To get around this many plumbers use plastic pipe and just bring both pipes out of the wall, roughly in the middle of the intended radiator position. It now doesn’t matter if the pipework is moved and hanging the radiator is simply a matter of dropping the plastic in a loop down to the valve positions. I can see why it’s done but I personally I hate this approach as it just looks like a DIY Bodge job.
Well, now there is an alternative that combines ease of fitting in a new build with superb energy efficiency – the Stelrad ‘radical’ radiator.
First off the valves for this range are at the bottom in the middle of the radiator. So now the plumber just has to bring two pipes out of the wall with the same gap between the pipes regardless of the radiator size to be fitted. Ideally Stelrad would also supply a little plastic template that could be fitted over the pipes and screwed into the wall, thus ensuring that the pipes stay in the right position throughout the build process. I don’t know if they do supply such a thing but it would be a great move if they did. To make the installation process even easier the radiators come with preset flow limiters i.e. they are self-balancing radiators!
So we have an easy fit radiator, which is great news all by itself, but this is only the start. In a fit of innovation they have also added umpteen design features to ensure that the radiator reaches optimum temperature much faster than traditional radiators and that this heat is directed out of the front of the radiator without the need for that horrible foil stuff people often stuff behind their old rads. To improve things still further Radical radiators generate 50% of their heat as radiant energy. This allows you to turn your room thermostat down without any noticeable loss in comfort.
Add all these features up and they reckon you should be able to knock 10.5% off your heating bill, which is always a pleasant thing to do.
So do they cost a fortune? Well apparently not, they are a little more expensive but when you consider that they come with the valves already supplied the cost works out roughly the same as Stelrad’s compact range of radiators.
Is there a downside? Well, if you’re replacing an old radiator with these then you are going to have to alter the pipework on every occasion, which would make them far more expensive to fit. However, we are definitely going to be advising these the next time we have a new build to do.