Black Friday Sale

Good morning all, thanks for joining us again for the today’s DRD blog, the focus of which you might be very interested in…


Black Friday Sale




Black Friday is of course a shopping holiday that normally lasts for one day only (long live capitalism!). On this day, the last Friday of November, we see amazing human spectacles where people partake in a kind of Hunger Games-esque battle to pilfer shops of anything and everything of value. Most of the time people go in without any thought in mind other than ‘BARGAIN’, and transform from civilised Johns and Janes into feral beasts with no regard for safety or order.


Even Arnie succumbs to the dark desperation of Black Friday

Even Arnie succumbs to the dark desperation of Black Friday


When the Black Friday madness descends upon masses it is something to behold. Thankfully at DRD we can put an online only exclusive deal on and it won’t result in the premises being torn to bits!


Black Friday


Because our only concern is that our shelves will be left bare, we are happy to announce that our Black Friday sale has gone live ONE FULL WEEK EARLY. That’s right, code ‘SAVE10’ will deduct 10% from most of our collection on the website until Thursday the 30th of November.


All Inclusive

With our 5 Star discount treatment, you can benefit from our HUGE 10% discount on most of our products on the website. You can get radiators, valves, elements, sleeving kits, wall stays and more, but as always we’ve gone the extra mile and allowed for even our sale items to combine with the Black Friday offer.


Remember, if you are making a tough decision on what to purchase, you need valves but aren’t sure which ones, or even if you need just a little bit of help finding the right radiator for you, then please feel completely free to call the DRD helpline on 01257 442911, or alternatively email through to our helpful enquiries team at


The Best Tips For Fitting Radiators In Your Kitchen

The kitchen is an especially difficult room to install radiators for. Here’s why and how to make it easier.


Kitchens are a place of creativity and socialising and should also be a place of warmth. As one of the most popular and regularly used rooms in the house, the kitchen is a place where our survival instincts kick in. All animals must feed and so the kitchen acts as an area where we embrace those primal instincts. We cook, we gather, we eat, we come together as family or friends. It’s urges like this which make us want the kitchen to be a warm and inviting area. That’s why radiators are such an important factor within them. It’s easier said than done however, there are plenty of reasons why the kitchen is so difficult to maintain and install heating for. Here are just some of the reasons.


The kitchen is not constantly in use

The main problem with the kitchen is that you don’t need to heat it at all hours of the day. There are only three meal times in the daytime. Breakfast is usually quick, we are in and out, usually tired and late for work. Lunch for most who work out of the house in the day is eaten somewhere else leaving dinner as the main socialising time. Having an open and comfortable environment in the kitchen is vital for a happy household, but making sure that the area is heated is crucial to this. Due to this, the kitchen also runs the risk of wasting energy as the heating can be on in there when the room is not in use. Unlike the living room or the bedroom, we do not tend to stay in the kitchen for more than a few hours of the day. This means heating the kitchen at irregular periods of the day, meaning that the timings should be organised and well maintained however long your time in the kitchen per day is.



Other appliances let out heat

The kitchen is for cooking. Cooking generates heat in any room. Think about how hot your kitchen will be from the very processes you will be undertaking in there before you decide to turn on the heating. There have been many times when you may have found yourself sweating out in the kitchen because of simultaneous kettle boiling, pan frying and oven roasting. This can lead to wasted heat from a turned on radiator and so to be energy efficient in your kitchen, only turn on your kitchen radiator when there really is a chill in the room.


The kitchen is near the garden

In many homes, the kitchen can be found very close to the garden. Due to the natural and logical lay out of the ground floor of any house, you’ll have the living room nearest to the front door whilst the hallway leads back to the kitchen. It is usually here that you’ll find the kitchen. Due to this location, those of us who are lucky enough to have a garden will have the kitchen leading directly to it. This means that those of us who are lucky enough to have a garden may find it difficult to heat our kitchens due to the draughts from the garden. We may also have large doors leading out, unglazed glass letting in the cold from the garden. Always make sure that to save energy, that your kitchen is well insulated from external forces.


