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Does the colour of your radiator affect its heat output?

Discussing coloured radiator performance

When it comes to coloured radiators, one of the first questions people ask is whether the colour has an influence on heat output or not. In short, it doesn’t affect it enough to warrant any special considerations at all.

Generally, a radiator’s heat output will only be significantly manipulated in accordance with the reflectiveness of their finish. Shiny surfaces aren’t particularly conducive to heat conduction. So the shinier a radiator is, the lower heat output it will provide.

Chrome or polished steel models offer significantly reduced heat emissions in comparison with identical models with a paint finish, for example. Coloured rads finished with paint will tend to produce a 25% or so higher heat output.

Strictly speaking in scientific terms, matt black is the very most efficient colour choice. However, the difference in heat output between this style and a white radiator, for instance, would only be around 1%.

Then, there’s the concern that black radiators might only retain heat better than other colours, rather than distribute it throughout the room. Like we said, it really isn’t worth worrying about in relation to the efficiency difference between black paint and white paint.

Milano Aruba Black Horizontal Designer Double Radiator

Energy savings with coloured radiators

Of course, any sort of energy savings are not to be sniffed at. But with such a minimal contrast in the energy efficiency of different coloured rads, there are better areas to focus on to trim your heating bills.

Essentially, you can select whichever coloured design you would like to make for a statement style feature in your home – just make sure you choose the right size.

Use a BTU Calculator to decipher the heating requirements of the room you’re looking to populate, and seek out your preferred choice of appropriate dimensions.

Red, blue, green, yellow, orange, purple, pink. The options within BestHeating’s own coloured radiator collection have no differential with regards to heat output. But the size must be right to make for a worthwhile investment.

If you just adopt a gung-ho approach and go for the first radiator you see in your favourite colour, you run the risk of selecting something with a much higher heat output than you require. In turn, you’ll be lumbered with higher than necessary heating bills.

Just be smart about the amount of heat you need to achieve a comfortable space, and you’ll win in every way with a coloured rad.

Close up zoomed in shot of Milano Aruba Pink Horizontal Designer Radiator on colourful patterned wall

Can painting a radiator influence its heat output?

There is an alternative option for those wanting to add a dash of colour to their home heating without splashing out on a fancy new coloured heating appliance. Namely, painting your own existing radiators.

But can painting your device affect the level of heat output it provides? Curtail high emissivity? Well, in terms of influence on heat output, radiators to which you apply your own coat of paint could be more heavily impacted.

The type of paint you opt for is key. Metallic paints, most commonly used for painting radiators, feature a pigment with small metal flakes, and will typically contribute to a shiny finish.

You can probably guess then, that this sort of paint will have a greater bearing on how much heat your rad emits in comparison with a component painted with non-metallic paints.

Non-metallics have a pigment made of oxides or other metal compounds. They can be sourced in all sorts of colours, so if retaining the level of heat output you currently enjoy is important to you, there isn’t really any drawbacks to using thin layers of non-metallic paint.

In all honesty, only the final layer of paint applied will leave any sort of noticeable imprint on your radiator’s performance, and how much radiant heat it provides. But as would be the case with a brand new shiny device, a radiator finished with metallic paint will not emit as much heat as one painted with non-metallic paint.

a radiator with paint splashes all over the top of it

Does the colour of a radiator matter?

In terms of heat output, not so much at all. Only rads with shiny finishes like chrome, bronze or stainless steel emit significantly less heat than other coloured radiator options.

But in the grand scheme of things, of course the colour of a radiator matters!

Now more than ever, you can make a luxury style statement with your home heating – radiators can represent an eye-catching feature as opposed to a simple means to keep your house warm.

So be brave and be bold with your colour choice. Go for something that will cause interior envy amongst your mates, and don’t concern yourself so much with the miniscule difference in the amount of heat generated by different models.

Your radiator colour choice can be reflective of your personality, so basic instinct might play a part in which version of coloured rad you lean towards. Just go with it – it’s ultimately you who’ll be living with your choice.

And with the colour selection having so little effect on its heat output, personal preference should be the biggest factor in your coloured radiator decision.

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