We have a small 5-unit residential building in Milwaukee, WI with a single-pipe steam boiler.


  • Neild5
    Neild5 Member Posts: 163
    This is what I use, I lined the inside of the radiator enclosure with it. http://m.reflectixinc.com/applications/diy
  • FranklinD
    FranklinD Member Posts: 399
    I used Reflectix behind a few of my radiators (that are on outside walls). I think that's about the only worthwhile use for the stuff, personally.

    Does it make a difference? I honestly couldn't tell you. My hope is that it helps to reflect some of the radiant heat back out instead of just warming the plaster.

    20-40% claims seem a little nutty...there's a good article around here somewhere that debunks most of the 'amazing' qualities of the bubble-foil insulation. I think the actual R-value is like 0.5 to 1.0, if that.
    Ford Master Technician, "Tinkerer of Terror"
    Police & Fire Equipment Lead Mechanic, NW WI
    Lover of Old Homes & Gravity Hot Water Systems
  • vaporvac
    vaporvac Member Posts: 1,520
    I use something similar bought in England where everyone uses it. It came in a roll and one used wallpaper paste to apply. A few years ago, one of the pros posted some IR images of rooms next to one another and also right before and after application, from the exterior. There was no question, it helps a lot. All my old built-ins had a reflective piece of metal custom formed, so this isn't a new idea. It's cheap and there's no down-side. Go for it.
    Two-pipe Trane vaporvacuum system; 1466 edr
    Twinned, staged Slantfin TR50s piped into 4" header with Riello G400 burners; 240K lead, 200K lag Btus. Controlled by Taco Relay and Honeywell RTH6580WF
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,546
    Not to say the reflective assembly does not work. However most rads are under Windows. Warming the wall window assembly does help elevate the MRT of those surfaces.
  • cubicacres
    cubicacres Member Posts: 358
    Thanks. If the 2nd floor often gets too hot, would there be any value to install them on 2nd floor radiators as well as the 1st floor?

    And the MRT elevation that used to go to the window assembly would probably be on the reflective panel or just reflect back around the radiator area with the reflective panels installed. Would this be less or more efficient than leaving the heat energy on the window wall assembly?