Where in the room should I put my radiators?
If you move into an older house, there’s a good chance you’ll find in many rooms that the radiators are positioned under the windows. Does that mean that’s the best place for them?
The answer is ‘maybe’, but possibly not.
Radiators came into the home well before double or triple glazing was a thing for the windows. And if you had single-glazed windows, they would generally let lots of cold air in, creating a really unpleasant draft.
In that situation, having radiators under the windows made a lot of sense. Since heat rises, the rising heat from the radiators would be distributed into and around the room by the draft coming in from the window, making the heat distribution quicker and more evenly dispersed. You were most directly introducing the heat into the coldest part of the room, and that reduced the number of cold spots there might be.
But that was then. Now, you probably have double glazing or better, so your windows won’t be the source of such drafts. If you don’t, then fitting double glazing will be way more important than where you site your radiators in improving the ambient temperature of your rooms.
Now the more practical question is what space in your room will not be obstructed by furniture? If you place an item of furniture in front of the radiator, then a lot of the heat from that radiator will be used raising the temperature of the item in front of it rather than circulating more widely in the room.
Sometimes the answer to that question is also … under the windows! In which case, there’s no reason why that shouldn’t still be the best place. And positioned under a window can be the least obtrusive place for it, depending on the decoration of the room.
If your well insulated windows aren’t letting in any drafts, is there anywhere else that is? If there’s a source of cold draughts, then nearby may be the best place to maximise the warmth in the room. And, of course, make sure you don’t put your radiator immediately underneath objects that may be sensitive to the heat, like original paintings.
The final thing to consider is that if you have a room you want to have looking particularly stylish, you’re not restricted purely to the standard radiator look. There are some more attractive looking models out there, both horizontal and vertical, that may fit into the room better without being an eyesore. And indeed may fit into a space you wouldn’t have thought of for a radiator. Shop around online to see what options there are.