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In our BestHeating Best Buddies blog series, we zone in on some of the less obvious fixtures, fittings and components that can make a bigger difference than you might imagine to your home heating world.

This particular blog will shine the spotlight on radiator tails, commonly abbreviated to ‘rad tails’ – which are a regular accompaniment to radiator valves adorning all sorts of designer radiators or heated towel rails.

Continue reading to find out all about rad tails, what they do and which type are best suited to specific heating appliances around the home.

What Are Rad Tails?

Rad tails, or radiator tails, are typically diminutive devices that are screwed into the bottom radiator tappings, or at the foot of a heated towel rail. Essentially, they are the connection point between the radiator or alternate heating device, and the valves which control their water flow.

Somewhat innocuous, radiator tails may need to be changed if a new type of valve has to be installed. Standard valve keys are usually used to dislodge rad tails when required, or Allen keys, universal keys and combination wrench options can be used to tend to some fittings.

Basically, rad tails can be thought of as a finishing detail for a radiator or towel rail, essential for encasing valves and making sure they can perform to their optimal capacity.

a woman turning a thermostatic radiator valve on a heating appliance

What Type Of Radiator Tails Are There?

Numerous different rad tail designs exist in a variety of shapes, sizes and colours to suit all sorts of radiators or other heating appliances. What’s more, there’s also a range of materials with which they can be constructed from for a premium performance as well as a lovely matching finish.

Chrome rounded rad tails manufactured from steel could be just the ticket for a character-laden cast iron radiator for instance, whilst black cubed plastic tails might represent a better alternative for a snazzy modern designer radiator.

Plus, the possibility exists to adjust radiator tails to some extent too, and ensure they make for the perfect fit for a radiator or towel rail. So you wouldn’t necessarily need to source fresh rad tails even if you decide to make an upgrade to your home heating devices over time.

Most commonly, you’ll find 15mm rad tails on the scene, with 15mm pipes also the most frequently found. However, radiator tail sizing can range between anywhere from 8mm to almost 30mm.

How Do You Alter Rad Tails?

Rad tails can be altered or adjusted with the use of a rad tail saw, and cut down to an appropriate size for your specific heating systems.

The best rad tail saw to use for such an activity comes in the form of a jigsaw, which is the most versatile version available, offering a propensity to trim both curved and straight lines with equal accuracy and consistency.

Furthermore, jigsaws can incorporate a multitude of different blades which will each be more conducive to contrasting materials and type of rad tail cutting you wish to implement. Especially in the case of cutting curved lines, jigsaws are the clear and obvious choice.

Once they have been cut to size, it is recommended that PFTE tape is applied along with jointing compound, just to ensure the tails are properly fitted and completely watertight.

In some instances meanwhile, a radiator tail extension might be required. To cover the distance between the foot of a floor-standing radiator and the floor itself, for example.

If so, rad extension tails can be sourced in lengths ranging between 10mm and 40mm, and it’s an extremely simple process to install them. Simply attach the radiator tail extension to the necessary rad tails and screw them in until tightened securely.

Close up of radiator valve and rad tail at foot of retro cast iron radiator

Get in touch with BestHeating

It isn’t difficult to find rad tails, and the likelihood is that your local hardware store will stock a range of them, in addition to all the components you might need to cut radiator tails to size, or for a rad tail extension.

If you would like any further help or information surrounding rad tails or any other heating details or devices though, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. You can leave your thoughts in the comments section below, or contact us via InstagramFacebook or Twitter.

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