Radiators are stationary cast iron units with a valve on the side that is used to adjust heat output. Most of us are familiar with the loud hissing noise that comes from a radiator or the loud clanking noise that tends to accompany much older radiator systems.

Why Are Radiators Noisy?

The clanking or banging is a result of the pipes rubbing against surrounding surfaces as they contract and expand in response to heat changes. When they heat up, radiators are scorching hot to the touch. Most radiators include a top covering or a full-length metal radiator cover for safety. The cover can still heat up, but it also serves as a reminder that the unit underneath is hot. In most vintage homes and apartment buildings, the radiator is located near a window.

Today, radiators are still admired by many for their vintage beauty and as a remnant of the past.


What Is A Radiator?

Depending on the industry, a radiator may have several different meanings. In the automotive industry, a radiator is an engine-cooling device. In construction, a radiator is a room-heating device. In technology, a radiator is a device that emits radiant energy.

In terms of home and building construction, radiators would be defined as a room-heating device that emits heat from pipes through which hot water, steam, or hot oil circulates; especially one connected to a central boiler-fed system. In new construction, radiators are considered a thing of the past, so they are typically found in older homes and vintage buildings.

Types of Radiators

There are several types of radiant heating including:

  • Conventional or traditional radiator heating
  • Fan assisted radiant heating
  • Under floor heating.

Fan assisted radiators are smaller in size than traditional radiators and they distribute heat evenly throughout the room. A fan assisted radiator system works by feeding hot water into a heat exchanger. An electric fan blows air over the exchanger and into the space.

While radiant heat is still used today, it is virtually invisible thanks to under floor heating. This new and improved version of radiant heat works by circulating hot water underneath the floor of each individual room in a structure. Under floor heating is made up of a series of heating cables and pipes that work together to create a quiet and efficient heating system. Under floor heating is considered the most comfortable type of radiant heating available today.

For more information on radiators see the following article from HomeDoctor.net: Home Radiators.