Space can be an issue

When it comes to installing your kitchen designer radiator, you may have a problem when it comes to space. Every area of a kitchen has a purpose, and in that there is going to be less space for kitchen flourishes. With an oven, fridge, storage space and a table, your kitchen is already building up a lot of vital units, many of which are quite bulky. Therefore, you should make sure your kitchen radiator is compact and slim. Some of the best kitchen radiators are the ones that are tall and slim, vertical radiators often fitting in perfectly with both the aesthetic of the modern kitchen and spatial functionality.


Ultraheat Planal VPH Vertical

Our sleek white planal vertical radiators are eye catching and classy addition to any radiator. Their slim design means that you’ll save lots of space when it comes to making sure your kitchen has enough room whilst also being a bold and innovative exercise in artistic simplicity.


Chatsworth Nova Vertical

The Chatsworth Nova vertical is a forward thinking flat panel radiator with miniscule 1mm gaps between the panels. This means that there is a crisp and clean look to the radiator whilst also giving you a choice of two different variations on the radiator, the NV and the NVL


Ultraheat Linear Vertical

This high heat output vertical radiator comes in a range of three colours for you to choose from so you know you’re in for a treat. These colours are chrome, white and black to suit your personal tastes whilst the radiator has its own double configuration, with identical piping sitting behind the unit.



How A Vertical Radiator Could Change Your Home For The Better

There’s a lot of choice out there when it comes to investing in radiators. It is not a small decision after all. Here’s why vertical radiators are on top right now.


Have you ever been on a radiator selling website and felt overwhelmed? There’s so much choice out there that you’re bound to. As a first-time radiator buyer, you may not realise at first just how much there is to choose from. Whether in a radiator shop or looking online you wouldn’t be blamed for feeling a little intimidation when facing so much choice. Whatever your decision is, there’s always a chance to consider a vertical radiator for your home. These radiators are some of the most popular of the designer radiator world and there’s plenty of reason why this is so. With room for both creative design and efficient heating, the vertical radiator is quickly becoming a popular asset of any home. Here are just some of the reasons why.


Space saving

First and foremost, many people choose a vertical radiator design due to the amount of space it saves. Think about it; if you have a smaller living room and a lot of items and furnishings to organise in the room, you’ll be looking for a radiator which won’t take up a lot of space. This is the same in an area like the hallway, where the narrow corridor means you don’t have a lot of space to manoeuvre, especially in a busy home or property. This is where the vertical radiator comes in, as a narrower model it will not have to sit behind other pieces of furniture, meaning that it won’t take up more space, encroaching on the centre of the room. It will also be narrower by its very nature, therefore taking up less wall space and leaving you space to play.


The joy of the towel rail

Towel rails are some of the most popular of the vertical radiator world. If you’re looking for an easy to set up and helpful addition to a bathroom, then the towel rail is a must. These beauties come in many different designs and shapes and allow you to not only warm up your bathroom during those sharp shocks of the post-bath and shower coldness, but will also allow you to warm up those towels so that those moments so that those bare moments are even more bearable. What’s more, most towel rails come as a dual fuel model, meaning that they can work within and independently of your main central heating system.


Benefits of a column radiator

Vertical column radiators, much like the towel rail can be used in a home to help save space and time when it comes to drying your washing. The horizontal columns of the vertical column radiator you can be utilised, to dry socks and clothes when the heat is not being used for the room. This is one of the great things about a column radiator; it’s multi-faceted functionality means that you will find plenty of uses from them aside from the obvious heating.


Energy efficient in small and large spaces

The vertical radiator height brings benefits in the very fact that it is tall. With smaller rooms, they will be quick to heat up, especially because heat rises and with a lower ceiling you will be gaining more heat radiated evenly across the room. With larger ceilinged spaces, a vertical radiator design is worth considering due to its height being able to radiate its heat even higher. The speed at which your space is heated up completely depends on the material your radiator is made from. Iron radiators typically heat up slower than others but are more durable whilst aluminium is flexible and easy to install and heats up far faster.


