Alex Bradley, Operations Manager at MHS Radiators, explains the enduring appeal of cast iron and column radiators.
There’s no doubt that certain styles of radiator better suit the décor in particular interiors. For instance, a sculptural designer radiator works well in a large contemporary space, and a flat panel one fits perfectly in a modern apartment.
However, while the appearance and style of a cast iron or column radiator may seem more reminiscent of a stately home than a contemporary newbuild to some, they are actually products that have come into their own in recent years, helped along by the industrial interiors trend pioneered by the likes of Pinterest.
These days the products can look just as at home in an open-plan loft setting, as they do in a terraced house, or even a Victorian school building. But that’s not the only reason that these products have managed to retain their popularity.
The performance of a cast iron radiator is as enduring as its classic looks. It may take a while longer to heat up but, equally, it takes more time to cool down and is able to retain its warmth to the benefit of its surroundings long after a boiler has been turned off. Cast iron radiators also produce a gentle, radiant heat and, as the traditional-style radiator comprises many columns with curved edges, it maximises surface area and the overall heat being produced. The radiators have a high specific heat capacity and, as such, the energy required to heat one up is higher than with other materials.
In order to ensure that the boiler is running efficiently, the use of thermostatic radiator valves is highly recommended, so the flow of water through the radiator is reduced when the temperature goes above a certain setting. If the valves are set to a certain level, then less energy will be used, which is good news for the homeowner footing the bill. MHS Radiators has a fully stocked supply of valves in traditional designs that complement the product when it comes to style and finish, and also ensure that it runs efficiently and effectively. For instance, the Chartwell valve range is cast in solid brass to accompany traditional cast iron or column products.
It is perfectly straightforward to replace a modern panel radiator with a cast iron one, but it is always recommended to complete a heat output calculator first to ensure the size of radiator is correctly matched to the room. Most cast iron products operate to a maximum working pressure of 6bar.
Column products are a cost-effective and much lighter alternative to cast iron radiators, while looking convincingly like them. For instance, the Multisec from MHS Radiators is available in depths from two to six columns, and heights from 207mm to 2,500mm, and from three up to 50 sections. It is fabricated from 25mm-diameter tubes with a thickness of 1.2mm steel, and all radiators have a maximum working pressure of 10 bar. Just as cast iron products come in sections, and can be built up to a size consisting of around 40 sections, column radiators are even more adaptable and can go up to 50 sections.
Traditional-style multi-column radiators are more versatile than some might expect. They are available in either wall-mounted or floor-standing versions, with the latter usually supplied with fixed feet as standard, although optional loose insertable feet are also available. When it comes to the finish of cast iron or multicolumn radiators, they come in a broad choice of metallic finishes, from Pewter or Gun Metal, right through to Bronze or Antique Gold.
For a statement look, they can be painted in any RAL colour to blend in with their surroundings, or create a bright colour pop for some dramatic contrast. For a luxury touch, models such as the Liberty and Burlington from MHS also come in a range of embossed finishes, with ornate, scrolled relief designs on the surface for a truly authentic finish.
Installers looking for a product that will stand the test of time when it comes to both style and performance might find cast iron or multi-column radiators are an ideal choice.