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Remodeling 101: Wall-Panel Radiators

by LiveModern Webmaster last modified Jan 30, 2015 01:04 AM
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by Janet Hall last modified Jan 22, 2015

In Europe, radiators are the embodiment of quiet, gentle warmth and minimalism. Here, they have a reputation for being ineffectual and outdated. But this scenario is changing along with the profile of the radiator. No longer clunky, hissing pieces of iron that take up valuable space, modern wall-panel radiators are well-designed, quiet, efficient, and increasingly available in the US. Imagine a heating system that isn't seen or heard.  Above: Flat-panel radiators can replace bulky, cast-iron hot-water radiators to save space and increase heating efficiency. Photograph via  Runtal . How do wall-panel radiators work? Wall-panel (also called flat-panel) radiators work essentially the same way as old-fashioned radiators: Water is heated in a boiler and then flows through the panels to heat the surrounding air, radiating a warmth in the room. Note that wall-panel radiators are compatible only with "closed loop" hot-water (not steam) heating systems.  Above: Flat-panel radiators are also available with floor mounting as seen (though nearly invisible) in the London dining room of journalist and blogger  Kate Watson-Smyth . Photograph via  Mad About the House .  What are the benefits of wall-panel radiators?  Efficient heaters. Radiator heat is generally more efficient than forced-air systems, which lose upwards of 30 percent of their heat through the ductwork. Compared to traditional models, flat-panel radiators have a vastly increased surface area for giving off heat. They require a much lower water temperature to heat, and will only heat to the necessary temperature, keeping them safe to the touch. Flat-panel systems are also easy to zone, offering room-to-room temperature control with multiple thermostats. So you can limit energy waste and cost by heating select rooms rather than the whole house.  Clean. Radiators don't stir up dust like central forced-air systems. Quiet. No more hissing and hammering. Space-saving. Flat-panel radiators have a very low profile (some as slim as two inches) and can be mounted on unused sections of a wall, freeing up floor space. And compared to baseboard heaters, flat-panel radiators take up less wall space and make furniture placement less restrictive. Aesthetically pleasing. Their flexibility in placement and range of designs enables flat-panel radiators to be either nearly invisible or used as an architectural element.  Above: Starting from scratch? Wall-panel heating systems are initially more expensive to install than forced air, but the energy efficiency should result in cost savings over time. Photograph via Runtal . Where can I get wall-panel radiators?  The following are a few of our favorite options that are available in the US market. Most are also available in floor-mount and baseboard configurations, and come in a range of finishes and colors.  Above: Founded in 1953, Swiss company Runtal is known for its engineering expertise and architectural design. The  Runtal Arteplano Radiator is shown here in anodized aluminum. Contact Runtal USA for specifications and pricing. Above: Canadian company Jaga offers the Tetra Radiator and other models in the US; find a dealer on the Jaga website. Above: Belgian company Vasco makes the Arche-Plus Radiator  in horizontal and vertical configurations. Like many of the radiators shown here, it can also be outfitted with towel rails, towel rings, and robe hooks. In the US, the Vasco Arche line is available through Hydronic Alternatives .  Above: British company Hudson Reed offers a selection of wall-panel radiators, including the Sloan White Vertical-Panel Radiator , through its US website.  Above: Have a steam system?  Steam Radiators  (a sister company of Runtal) offer streamlined radiator designs that free up space.  Thinking about staying warm? See our posts: 5 Things to Know About Radiant Floor Heating . 5 Favorites: Space Heaters with Style . Remodeling 101: Tankless Water Heaters . 5 Quick Fixes: Painted Radiators . Note: This post is an update; the original was published on January 18, 2012, as part of the European Travel Issue . More Stories from Remodelista Remodeling 101: Lava Stone Countertops Design Sleuth: Simple Brass Napkin Rings (from the Hardware Store) Remodeling 101: Wood-Burning vs. Gas Fireplaces






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