Creative designs

One of the benefits of the vertical radiator is the wealth of designs and choices in style you have to your disposal. The panel radiator for instance, is a bold design which would be eye catching in any home. The nature of the vertical radiator means that it “owns” a space. It is a bit of home décor in of itself and this means that radiator designers will play to this, knowing that audiences don’t want a unit which will melt into the background, but instead stand out and add another dimension and texture to the wall at which it stands.


Adding property value

A well designed vertical radiator will add value to your home due to its cool design and its efficiency. Designers will acknowledge this when making a vertical radiator, it is a household attribute which is here to stay and adds character to your property. This therefore is a great addition to any property you may be thinking of selling in the future.


Handy Tips For Heating A Kitchen

The kitchen is a unique area of the house and can be a tricky one to heat for a variety of reasons.


Each room in a property has its own function. The bedroom is for sleeping, the dining room is for dining, the bathroom is for bathing and the living room is for, well, living. Each room designated function will affect how often it is visited, whether the room has more than one person in it at a time and for how long people stay within it. That means that when it comes to places like the kitchen, you are already faced with many factors, all of which could influence the way you should heat the space. So, what could affect the heating of your kitchen and what are the best tips for heating it?


There is a lot of research out there into the sociological and anthropological implications of how we use our home. This includes how each room affects and is used by the family unit. This of course will influence the way you use your kitchen area.


Young people are embracing the industrial look

In the modern day, young people are becoming more and more attracted to the stripped back industrial look for their homes according to the kitchen trend report from Houzz in 2015. This means there are more airy and spacious kitchens and of course, more space to fill when thinking about heating it


Pricey renovations

Investing in a new kitchen has apparently been a real strain on bank in recent years. In studies, it seems that 91% of kitchen renovators have hired a professional to help them with a budget of around £25,000. With this sort of investment, it is then crucial to make sure that you are saving money on your heating bills.


It’s one of the most popular rooms in any home

According to studies, 60% of people spend over three hours a day in their kitchen, making it a social and lively part of the home. We are studying, entertaining guests and socialising in there, meaning there is already plenty of body warmth amongst the hubbub.



There’s plenty to consider when calculating your kitchens BTU and what sort of output you’ll need for your kitchen radiator. Here are some of the things you’ll need to consider when developing the heating for your kitchen.


The kitchen often leads to the garden

The kitchen is often found at the back of the house, where, if you’re lucky to have one, a garden is usually found. The kitchen is often the room which leads into this area and therefore in the winter months can lose a lot of heat from this door. Make sure any threats to lost heating through these spaces are nipped in the bud through proper window glazing or insulation.


Heating appliances in the kitchen

The stove, an Aga, even the kettle can add heat to a kitchen. These heating appliances will unintentionally add heat to your kitchen and therefore will lessen how often you will need to turn on your radiators.


The kitchen is not continuously inhabited

Despite it being one of the most popular hang outs, the kitchen is still not inhabited constantly. It’s a good idea therefore to not have it heated constantly, especially when in tandem with the point above.


How do you use it?

So how do you use your kitchen? When thinking about placing a radiator in there, work out who your installing it for and how many people will be using the space.


What do you need to fit in it?

The size of your radiator will be affected by how crowded the room is. How many appliances are there in there, and do you have an island in the middle. This line of questioning will have an influence on your kitchen aesthetics and whether you’re going to invest in a lavish stylish radiator or a subtle small one.


Ways to heat the kitchen

Before investing in a radiator, think about additions and alternatives to the radiator.


Underfloor heating

Underfloor heating is an ever-growing style, using radiator technology to add heat to your room from the bottom up. This saves space in your kitchen for more important appliances such as ovens and storage space.


Plinth heaters

A new addition to the kitchen heating world. This technology uses a grill in the bottom of your kitchen area which is connected to your central heating system to heat up your kitchen from the floor up. Heat rises, so this makes sense and again, saves space in your kitchen.


Smaller kitchens and the vertical radiator

Vertical radiators can help you to save space in the smaller kitchen spaces. This is due to their height and narrowness, saving more room for storage and appliance space. The room will also be heated quicker by these larger radiators and therefore save you money and time on how long you keep the heating on for.




Best Bathroom Radiators On The Market

Looking for a new addition to the bathroom? Take a look at some of these beauties from Designer Radiators Direct.


