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Steam Radiator Covers

TPat Member Posts: 2
I have a single-pipe steam heating system in my 100 -year-old house. Several of the radiators have covers over the back and top of the radiator. Here are my questions: 1. Do the covers do anything useful other than provide shelf space? 2. Should I remove them to get more heat? 3. Should I remove them temporarily to clean the radiators? 4. How do I remove them? and 5. What do I do with the attachment that fell off one of the radiators? (I think it has something to do with the cover.)


  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 20,524
    Shelf space and decoration, mostly. They are so open, though, that they won't hurt the heat much. Without sitting down in front of one and staring at it for awhile, I have no idea how to get them off! But you can clean the radiators pretty well with a narrow nozzle on a vacuum cleaner, and there also are brushes specially made for the purpose (at considerable cost... no worth it).
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,181
  • Long Beach Ed
    Long Beach Ed Member Posts: 1,108
    edited January 20
    If you remove them, you'll increase the heating output considerably.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 20,524
    I really don't think that covers in that style will reduce the heat output that much.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • reggi
    reggi Member Posts: 323
    @TPat The inner support looks like it's a shelf bracket support and the middle looks like a "L" bracket while the outside bracket looks as it may be serving it's intended purpose... You said "some" are like this .. are the brackets mismatched also?
    That would be to keep the "Design" bracket facing the visible area as people enter the room...
    I doubt they're original as it's not likely the window sills would of been notched like they are when built to accommodate that cover...
    Also the piece on the floor looks like some type of Wedge... perhaps it goes on top of the radiator to support the weight of the items on the shelf when it's loaded ? 
    Take a look and some pics of the other 
     Radiators with these brackets and post them...  
    How long have you been in your house? The prior owners may of had different storage needs..

    One way to get familiar something you know nothing about is to ask a really smart person a really stupid question