Do radiator covers block heat?
If you think your radiator is a bit of eyesore, then radiator covers can hide it away, keep your children safe, and even give you some extra space for ornaments. You're here wondering if radiator covers block the heat? After all, the radiator is covered, so surely efficiency will be reduced?
Here’s the thing, well-designed radiator covers can actually increase efficiency. That’s because they include a reflective backing that funnels the heat back out the front. The top of the cover even stops the heat going straight to the ceiling. So long as the cover has a sufficient opening in front of the radiator, the heat will be able to escape.
You can learn more about them in our guide to radiator cover costs.
As a Joinery I have made and fitted many rad covers over the years. They do tend to affect the temperature of the room despite being well vented. The main problem is thermostatic valves tend to sense the heat built up inside the cover which is always greater than that of the room outside. Therefore the heat of the room is lower because it is determined and controlled by the heat inside the cover. I'm no plumber but I've seen in the past radiators with covers fitted with something that looks like a feeler tube sensor, this discreetly pokes out of the cover and senses the temperature of the actual room rather than that inside the cover, this then controls the radiator to heat in the room accordingly. I hope that makes sense!
Exactly as @ChelseaDave has said. In an ideal situation you’d have the thermostatic valves outside the cover, aesthetically (which is usually why you have covers in the first place) this doesn’t look great and defeats the object. You can get thermostatic valves with a more sensor/phial so it can sense the actual room temperature. Obviously, it will affect efficiency to some degree anyway as the heat is blocked and not free flowing into the room.
As for covers with reflective backing etc, this would help a great deal but most people just opt for the cheapest DIY kits that don’t involve any of this.
Last edited by RJHeating; 09-02-22 at 10:24. Reason: Adding information
I don't really agree with reflective backings etc as all this will do is build up the heat inside the cover further, which basically defeats the point of the radiator cover being a decorative piece of furniture to hide something that tends to look ugly. The radiator covers I make have airflow via skirting/plinth (cold in) and a slot in the top (warm out) where the radiator meets the back wall. This method seems to circulate the air and make the cover expel the heat more efficiently.
Great question ✅
Simple answer is yes heat from the radiator is radiated from the front of the radiator as well as upward, imagine placing a sofa in front of it.
On every job ive done i always recommend a good quality reflective foil is fitted to both the wall & underside of the shelf detail.
This reduces the heat being absorbed into the wall behind it.
1 Yes it restricts heat
2. Install high quality reflective foil
3. Paint everything inside the radiator cover natt black this helps camouflage it if you can see it through the fancy grill/front
4. yes I highly recommend them
I used decorate lots for a London architect
who would design the most amazing radiator covers for the clients he would be creating amazing homes.
Some would be from Oak - Mahogany - Walnut french polished,
Some softwood & painted, some would have special effects - like marble or Tortoise shell or Zebra skin effect
Some made from Marble - Granite.
Radiator covers can become a fantastic focal point in any room.
I like your comments regarding the thermostat really great advice……✅
The covers I’ve decorated have aways had a solid top shelf with an open front/face slot design - sometime turned spheres to give an effect the shelf is balanced on them.
the skirting detail always was made exactly the same as the room with a scrolled cut out for cold air intake
be great to see a few of your designs?
Hi Wayne, I’m afraid I’ve tried to load some examples of the radiator covers I make and fit but unfortunately the site keeps informing me that the images are too big. Therefore I welcome visits to my listing Woodwork By David J Law postcode DY2 9AP to view them in my furniture album.