With the wealth of options on the market now, it’s no surprise that we may be overwhelmed by the flood of radiators that we could install in our bathrooms. Bathrooms are a difficult place to cater for due to their unique use within the home. We don’t hang out in the bathroom, cook in their or sleep in there, so don’t tend to spend a huge amount of time in there. And yet the bathroom is a necessity in all homes. It is a place of cleanliness, warmth and so your bathroom radiator should reflect that.


The bathroom is irregular in the times in which it needs to be heated. Usually used most regularly early in the morning and late in the evening, the bathroom is unused during the day and therefore at colder times of the year only needs a little heat. This means that towel rails which are independent of the central heating system are most commonly used as are dual fuel radiators.


What is a dual fuel radiator?

Dual fuel radiators hit that sweet spot between ease of use and flexibility. Using the radiator valve, a dual fuel combines a central heating radiator and an electric bathroom radiator at the flick of a switch. You can use the plumbing to send boiling water through the pipes with the rest of your radiator system and control it independently, heating it electronically. This makes the dual fuel radiator one to invest in, since you can heat it only when necessary and not waste energy by having to heat up the rest of the system with it. The dual fuel radiator really does kill two birds with one stone.


Bisque Hot Hoop Towel Radiator

This Paul Priestman designed enigma is a progressive take on the bathroom radiator. Created in a hoop shape, this radiator is both a stylish and bold addition to any bathroom whilst also allowing you to go against the norm and boasts a functional towel rail to add to its beautiful simplicity.


Aestus Jazz Towel Radiator

This towel radiator will put you on the ladder to towel rail perfection. Made from stainless steel, it will allow you to hang towels and delivers a soulful and striking towel rail. For those who like it simple, the Aestus Jazz Towel Rail is the way forwards. What’s more, it wouldn’t look out of place in other rooms such as the kitchen.


Vogue Regency Wall Mounted 2 Towel Radiator

This unique towel rail incorporates a mild steel radiator with a brass towel rail, making it a textured and multi-dimensional bathroom radiator. The radiator comes with a chrome finish which is bound to captivate whilst its pocket size will save space.


MHS Multisec Bench

Perfect for a larger bathroom, changing room or conservatory, the MHS Multisec Bench is truly a radiator which sits well with designer radiator fans. Combining comfy seating with underfoot heating, this radiator is a multi-faceted and must have for those who want peace, quiet and warmth in their wet room.


Bisque Quadrato Towel Radiator

With hidden air vents fitted, this clean and crisp towel rail is made from stainless steel with a dazzling mirror finish. Whatever your tastes, you can’t go wrong with a bisque radiator with its clean look adding a much-needed neatness to the often-hurried bathroom ritual.


Carisa VIVI Towel Radiator

The Carisa VIVI is a towel radiator with a design so original you won’t be able to take your eyes off it. The staggered design means that not only do you get maximum surface area but enough space for multiple towels to dry on!


Reina Lioni Towel Radiator

A bold design for a bold bathroom, Designer Radiators Direct brings you the Reina Lioni. This curvy lined steel and polished mirror radiator is perfect for the bathroom. On top of this you can enjoy a stainless steel radiator frame and a beautiful and original design from these Italian designers, boasting everything you’d need form a towel rail.


Carisa Klips

Mixing abstract and functionality, the Carisa Klip is a simple and minimalist design which will add a swirl of character to your bathroom. Perfect for towel drying and a piece of art in and of itself, the Carisa Klip is a stainless-steel dash of innovation.


Hudson Reed Flat Panel

This black finish flat panel radiator is a genuine space saver in the bathroom. The stylish panel radiator is perfect for heating up both small and large bathroom spaces whilst made of the beautiful anthracite.


Reina Enna Towel Radiator

The Reina Enna is a stainless steel horizontal piece of artistry. This unique curved layout allows for added depth to the radiator game and will never fade into the background.

How To Get The Most Out Of Your Hallway Heating

Radiators can be found in every room in the house. But one we tend to forget about is the hallway.


