Cast Iron Radiator Variety

Plenty of variety exists in terms of cast iron radiators, but in general two main distinctions can be made. The first is in terms of how the radiator is heater – steam or hot water. The second is in terms of style – Italianate, Victorian, vintage, or modern. By understanding the practical and aesthetic differences, you will be able to make a better choice regarding what kind of radiator you want for your home.

Steam Heated Radiators

This was the first kind of stand alone radiator used to heat homes, invented in the 1860s by Joseph Nason. The steam heated system is easily identified by it having only a single pipe that leads from the radiator to the boiler. The way it works is like this: the boiler heats up water until it becomes steam. This steam then flows quickly through the pipeline and into the radiator, where it comes into contact with the cast iron. The cast iron heat up, taking energy from the steam which through condensation becomes droplets of water. The droplets of water move back through the pipe to the boiler where they are reheated and the process repeats.

Hot Water Heater Radiators

These systems were only introduced in the twenty century and have been around ever since. These are characterized as having two pipes – one that takes the water from the boiler to the radiator and another than returns the water to the boiler after it has passed through the radiator tubing. These systems are highly versatile, as they can be converted to be used with steam boilers very easily. With a hot water heated radiator you want to make sure to do regular maintenance to ensure that trapped air does not impede the flow of water. This is called 'boring' the radiator.

Vintage Radiators

When confronted with the idea of ​​placing a hunk of metal inside the home, people of the eighth century felt revolted. It just was not pretty enough for them. So they beautified them. That was born the classic cast iron radiators that are seen in many older homes. Vintage radiators are typically classified into one of two categories: Italianate or Victorian. The former is typified by rounded fins and curved feet, while the latter generally has more ornate metal work and raised patterns.

Modern Radiators

More modern radiators have adopted the minimalist styling of the late twentieth century. These sleek models are all about efficiency. They're more likely to go unnoticed sitting along the side of a room. The modern radiator is a model of precise engineering and craftsmanship, but does not need to have the grace and elegance of the more vintage models.