Radiator Tips Every Dad Should Know


It’s getting to that season folks. It’s pumpkin this and that in all the stores, while it is most definitely jacket weather. It also happens to be the time of year where I suddenly gain more interest than ever in the radiators around the house.

No matter what room I go in to, I have to stop and give each radiator a good pat down before pretending I know what those numbers on the valve means (I’ll get to that in a second).

Whether your toolbox looks like it’s directly from the set of Home Improvement (I still can’t do that noise Tim Allen does) or you have a tiny box tucked away with just about a hammer and screwdriver in there, every dad likes to think they’re adept when it comes to all thing DIY and home maintenance.

Not all of us are blessed with knowing the ins & outs of our radiators though. That’s why I want to highlight some radiator tips every dad should know; from better heat management to one tiny piece of kit which can save you a lot of money for years to come.

The Radiator Key Is Your Friend

Stop what you’re doing right now and buy a radiator key. Go on… I can wait. 

The humble little radiator key is something every dad, even if you’re terrible with tools, should have in the home. It’s an inexpensive little thing which can save you so much money when it comes to looking after radiators.

Unless you’re a radiator expert, you might be surprised to learn that radiators only come with a few years guarantee (most are around ten, but some can be as little as one or two).

Having a radiator key is the easiest way of preventing air building up inside the radiator, which leads to rusting and cold patches. Honestly, you can order one online for less than a cup of coffee, and using it every few months can save hundreds on having to buy new radiators too soon in the future.

Think Like A Professional

How often do you buy radiators? Like, once every five years at most? You’ll probably find yourself going to the big brand DIY store to do so.

But what do you think someone buying radiators every working day of the week does? If you’re a professional, you would look for trade stores that specialize in radiators.

For example, Trade Radiators (which you can check out here) is an online-only radiator store that helps professionals buy radiators in bulk and they can help you too. Because they’re selling to those who buy and use radiators all the time, they offer trade rates instead of what you’d see going to a big brand store.

Look out for trade stores that offer better deals, especially if you’re buying more than one radiator.

Finally, Know What Those Numbers Mean

Ok, this last tip is going to see any man go into serious DAD MODE if other people at home mess around with the radiator valves.

When you have the valves set to 4 or 5, what do you think is going on? If you guessed it was helping your room get warmer quicker, you have it all wrong. The numbers on the valve are an estimate of how hot you want a room to be. When they’re up at the higher numbers, you’re basically telling the radiator to get to 40°C/100°F or quit trying.

Yes, it has nothing to do with speed but all to do with achieving sub-tropical temperatures, which unless you have money to burn figuratively, is going to see your heating bills skyrocket for no reason at all.

So what can you do? Go from room to room and turn all the valves down to 1 or 2 and see if it makes a difference. If the room doesn’t get warm at all, turn it up a little. If your radiator is hot to touch, but the room isn’t, then the problem is with the size of the room and radiator not being big enough.

Trust me, a few weeks into turning the valves down, and you’ll soon notice that there will be hardly any difference, making for something of a masterstroke.

Want to be the DIY master in your home?

Get practical advice and improve your home by reading the latest DIY & Home Repair posts on the blog here.

Jeff Campbell

Jeff Campbell is a husband, father, martial artist, budget-master, Disney-addict, musician, and recovering foodie having spent over 2 decades as a leader for Whole Foods Market. Click to learn more about me

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