What to Look Out for When buying Cast Iron Radiators

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A cast iron radiator is one of those items that can help turn a house into a home when it looks just right. The rustic nature and classic design, matched with a radiator that looks like it will never let you down, makes cast iron a suitable choice in most living rooms and hallways. And while it’s easier said than done to get one, when you are in the market and shopping around for cast iron radiators, what should you know? Are there any red flags to be aware of? And is there anything you need to do at home to ensure your radiator will fit in and work as planned?

To help make finding your ideal radiator easier, here is what to look out for when buying cast iron radiators.

Second hand is usually a no-go

Spotted a cast iron radiator in a vintage store or yard and thought the price makes it a bargain? Be extremely wary of second hand cast iron radiators, especially if they’ve been painted over. While a decent model can last for decades, you want to make sure that a second hand product hasn’t been left to the elements or is showing signs of rust and oxidation.

If it’s a yard sale, ask if you can get a hose and run water through it. The seller might look perplexed, but a quick flush of water will help you see if there are any holes or cracks which aren’t immediately noticeable.

New cast iron isn’t always expensive

There is a preconception that cast iron radiators are always expensive. This isn’t true. Just look at these cast iron radiators from Trade Radiators. You can get a traditional-looking radiator, with all the mod cons, for the same price as a decent convector radiator or towel rail.

If you are shopping and see that cast-iron radiators are sold as a “premium” product, don’t fall for a hefty price tag. Even if you don’t know radiators, when shopping, look at product specs like the number of sections and dimensions, then have a quick Google (not the product name) to see similar products cost online. You’ll often find there is a better deal to be had.

Cast Iron takes longer to heat up

Cast iron may be powerful, but don’t think it will heat up in an instant. Think of it as boiling water in a pot; watch it, and nothing will happen. Cast iron is denser, which means it needs a little longer to get warm and heat a room. If you want to heat a room super-fast, aluminium is a good choice. Keep in mind though, due to the denseness, cast iron also takes longer to cool down, so it can keep a room warmer for longer.

Make sure your wall can take it Modern panel radiators do have one slight advantage over older models; they’re lighter. Why would that matter? If you are hanging a cast iron radiator on a wall, you need to make sure the wall can take it. Most cast iron radiators will have supporting feet to keep it in place and take most of the weight, but you would still need wall stays which keep a radiator in place.

It should be fine on any brick or plaster, but double-check if an older wall will be able to support it.

Account for pipe centres

If you have spotted your ideal cast iron radiator in a store and want it, did you remember to bring your measuring tape and check pipe centres? Some cast iron will tend to have protruding pipe entries that jut out, which affects the measurement for your pipe centres. Double-check they will match your current radiator centres, or else you might have to get someone who can adjust pipes and do some work pulling up floorboards; a costly endeavour that can be avoided with a simple tape measure.

That’s pretty much the basics covered when looking at what to watch out for when buying a new radiator. Thanks for taking the time to read, and remember, you can get more advice like this in the home & garden section.

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