A common question asked is how cast iron radiators compare with their more modern counterparts?
A cast iron radiator generally has a greater internal volume than a more modern flat panel radiator. This means that although initially the boiler has to work harder to heat up a cast iron radiator, its raw material property gives its an extended heating time.
In practical terms, it takes longer for a cast iron radiator to heat up, but takes much longer for it to cool down, resulting in heat given off for a longer period. So with that in mind the efficiencies of both types of radiator are very similar.
One of the main benefits of a cast iron radiator is the amount of heat they give off compared to a modern equivalent. for example a cast iron radiator with dimensions of 1256mm (wide) x 460mm (high) has an output of 4500 BTU’s @ ΔT50 where as the modern equivalent radiator with dimensions of 1250mm (wide) x 516mm (high) gives out 3219 BTU’s @ ΔT50.
The main benefit is Cast iron holds heat far longer once your boiler has been switched off! It will gradually cool down whereas a mild steel radiator will loose its heat far quicker and render a room space cooler in a much quicker space of time.
Studies have also shown that the thermal conductivity of cast iron is higher than steel and therefore the heat transfer from the cast iron radiator surface into the room is much more eficient than steel. Steel tends to emit a blast of heat in a short space of time whereas cast iron, although will take a little longer to reach desired temperature, will gently radiate an ambient heat over a much longer period of time. Higher amounts of carbon in cast iron allows it to retain heat for a longer period of time than steel, This high carbon content allows heat to diffuse through the cast iron evenly which means the surface conducts heat more efficiently making the cast iron radiator a more energy saving radiator.
Cast Iron Radiators also put less of a load on your boiler once heated as the return temperature of the water is higher due to less heat loss which can result in a financial saving.
All in all a cast iron radiators should not be seen as a thing of the past as these radiators are not only an affordable piece of art but they have the heat outputs and efficiency to match!
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