Central Heating Radiators
There are many different kinds of central heating systems that you can have in your home. Some use vents and others use a water boiler and central heating radiators. Water heating is not as efficient as some of the other forms of heating, but if you have an older home and want to enhance the character of that home then radiators might be the way to go. The radiators can be a piece of art and part of the décor of the room.
The way that central water heating works is that there is a boiler located in some central location, usually the basement or water closet. The boiler heats up water to boiling and the hot water or steam is propelled to the radiators throughout the house. The water runs through copper pipes inside the steel radiator coils. The steel can be decorative and painted to match the décor of the room. The water then leaves the radiator and goes back to the boiler for re-heating. The more coils, twists, and turns there are in the radiator, the more heat you can radiate into the room.
The radiators can be a nice addition to a room but you should try to resist the temptation to use them as a tabletop or holder for anything. Radiators get very hot, any kind of cover or top will get hot too, and there is a fire risk. Leave them sit alone with at least a few inches of clearance on all sides.
There are valves on the bottom of radiators where you can divert the water flow so that the hot water just runs directly back to the boiler without traveling through the coils in the radiator. This will eliminate heat from the room, but it will not help with your heating bills. The water will still be getting heated by the boiler and running throughout the house. If you want to lower your heating bills then you need to turn off the boiler.
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