What to Know Before Installing Electric Radiators at Home

Electric radiators are often viewed as a simple solution to home heating problems. They’re a versatile solution to problems like cold rooms, fiddling with heating, wasting heat & lowering your reliance on oil or gas. On top of that, they’re quite nifty compared to other radiators.

Without the need for connection to your heating system, surely it must be easy to install a radiator and get on with it? (Spoiler alert: it is). So what should you know about installing electric radiators bar the simple steps on how best to hang them on the wall?

Here are what I believe to be the essential elements of installing an electric radiator at home, focusing on the pre-work most people tend to overlook

See what size you need

Electric radiators and towel rails can’t match heat output in a like for like manner with normal radiators. You would typically find that something like a 600mm square traditional radiator would have a higher heat output than its electric counterpart. When choosing an electric radiator, keep that in mind, as you may need to go slightly bigger to get one that packs a punch in the heat department.

See if you need the floor covered

Unless you’re buying a dual-fuel radiator that goes between electric and traditional heating, if you are installing an electric radiator in a room that previously had a traditional radiator, you may no longer have any need for the pipework jutting out of the floor/wall. Some people will simply cover their pipes and leave them be. If you’re a stickler for detail and would rather they weren’t in plain sight, you may need to get a plumber to either close them off, hide them in the floor, or get them taken out.

Either way, factor that cost in as well as needing to pay for new flooring or tiles to match the existing floor.

See where you can place the radiator

Electric radiators only need a simple connection, and they’re good to go. If you plan to have a radiator on a new wall or opposite side of the room from existing items that are plugged in, double-check it will be convenient to wire up the radiator to the wall or have a plug socket attached.

The last thing you want to do is get wiring and plasterwork done simply to have one wire running along a wall. You could always have your radiator running through an extension lead, but it looks very messy and isn’t as safe.

You’ll also want to check that your wall can take the weight. Solid brick walls are fine, but plaster could cause issues. Electric radiators are a closed unit, so they’re much heavier to hang on a wall than a normal radiator before it is plumbed in. Make sure your wall has tensile strength and won’t see the brackets buckle.

See what’s in the wall

Avoid looking like you’re in a comedy by triple checking that the areas you want to drill into don’t have any surprises. I’m talking the likes of water pipes or existing wiring. The last thing you want it a leak that won’t stop, a nasty shock, or fuses tripping.

See what comes in the box

Reliable radiator brands should give you everything you need for most standard installations. If you’re buying a budget option, double-check that fittings, brackets, and screws are included in your order. You’d hate to unbox the radiator and realise you’re missing the essentials. I’ve seen instances where people buy a cheap electric radiator and forget to check if the products contain a plug for wiring.

See what the IP rating is

One final check if you plan on having an electric radiator somewhere with moisture in the air (e.g. in your bathroom or near the kitchen sink). Electric radiators have an ingress protection (IP) rating. This is a two-digit number that indicates a radiator’s resistance against dirt and moisture. The second number, ranging from 0 to 8, represents moisture protection. The higher the number, the better it is for a bathroom. Anything 2 or higher for the second digit should be fine for an electric radiator in a bathroom. I recommend visiting Trade Radiators to find suitable electric radiators for a bathroom.

Know that you know what to look out for before lifting your drill, installing an electric radiator should be a doddle. If you plan on installing multiple around the home, talk to an electrician to make sure you don’t run the risk of overloading the system.