How to calculate the power of a radiator?

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It takes approx. 3 minutes to read this article

Power, represented in the number of watts, is a parameter that allows you to choose the right radiator. Knowing its value, you can determine whether the radiator will generate enough heat to warm a given space. How to calculate it?

Why is the correct determination of power important?

Calculating the required power is essential for efficient heating. Proven formulas are available to help specify what specific number of watts will be appropriate for a given space.

Often you will find that the best solution is to simply choose a heating system with the highest possible wattage. This is supposed to translate into efficiency and reduce the time to bring the temperature in the room to the desired level. However, this is not true.

If the temperature in one room is at a much higher level than in neighboring rooms with the same heating system, overheating will occur and proper operation will be impossible. Therefore, it is necessary to properly determine the capacity of the radiator – separately for each room, in order to use its potential according to demand. 

A proven way to calculate the capacity of the radiator

To begin with, you need to determine the volume of the room where the radiator will be installed. The result is expressed in cubic meters and consists of the length, width and height of the space multiplied. The next step is to choose the right temperature for a particular room. 

Basic information is available on the suggested demand relative to the characteristics of the space. It is worth mentioning that these are guidelines, not unconditional recommendations. 

The recommended temperatures and watt requirements are presented as follows:

  • kitchen: 20℃ and 77 watts;
  • bathroom: 24℃ and 93 watts;
  • bedroom: 18℃ and 70 watts;
  • Living room: 22℃ and 85 watts.

Correction factor – adjusting power to demand

Each house has individual thermal characteristics. This is affected by the degree of insulation, as well as other correction factors. For example, requirements will vary depending on whether you need to heat a new, tightly insulated house or an old property with cavities in the facade or thermal insulation layer.

The demand is also affected by the location of the property. The recommended wattage for corner and detached buildings will be higher, as will be the case for rooms where the elderly or children function. Therefore, correction factors are applied, subtracting and adding a percentage from the resulting power output:

  • poor wall insulation: +15%;
  • corner and detached house: +10%;
  • need for about 2℃ more heat: +10%;
  • tight insulation of building walls: -10%.

What are the most commonly installed types of radiators?

It is also worth finding out what the varieties of radiators actually are. The first group is central heating devices. These are standard metal tanks that are filled with water at the right temperature, generated by the boiler. In this case, the heat is distributed around the room, depending on the material of manufacture, size and type of construction.

The second popular variety are electric heaters. Their content is a liquid, sometimes thermoactive, heated by a circuit connected to electricity. They can be connected both directly to the main power source and to an electrical outlet.

The last variety is used primarily in bathrooms and is used, for example, for drying towels. We are talking about dual-fuel radiators connected to the central heating system, in which the power supply from the electric grid is placed. 

main photo: unsplash.com/Sigmund

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