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Why is a radiator so often placed under a window?

Why is a radiator so often placed under a window?

Why are radiators placed under windows in most homes, rather than at the other side of the room, for instance? Good question! Read on to find out the answer ...

A radiator placed under the window: why’s that?

In the past, the position of a radiator had everything to do with the insulation – or lack thereof. Windows are traditionally the worst insulated surfaces in a building shell. While a brick wall still provides some protection even without an insulation layer, the insulation value of single glazing is negligible. That means you are certain to feel the cold outside air near a single glazed window. A cold pane not only reduces the room temperature, it’s also terribly unpleasant for your body.

In the twentieth century, to combat that cold feeling and keep the room comfortably warm, radiators were always placed under a window. The rising heat of the radiator forms a kind of hot air curtain that shields you from the cold air.

Does it still make sense?

Does this practice still make sense? That depends on your house:

  • In old and poorly insulated houses, a radiator under the window is still necessary to combat the penetrating cold. However, that is an energy-intense solution. It is better to insulate the house thoroughly and to install double (or triple) glazing. 
  • In well insulated houses –  i.e. all the houses built in the last twenty years – you can in fact place your radiators anywhere. Thanks to the insulating glazing you no longer need to create that hot air curtain. The radiator is just as effective on the other side of the room. That’s why more and more people let the place of their radiators depend on other practical and aesthetic considerations.

Where to put your radiator?

Since you no longer specifically need to place your radiator under the window, you can think about where you do want to put it. Here are a couple of tips:

  • Install radiators preferably 3 to 4 centimetres away from the wall and at least 10 to 15 centimetres from the floor.
  • Radiators are not just practical, they also serve an aesthetic purpose. Think about where your radiators make the best impression. In some places your radiators draw all the attention, while in others they blend into the surroundings. Make sure the type of radiator you pick is a match for the place you want to put it.