How to Size Electric Radiators

Written by judi sommer
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How to Size Electric Radiators
Electric radiators are convection heaters. (white radiator image by Ekaterina Sidorenko from

Electric radiators can be used as the main or supplemental heating in a room. Before purchasing an electric radiator, determine the correct size you need to adequately heat your room. Knowing details of the room you want to heat and how much heat a particular electric radiator is capable of producing will help you choose one that will keep you comfortably warm.

Things you need

  • Measuring tape
  • Manufacturers information for each electric radiator

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  1. 1

    Gather information about the room you want to heat, including the square footage, ceiling height, type of insulation and the number of fireplaces and windows. You will use this information to calculate heat loss from the room and the corresponding required heating capacity of an electric radiator.

  2. 2

    Calculate the heat loss from the room. Do this most easily by entering specific information about the room into an online heat-loss calculator like the one found at

  3. 3

    Learn about the features on different electric radiators. These include wattage settings, built-in safety devices, temperature controls, thermostat control with or without a programmable timer, fans to circulate the heat, and wheels or handles for easy transport.

  4. 4

    Research the different types of electric radiators available, including portable, wall-mounted, baseboard and wall inset models.

  5. 5

    Narrow your choices and determine the wattage of each radiator. Find this information on the back of the unit or in the instruction manual.

  6. 6

    Calculate each electric radiator's output by converting wattage to Brirish thermal units (BTUs). This is an important step, because electric radiator outputs listed by manufacturers are derived from testing and vary depending on the room. Use an online conversion tool like the ones found at

  7. 7

    Choose a radiator size that has enough BTUs to compensate for the heat loss in the room.

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