People never think of the hallway as a room in and of itself. This is mainly because you never spend more than a few seconds at a time in one. They are connections you pass through on the way to somewhere else. Unlike the living room or the kitchen, the hallway has no function other than to get you somewhere else, much like the roads of a property. They are a means to an end, not a destination. So why bother heating a hallway? What would the point be? If you heat all the other rooms in a house during those cold months, then the hallway would not need to be heated, right?


Why you should heat a hallway

Let’s take the living room as an example of an oft-used room in the home. If you’re using the living room on a cold day you may turn on your Central Heating Radiators to warm the place up. The family snuggled round the TV, keeping cosy, your favourite show on TV. But then, the door swings ajar and the heat is sucked out, leaving a vacuum of cold in the living room. Without a heated hallway this can happen in many rooms, acting as a buffer between the room and the hall way. Whatever your rooms need in heat, a well heated hallway can optimise your home.


Tips for hallway heating

The hallway is an area which needs to be heated correctly so as to save you time and money. If you’re planning on installing a radiator into your hallway, then there are some other factors you must keep in mind so as to optimise the performance of your heated hallway.



Before you go about installing a radiator, make sure that your home is well insulated. This goes for not only the hallway but the rest of the home as well. Start with the windows in your hallway. If you do have windows, many older variations of houses will have installed large windows which are very easy to drain the heat from your home. If you consider double glazing this can be amended completely, or for the large windows a thicker glass which has been reinforced. On top of this, consider the way in which your ceilings may affect heat. If you have higher ceilings in your corridor you may loose heat to the basic concept of height. Heat rises, and this can leave you with a rather draughty corridor.


What type of radiator?

Most corridors are narrow, and making sure that the radiator fits the space and doesn’t take up walking room is vital. Many people may use your corridor, especially if your home is busy or you are entertaining guests. Don’t let your radiator get in the way; install a thinner one which, at the same time, will be pleasing to the eye. Whether this means a smaller panel radiator which hugs the wall and is still a bold aesthetic choice or a horizontal radiator which blends into the background is up to you. Consider the décor of your hallway and how this could affect the place you install your radiator. If you have a photo frames, shelving units or décor in your hallway, think about how the radiator might interact with the art. You don’t want a hallway which is too “loud” or overcrowded with focal points.


Door’s loose heat too

Doors are a regular attribute to a hallway. After all, the hallway is the passage into all the other areas of your home. With the doorway, you can often loose heat to draughts and doors opening. The cracks under a door can lose heat as well, and can waste all of the effort with which you made in installing these new radiator units. The thickness of your door will also affect the heat as well, using the best wood and the right fittings will help you to ensure maximum heat efficiency I your hallway.



British Thermal Units are the unit of measurement with which you find the optimum heating requirement s for a room. Always check the BTU output of any radiator you use and work out whether this is right for your hallway, albeit any area of your property. Height and furnishings in the hallway can affect the heat output as well. Making sure that you have measured the BTU of your hallway will help you to work out what would be needed and what would therefore be overkill for heating.





Best radiators for heating hallways

So what would be the best radiators to heat a hallway? You don’t want a radiator which heats slowly and over a longer period of time, this would be more useful in a room in your property. You would also rather have a radiator which heats up quickly and is space saving for your corridor. This leaves you with easy to install units such as aluminium radiators, panel radiators and horizontal radiators which will help you to heat efficiently and save space at the same time.


Keeping these points in mind, the height fo your hallway, the BTU of your home and the space your using up with the radiator, will help you to keep your hallways efficient and great value.

Why You Should Consider A Coloured Radiator

We all know about the various materials which radiators can be made with, but what about the coloured radiator?


With the range of materials out there for radiator manufacture, the possibilities are truly boundless. The fact that we can now make radiators out of anthracite, stainless steel and even aluminium has meant that we are at a point where the colours are becoming more and more complex and striking. Especially with companies like Designer Radiators Direct, there is a huge range of original and beautiful designs and colour schemes which can both heat your home and make it look unique. So why should you think about a coloured radiator for your home and how does it affect the heating output?


