Most of the radiators which are sold in Britain are created using mild steel, but the past few years has seen an increase in the use of both aluminium and stainless steel in radiator manufacture.
The use of aluminium is particularly interesting because of the potential energy savings on offer due to its efficiency in conducting heat. In fact, aluminium’s thermal conductivity is as much as five times better than mild steel. To find out more about thermal conductivity, visit
How the heat transfer works
Radiators made from aluminium transfer heat from water to air more quickly than steel radiators can, meaning that less heated water is needed from your boiler. It also means that the radiators can respond faster when you want to change the temperature in the room. This results in less heat being wasted.
Aluminium radiators, from the likes of http://apolloradiators.co.uk/Category/3/header/3/radiator-ranges, are still a relatively new phenomenon in the UK and quantifiable data relating to potential energy savings is not readily available – yet. The amount saved will also depend on location, but some experts are predicting savings of between five and ten per cent on your yearly heating bill.
Other environmental benefits
Radiators made from aluminium also offer other benefits, not least because they are created using recycled material. They also need a reduced water content, making the possibility of small radiators simple. This may be particularly useful if you need to use them with a low temperature system such as ground-source pumps, as it removes the need for very large radiators to make up for the water temperatures.
All of these benefits may be making you wonder why all radiators are not now made from aluminium. Of course, there are some downsides to aluminium, although often the many positives on offer will far outweigh the negatives that do exist.
One of the major issues with aluminium is that it is less flexible and weaker than steel, which limits the way in which it can be manufactured. Straight profiles are only possible, without loops and bends, and this obviously affects the type of radiator designs which can be created using the metal.
Another point to note is that when having radiators made from aluminium in your heating system, you should have a mixed system inhibitor fitted, so make sure to tell your plumber of your plans.