Radiator dos and don’ts: staying warm and safe this winter

Having a central heating system and nice, smart, heat-emitting radiators in your home is, of course, all about making sure you and your family keep snug and warm through the winter months. However, sometimes one or all of your radiators may not feel like they’re as warm as they should be or you may feel they’re not operating as they should and, because of that, may even be dangerous to use. In which case, what should and shouldn’t you do when it comes to radiator safety…?
Don’t fiddle with the valve

The radiator’s valve is there to do a job and so, unless you definitely know what you’re doing, don’t play around with it in order to make the room warmer or cooler. Should you open the valve, it’s likely to allow excess piping-hot steam escape from the radiator. Generally speaking then, the valve should be open completely if the radiator’s not in use, or closed completely if it is in use. Moreover, should a banging sound be emanating from the radiator, it probably means the device is leaking – don’t fiddle with the valve, get in an expert to repair the radiator.


Keep the boiler’s pressure down

Something else people have a wont to do to generate more heat from their central heating system is to turn up the boiler’s pressure, believing this will increase the heat of the home’s radiators. Don’t do it; because it won’t. In fact, high-pressure steam from the boiler will actually move through the system slower than low-pressure steam. And, in addition to keeping valves closed on the radiators you’re using, check to make sure the pipes that connect the radiators to the boiler are well insulated.


Are your children aware of radiator safety?

It’s important for young kids to be aware of what radiators are capable of. There aren’t many dangers associated with them, of course, but as soon as they’re able to understand, children ought to be informed that if they touch the hot metal of a radiator it could burn them (potentially badly) and that, technically, hanging something from a radiator could cause it to catch fire. Also, it’s true that not all radiators look exactly the same – for instance, standard traditional-looking models appear different to stylish radiators and, in turn, one of these will appear different to an electric towel rail. Thus, this may confuse a child if it’s not properly explained to them, so it’s important to stress all radiators can potentially carry the same dangers. If you are concerned, there’s always the option of installing an elegant metal or wooden cover over a radiator or placing a guard in front of it.


Location, location, location

Many radiators are located on walls beneath windows, specifically because this can be the most effective position for it to heat a room and keep it warm. However, this also means that the top of a radiator could come into contact with the bottom of a window’s curtains or drapes. You need to ensure this can’t happen, otherwise there genuinely may be a danger the curtains/ drapes could catch fire.

And that goes for furniture too. It may sound obvious to say that sofas, chairs, tables and the like shouldn’t be positioned too close to a radiator but, owing to the fact their upholstery could be burned or – again – in the worst case scenario they could catch fire, it’s worth pointing it out. Especially as there have been recorded instants of toddlers and young children falling into gaps between furniture – especially beds – and radiators and getting burned.

All in all then, like the other tips outlined above, use your common sense when it comes to radiator safety – and if you’re concerned about something that you can’t solve simply yourself, be sure to call in a professional expert.


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