Most radiators sold in the UK are made of mild steel but over the last few years there has been an increase in designs made from stainless steel and aluminium.
The latter material is particularly interesting because it offers the potential for energy savings. The reason for this is that aluminium is more efficient at conducting heat, which is why is often used as a heat sink in everything from computers to large industry (the thermal conductivity of aluminium is 4-5 times that of mild steel).
Aluminium radiators transfer the heat from the water to the air in the room faster than steel radiators. This means that they require less heated water from the boiler and will be faster to respond to changes in the room heat requirement, hence reducing any wasted heat. As aluminium radiators are fairly new to the UK it is difficult to find quantifiable data about potential energy savings, especially as it will vary depending on location. However, some clever engineers we know estimate that using them could save 5-10% off your annual heating bill.
Bisque Blok radiator in Pure White 9010
Aluminium radiators also offer other environmentally friendly benefits. For one thing they are made of recycled material, so next time you recycle your drinks can, consider that it could end up as part of a new radiator. Also, because they have a lower water content, they can often be smaller than more traditional radiators. This can be useful when using them with low temperature heating systems, such as ground source heat pumps, because you do not need a large radiator to compensate for the lower water temperatures.
So why aren't all radiators made from aluminium? Well, aluminium is less strong and flexible than steel and is therefore manufactured in straight profiles. This means that there are limitations when it comes to radiator design - loops and bends are not possible.
One final and important point to note - when installing aluminium radiators on a heating system, it is always best to use a mixed system inhibitor, so make sure your plumber knows that you are using aluminium radiators.
Bisque Lissett radiator in white sable
All of our aluminium products are on our website, this includes the Blok, Lissett and Tetro. For more information on the benefits of an aluminium radiator, please contact our sales team.