How to paint your radiator

You may want to paint your radiator for a variety of reasons. Some old radiators which have had their original sheen stripped away over the years may start sticking out and if you are one who wants their radiator to blend into the background or you’re looking for a home makeover, this won’t help one bit. Whether it is because your old one has become weathered over time or just for your own aesthetic pleasure, there are a few things you should consider first. Before even considering painting your radiator, make sure that it has been stripped, sanded and cleaned. The relacquering process will not work properly if you don’t adhere to these prep steps first. Skipping these steps may mean your radiator won’t work to its optimum level and by then it’s too late, you’ve already painted it!


What range of colours is there?

The problem with painting an already existing radiator is how expensive colours can be. You can spend a lot of money on repainting a radiator and doing it properly can take a lot of time, not to mention the risk you run of debilitating your unit, wherever it is in your property. Instead of revamping an old radiator, it can often be cheaper in the long run to buy a completely new unit. You’re in luck if this is the road you decide to go down; Designer Radiator Direct has a huge range of radiators you can choose from which will help you to add a dash of colour to your room.


Polished Radiators

Polished radiators give your home that unique sheen which other colours and designs can’t compete with. Whether you’re installing a polished radiator for a kitchen, bathroom or living room, you’ll always find a place for the clean look of the polished radiator. The interior of a house can be nicely complemented by their glimmer and whilst eye catching, is always going to fit with the rest of your interior. These radiators are both on trend and timeless, the polished finish giving a crisp and clean look to your home or property. Although not technically a colour, a polished radiator does give a certain shade which other duller varieties can’t quite compete with.



Bisque radiators take their name from the colour of a certain unglazed pottery. Also known as biscuit coloured, the name comes from the wholesome brown glaze adding a texture and depth to your radiator which is rarely seen elsewhere. Whether you’re looking for a fixture for your room which catches the eye or complements your interior, the bisque radiator is always there for the right room. Coming in many different varieties of shapes and size, the bisque works best as a piece in and of itself, the perfect porcelain earthiness brings a rustic feel to the home. Not all homes crave a futuristic metallic glimmer, but instead may benefit from this relatively modern yet nostalgic design.



Grey radiators are a breath of fresh air from the normalised white design. Whilst keeping itself subtle, there is a great character to be found within a grey radiator. What’s more, a grey radiator is able to fit perfectly and seamlessly into almost any homes interior. With many different shades to choose from, the grey radiator is warm, smooth and subtle. A lick of grey paint may be what stands between your old chipped radiator unit and a breath of new life into your home.



Bring that industrial kick back into your home with a metallic radiator. Whether made of steel, aluminium or iron, the metallic bare bones allure of these radiators shows you exactly what you’re getting. For a great honest radiator, the metallic radiator boasts strength and straddles the line between futuristic gleam and industrial strength.



Most commonly found in the anthracite and chrome radiators, this jet black rendition of the modern radiator is an eye catcher in its mere pitch darkness. You can’t get any blacker than charcoal, which in its own name hints at heat. This is one for those who want their radiators to be bold, eye catching and a great conductor of heat.

Read it on the grapevine: winter doesn’t have to be curtains for houseplants

Sadly, winter’s often not just to prove a death-knell to most living things outside in gardens, but too often for those indoors too – specifically, a worryingly large number of houseplants. Suddenly, as soon as the weather turns and the temperatures drop outdoors it seems to become harder to look after and keep alive our plants indoors, however carefully curated they’ve been throughout the rest of the year. So, how instead can you ensure your houseplants thrive this winter…?



Do houseplants need more watering in the winter?

No; this is a common misconception. In fact, experts believe that one of the most common ways in which homeowners manage to inadvertently kill their houseplants in the colder months of the year is by overwatering them. They don’t require much more water in winter than they do at any other time of the year – except perhaps in what’s the ‘growth season’ for many of them (January-February), when some may a little more watering. But there’s no reason at all to go crazy.



What about warmth? Plants prefer it, right?

So, watering a plant doesn’t particularly compensate for colder temperatures and neither actually does turning your heating up to full whack. We humans may like to be nice and cosily warm, even toasty in the winter, but plants aren’t so hot on being hot. Sure, some like cactuses don’t have that much of a problem with it, but many can die if the room in which they’re kept is constantly warm in the winter. Something important to consider. All that said, indoorsy plants (that is, those you may keep on a balcony) are no fan of freezing temperatures, so be sure to bring them inside come winter.



