Chris Harvey, Head of Marketing at Stelrad, explains why he believes that radiators will continue to play a vital role in the heating systems of the future.

Times they are a changing in the UK heating sector, and it looks as if the recent announcement by government that no fossil-fuelled heating systems will be allowed in newbuild properties after 2025 is just the starting point for a renewables revolution that will transform the UK heating industry as the country heads towards zero carbon status. 

The much vaunted option of hydrogen by boiler manufacturers is a gallant effort, but is a long way off because of the infrastructure required to support it, as well as the fact that even a 30% hydrogen mix with natural gas only saves around 8% of emissions – hardly likely to be acceptable when there are far better and more effective renewable heating options available and proven already.

The development of lower temperature heating systems, utilising renewable heating appliances – such as ground source and air source heat pumps – has given the heating sector a challenge, but it’s one it has risen to and is able to respond to effectively. But where do the components we have got to know and love over the years fit into the future of heating?

When it comes to radiators, as well as developing aesthetically pleasing systems, manufacturers have developed models and series that meet specific requirements, including a whole range of special application products that offer additional robustness in certain applications, that offer additional rust resistance in areas of high humidity, or are ‘safe to touch’ – LSTs – and improve safety for elderly, young, and vulnerable people. 

Vertical radiators have become far more popular in recent years and will work well with renewable heating systems too, with a huge number of new designs and sizes helping to provide the larger radiators with larger metal surfaces needed by the renewable heating options. 

Thankfully, vertical radiators come with a much-reduced horizontal footprint to slot into smaller wall areas in a room, in nooks and crannies, in corridors, and in kitchens and bathrooms where wall space is at a premium, to provide the levels of heat required without taking up large wall areas that will cause confrontation with furniture and other décor in these rooms. 

Much thought has gone into the latest radiator developments and it’s all to ensure that radiators are ‘fit for the future’ – able to continue providing the levels of heat required in homes to keep everyone comfortable and cosy. 

Installers will welcome the fact that they can continue to select radiators as the prime way of sharing heat around a home. In fact, many installers are installing radiators on almost a daily basis and it will be no doubt be a relief that, once they have undertaken training to install heat pumps, the additional equipment will be very similar to the products they have been installing on traditional boiler-driven systems all their careers.