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Radiator Heating Systems

One of the most enduring home heating systems on the market is the radiator. Invented in the mid-1800s, radiators are considered by some to be old-fashioned. But modern home heating radiators are energy-efficient and low-maintenance, and might be the perfect option for some homeowners.

There are three kinds of home radiator heating systems: steam, hot water and electric. All three function by heating a liquid and transferring the heat throughout a home or business using the process of convection.

Steam Heat Radiators, Hot Water Radiators and Electric Radiator Heaters, Oh My!

The medium heated in the boiler is the biggest difference between …

  • Steam heat radiators
  • Hot water radiators and
  • Electric radiator heaters.

Steam heat and hot water radiators rely on water, while electric radiator heaters use a type of mineral oil commonly referred to as “heat transfer oil” or “thermal oil.”

Steam Heat Radiators

In a steam radiator, water is heated in a boiler until it becomes steam. The steam is then funneled throughout the home using a series of pipes to either:

  • Freestanding cast-iron radiators
  • Ceramic radiators
  • Baseboard steam system

The steam then radiates heat, warming the room via convection. When the steam condenses, it funnels back into the main boiler.

Cast-iron steam heat radiators are the oldest form of steam heat radiator. If you have an old home or big-city apartment with the original radiator heating system, it’s likely a cast-iron steam heat radiator. Cast-iron steam heat radiators take the longest to heat and are hot to the touch. It’s unlikely that a homeowner would choose to install a cast-iron steam heat radiator in a new home because baseboard steam radiators are generally more discreet, and ceramic steam radiators are not hot to the touch.

Hot Water Radiators

Unlike steam heat radiators, hot water radiators rely on a continual flow of hot water. Hot water radiators are also sometimes used to power radiant floor heating systems.

Electric Radiator Heaters

Electric radiator heaters function much like a steam radiator, but by heating a specialized type of mineral oil. Electric radiator heaters are usually installed as individual units and not as a central system, allowing homeowners to easily turn off the heat in unused areas of their home. Electric radiator heaters are not space heaters as they are installed individually in areas of a home. This option is best suited for warm climates as they are not as productive as a whole-house system.

What Home Heating System Is Best for Me?

Choosing a home heating system is a personal decision. Depending on the age and current infrastructure of your home, it might be easier to improve upon an existing system. If you have young children and are concerned about the safety of a cast-iron radiator, you might want to replace it with a new ceramic model.

For help finding the perfect home heating radiator solution for your home, contact your local Aire Serv for a free consultation.

Choose Aire Serv for All Your Home Heating Needs

At Aire Serv, we understand the importance of keeping your family warm and safe. From furnaces to radiators, our certified technicians install, repair and replace all types of heating systems at homes and businesses throughout the United States and Canada. If you need heating services, you need Aire Serv. Breathe easy knowing Aire Serv is on the job! Schedule an appointment online or find a location near you.

Need home heating radiator repair now? Call 855.259.2280 for 24/7 emergency service.

  • Age - If your AC is more than 10 years old and giving you trouble, it could be time to consider a replacement.

  • Investment cost - Is a new system financially smarter in the long run than paying for repair? An Aire Serv air conditioner contractor can help you calculate your return on investment to determine whether an upgrade is financially worthwhile in the long run.

  • Utility rates - You may think you can’t afford an air conditioner replacement, but a more efficient unit consumes less electricity and could save you big time on energy bills.

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