What if your home lacks much natural light?

Should you live in a basement flat or your home isn’t on the light and airy side, then yes, it’s not ideal territory for indoor plants – especially during the winter when, obviously, there’s less natural light. However, you can overcome any issue this may cause by turning to a smart synthetic lighting system; there are several on the market that are relatively easy to get hold of from major hardware outlets. Furthermore, don’t forget to feed your plants – and that doesn’t just mean via water. There’s specialist plant food available nowadays in the shape of indoor plant fertiliser (don’t worry, it won’t pong out your home!).



What if my home is damp – especially in winter?

Far from all plants are averse to damp conditions; indeed, some rather enjoy being kept moist, such as ferns, fittonia and oxalis triangularis, which may well thrive in such an environment. Alternatively, cactuses definitely prefer drier homes. If damp’s not such an issue, but varying temperatures are – that’s to say that in wintertime your house or apartment’s very warm when you’re home but relatively cold when you’re not – what effect is that likely to have on houseplants? Well, most of them are pretty hardy, but unlikely to thrive when placed in cold drafts, so it’s best to keep them away from windows that you regularly open and close. That said, it’s also a good idea not to keep them too close to radiators either, as this may ensure they get too hot.



Generally speaking, what are the best houseplants for winter?

If may be that, unfortunately, house-bound plants you’ve previously owned haven’t fared well in winter and made it through to the spring and so you’re wondering what kinds of plant to go for as replacements. Well, the likes of sanseveria or a zamioculcas zamfolia (ZZ plant) are good, solid candidates. In most cases, they tend to be particularly hardy things and are known to thrive even when neglected.

Foiling the heat loss menace: how foil can prevent wasted radiator energy

Yes, it may seem a never-ending task trying to keep gas and electricity bills down, but aside from installing the latest hardware to ensure your heating system works as efficiently as possible, thoroughly insulating your attic and changing energy companies every now and again to get the most value-for-money deal, what can you do? Well, there is something you can definitely do and, believe it or not, it’s pretty much cheap as chips and very basic. Because, yes, it involves attaching tin foil – or the equivalent – to the wall behind your radiators.


What? Yes, you read that right. The theory – and it appears to be a proven one too – goes that as much as 70 percent of the heat generated by a radiator could be absorbed by its adjoining wall rather than circulated about a room in an effective and efficient manner. That, of course, would leave just a measly 30 percent of the energy a radiator produces actually doing anything worthwhile. If this is true, it’s an incredible waste of energy – and of your money!



How does it work?

Attaching tin (or silver or even specialist) foil to the wall behind a radiator then aims to radically reduce lost heat by reflecting that otherwise wasted heat back beyond the unit and into the room where it should mingle with the rest of the air to warm the environment and keep its occupants nice and cosy. And save them having to use so much energy to power the radiator and heat the room in the first place.


And, as noted, those in the know suggest that this is an energy-saving activity that can be performed perfectly well by the homeowner themselves; it’s entirely DIY-friendly. Indeed, they suggest wrapping said foil around bits of cardboard (to give the thing some shape and rigidity) and then simply affixing it in place against the wall. That said, it’s worth pointing two things.


First, before starting, it’s a little pointless if you haven’t ascertained whether your radiators may also be obstructed by a curtain hanging down in front of them, items of furniture standing before them or clothes/ towels drying on them a lot of the time. And, second, it’s worth pointing out that the UK’s respected Energy Saving Trust reckons that using foil to bounce any lost heat from a radiator back into a room isn’t at all worth doing if your home already has insulation in its wall cavities; presumably because this insulation ought to be doing the job adequately enough already.


