The Radiator Placement Paranoia: Ever Wondered Why Your Radiators Are Placed Near The Windows?


Radiator Positioning Paranoia

Ever felt that heavenly warmth in your room at winter times? Thank the radiator that keeps your room at the optimum temperature and prevents your transformation into a snowman. It’s been a few months since I shelved my thermodynamics books. My curious mind started wondering about the radiator placement and found some cool stuff about it. While the radiator placement is purely for applied usage of space, I did find something quite interesting about it. It deals a little thermodynamics (quite a lot).

Radiators are usually the heat sources that heat up the environment through a process of convective heat transfer (The transfer of heat through fluids). Most of the radiators are placed near the windows for aiding this heat transfer via the fluid molecules, in this case, the air molecules. So to heat up the room consistently, you would want to place it right next to your source of incoming draft, your windows. The reason is, this placement actually heats the air that comes into your room and makes the room warmer. But when you approach the radiator, you could feel the place a little warmer and you might actually wonder if the heat is lost. Indeed yes! The heat is lost, which is the penalty to keep the room at a uniform temperature. This positioning, also prevents the heat being lost from the room to the outer cool temperature. This maintains the temperature gradient.

There is this other case, where the radiator is placed in the middle of the room (which is not likely to be seen). This might actually keep the heat loss minimum, but would cause some undesirable current of air that might end up granting the admission of the cold air due to the largest temperature gradient in the room compared to the window placement. This will also prevent the loss and keep it down to minimum, as you are… well… literally sitting on the heat source… Ouch!

This post was first published on November 27, 2013.


Karthikeyan KC

Aeronautical engineer, dev, science fiction author, gamer, and an explorer. I am the creator of Geekswipe. I love writing about physics, aerospace, astronomy, and python. I created Swyde. Currently working on Arclind Mindspace.

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