Cast iron radiators for heating: making the right choice

Advantages and disadvantages of cast iron radiators

Today manufacturers offer a large range of radiators from different metals and alloys: bimetallic, aluminum, steel and cast iron. But, if you remember, in old buildings there were always cast-iron radiators installed, and this was not easy, because the quality of technical water used in centralized heating systems was and remains extremely low.$ The weightings and aggressive chemical impurities contained in it are destructive to any metal, but only cast-iron radiators can withstand such heavy operating conditions and work properly without replacing 30-40 years old. The sediment of the scale layers is also obstructed by such a design feature as the large size of internal sections of water channels.

This high reliability of grey cast iron, mainly used for the manufacture of heating radiators, is explained by the fact that it corrodes very slowly, even compared to steel and aluminium. The walls of cast-iron radiators with a thickness of at least 2.5 mm can withstand the working pressure of 8-9 atmospheres, typical for Russian heating systems, as well as pressure differences up to 15 atmospheres. They have high heat dissipation, allowing quick heating of rooms, after the battery has warmed up. However, high inertia is an additional advantage when using solid fuel heating boilers.

Batteries made of cast iron, having a large thickness of walls, can be mounted in open heating systems, used mainly in summer houses construction.

The advantages of cast iron heating batteries include their maintainability — separate sections that fail can easily be replaced. Their number in the radiator can also be changed depending on the conditions of operation, and they can be installed in both wall and floor versions.

The large weight of cast-iron radiators refers to their disadvantages, because one section of household radiator can weigh from 3.3 to 7 kg, and those used in industry can be more. This naturally complicates installation and maintenance. Washing cast-iron radiators and removing dust from their surface is also quite problematic — gaps between sections are small. In some cases, their high inertia becomes a disadvantage because it is necessary to wait for the walls of the radiator to take the temperature of the heat carrier. The models, for which the Soviet equipment was used, had a rather primitive design, but modern examples, especially those made in retro style, can become interior decoration.

How to choose a cast-iron radiator

By deciding on the choice of material for heating radiators, you should also familiarize yourself with the requirements that apply to their operating conditions. Find out what working pressure in the heating system where the batteries will be installed, the temperature of the heat carrier used in it, its qualitative characteristics. In the event that radiators are installed in the heating system of a country house whose water supply is from a well or well, and the water, even technical, is cleaned through filter system, the requirements for the design features of the radiator can be reduced. Given that the temperature of the heat carrier in a private home rarely exceeds 90-95°C and the operating pressure is 3-4 atmospheres, it is possible to install radiators of a simple shape with reduced wall thickness and less weight. The capacity of the section can be limited to 1 l, weight – 4-5 kg. For district heating in an apartment where the temperature of the heat carrier can reach 120°C, choose a radiator that has a section capacity of more than 1 l and a weight of 5-7 kg. on the dimensions of the sections — their height, width and depth can be different.

On the market today you can find radiators manufactured by Russia or China. They are almost not different in quality. As for the design, it is mostly traditional forms, but there are also models that are made in the technique of artistic casting and decorated with embossed pattern on the metal surface. Made in Baroque, Classical, Oriental or Japanese style, they may well serve as an element of room decoration, if you beat them correctly in the interior. In the case when the radiator has a traditional shape, it can always be hidden behind window draperies or disguised with special decorative grilles, however, it will reduce heat transfer.

Cast iron radiators are sold unpainted, so you can choose the color that fits the interior of the room.

Pay attention to such an interesting version as the floor. In this case, radiators equipped with stand legs are mounted directly on the flooring. You can buy sections of different heights and depths.

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