Materials you’ll need

So, if you fancy yourself something of a DIY-capable sort and, instead of seeking out foil manufactured for this purpose at your local hardware shop or online, want to give crafting a reflecting foil shield of your own a go (don’t worry, it should work for any kind of radiator type; whether yours are modern, compact units or old-fashioned cast iron radiators), these are the materials you ought to gather together for the job:






  • Cardboard/ corrugated card
  • Reflective tin/ silver-coated foil
  • A long ruler
  • A pencil
  • A pen (to annotate measurements etc. on the reflective foil; if necessary)
  • A craft knife
  • Glue or ‘electrician’s tape’ (ideally in a shade that won’t offset the room’s décor)
  • A surface on which to cut out the foil and cardboard (i.e. old newspapers).



How to install the foil

  • Measure and make a note of the radiator’s length and width
  • Mark out these dimensions on the cardboard/ corrugated card and cut it out
  • Mark out the dimensions – although *one inch more* all the way around – on the foil and cut it out
  • Stick/ tape the foil to the cardboard/ card, flip it over and stick down/ tape the overlapping foil to the other side
  • Attach your card/ foil panel in place to the wall behind the radiator; if glue doesn’t suffice, you may consider nailing/ screwing it in place on the wall.

Hot water no show? How to tell (and what to do) if your radiator’s blocked

When you’ve a problem with a radiator – or more than one in your central heating system – it’s natural to conclude there’s either an issue with pipework or individual radiators; for instance, maybe one or more of them are blocked? If a blockage is the problem then, how can you be sure and what can you do about it…?


What may cause a blocked radiator?

There are several reasons why one or more of your radiators gets blocked:

  • Do you live in a hard water area? If so, limescale could build up in your radiators; similar to how it does in a kettle
  • If the central heating system experiences internal corrosion, you may find black sludge will form and congregate
  • Should a chemical reaction occur between hot water and copper piping
  • If there’s a chemical reaction between the air, water and the metalwork of your home’s central heating system
  • If rusting takes place within a radiator or several of your system’s radiators.

What are the symptoms of a blocked radiator?

If you fear there may be a blockage in one or more of your radiators, look out for the following signs – if you can tick any of them off, you may well be right:

  • Is one – or more – of your radiators not warm/ hot all over (say, fine at the top but cold at the bottom)?
  • Are the pipes to your radiators hot but the units themselves stone-cold?
  • Is it taking an age for your radiators to heat up?
  • Does your central heating system’s pump keep on failing?
  • Are your central heating system’s valves constantly sticking or have you had to replace more than one of them recently?
  • When you bleed a radiator (to try to address a problem you’ve discovered), does any water come out? If not, you could well have a blockage
  • Are there tiny ‘pinhole’ leaks in a radiator or two? If so, a blockage could well have caused corrosion inside and, in turn, brought about the leaks
  • Is one or more of your radiators overly noisy?

How can you unblock a radiator?

Experts suggest there are different methods you can try to unblock a radiator – or more – in your system. Some of these require more technical knowledge and expertise than others, though; so, you may conclude it’s best to call on the services of a reliable, professional heating engineer.


First off, should one of your radiators be taking longer to heat up than the others in the system – or isn’t doing so at all – you might want to try balancing the circuit. This would require adding a system cleaner to the header tank (or, should yours be a combi system, injecting the cleaner into the filling loop). Following this, give the system a few weeks to settle down, for the cleaner to circulate throughout the system and radiators, before draining-down and flushing it through with mains-pressure water. Note that if you apply such cleaning fluid to a single radiator (if you’ve isolated just one as being a problem), then it may well help clear out dirty water from the unit, but may not remove a blockage.


Alternatively, if you do believe a single radiator has an issue, then you can ask a professional engineer to remove it from the wall and, via a hosepipe connected to your home’s mains water supply, remove the blockage by draining it out with water. That said, this technique may not remove a very stubborn blockage.



How can you prevent a blockage happening in the first place?

Well, aside from filling your home entirely with non-water-powered heat sources (for instance, wall mounted electric radiators), you could try installing a central heating power-flush to remove sludge and prevent it from coming back in future – although, be warned; experts claim this can produce very mixed results – or you might turn to putting a central heating filter in place.


Above all else, though, make sure that your system’s boiler and tank are installed up to standard; if so and all appears correctly fitted, it should significantly reduce the chances of anything entering the system that shouldn’t and causing a blockage.