Home radiator alternatives

Written by brenda priddy
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Home radiator alternatives
There are several different heating systems that can be used instead of radiators. (white radiator image by Ekaterina Sidorenko from Fotolia.com)

A radiator is a type of heat system that uses individual units in each room of a house that are heated by running hot water through the radiator. The hot water inside the radiator radiates heat from the radiator system and warms the whole room. There are some safety and efficiency considerations, such as the temperature of the radiator itself and the amount of energy wasted heating the water, that influence some people to investigate alternatives to the system. Luckily, there are many alternatives to radiator heat systems.

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Space Heaters

Space heaters can accomplish the same heating properties as radiators, but using electric heat rather than a water heating system. Space heaters are safer than radiators in some respects; there is no hot water to burn faces or hands, and they do not have to be connected to a water boiler system. Space heaters work best if used as localised heat sources when the central heating system is not strong enough to heat the entire house. Space heaters also work well when the main heating system is inoperable.

Electric Fireplace

An electric fireplace is a viable alternative to radiators. An electric fireplace is basically a fake fireplace that is heated with electricity. Just like space heaters, electric fireplaces are designed to give localised heat only. Typically they are installed in place of a traditional fireplace. Electric fireplaces are often safer than both radiators and traditional fireplaces because they are not powered by combustible heat sources, and there is no possibility of contact.

Forced Air Systems

On a larger scale, an alternative to radiator heat systems is the forced air system. Forced air heat systems are generally powered by electricity that heats the air. The air is then blown through the central air ducts throughout the house or building. This system type is generally used in Southern regions where both heating and air conditioning systems are required. The benefit of the forced air system is that it can use the same pipes as the air conditioning system. Other than this benefit, forced air systems are some of the least efficient heating systems.

Radiant Heating

While traditional radiators use a form of radiant heating, there are also other types of radiant systems. One common form of radiant heating is baseboard heating. The radiant system uses air, electric cables or water to heat the heaters. The heat then radiates from the heater, through other objects in the room, which slowly radiate the heat throughout the room. Radiant heaters also are commonly installed as floor systems.


One of the most prevalent forms of heating alternatives to radiators in northern areas is furnace heat systems. Furnace systems use oil or gas to heat a combustion chamber that heats air that is distributed throughout the house.

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