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Details of radiators and heating a home

 

The radiator is one of the most familiar mediums used to transfer heat to a room.

A radiator transfers heat by two methods, radiation and convection. In radiation, the heat waves from the radiator strike other objects and warm them ; in convection, the radiator warms the air around it, which rises and circulates through the room.

Size and design

Many home heating problems are due, not to the method itself, but to the size and location of the individual radiators.

The amount of heat that a single radiator can produce is dependent primarily on the size of the unit.

Obviously, a large radiator with a greater heating surface will provide more heat than a smaller unit.

Also, the components of the radiator and its construction have a great deal to do with the amount of heat it can transfer. The modern tubular radiators are made to emit a great deal more heat than an old-fashioned radiator of the same size. Thus, it is quite possible to increase the efficiency of a heating system by installing larger or more modern radiators.

Location

The location of the radiator in the room is important to its effective operation. As stated above, a radiator gives off heat both by radiation and convection. To allow a maximum amount of air to come in contact with the radiator, it must be exposed so that the air can circulate around it.

The best location for a radiator is away from the wall, but a radiator is not a thing of beauty and is often recessed in the wall, where it will be out of sight. If this is done, the heat from the rear side must somehow be utilized ; otherwise, it will be lost by absorption in the wall.

Scientifically constructed radiator enclosures are made to reflect heat back into the room by means of a piece of metal at the rear of the enclosure.

Old-fashioned enclosures can be improved by painting them with a metallic paint, such as aluminum, or placing a rectangle of shiny metal in the rear. If openings are provided at the top and bottom of the enclosure, cold air will flow in at the bottom, and flow out of the opening at the top after it has been warmed.

A good location for a radiator is near an outside wall, under a window. This location permits better circulation of air and prevents drafts across the floor. Needless to say, the window should not be opened while the radiator is on or considerable heat will be lost.

Painting

The type of paint used on a radiator is important, too, from the standpoint of efficiency. Gold and bronze paint will cut down the amount of heat produced. Paint the radiator with a good quality flat oil paint of the same color used for the walls of the room. If the old paint is in good condition, the fresh coat can be applied over it.

Leaky valve

The shut-off valve of a radiator will often leak a little. Repair this as soon as possible, or the water will damage the floor finish.
Sometimes a valve will leak because the packing nut is not tight. It can be turned down with a wrench. If this fails to correct the leak or prevents the handle of the valve from turning easily, then the valve should be repacked.

To repack a leaky valve, be sure that the fire is low, then draw out enough water to bring the level below the radiator on which you are going to work. Draw off the water by opening a valve located at a low point in the system. Check to see if the water is low enough by loosening the packing nut around the valve. If water starts to drip, the water level is too high. In a steam system, allow the fire to burn low so that there will be no steam.

The packing used for these valves can be purchased at any heating, plumbing, or hardware store. It is a metallic compound and is very easy to use. With the packing nut unscrewed from the valve body, pack the compound in the nut around the valve stem. You may find this easier to do by removing the valve handle and slipping the packing nut off the valve stem.

After the valve has been packed, screw it down and check to see whether it can be turned on and off with ease. After this is done, refill the system.

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