The onset of low winter temps is here, which means we’re about to crank the heating up, which is not good news for our energy bills. But if you’re going to be spending money on heating, you might as well make sure you are using all of it to its highest potential and not let it escape through the walls. Radiator heat reflectors are designed for just that. But do radiator reflectors work?
There are a whole host of ways to tackle your radiators to make sure they work and heat your home properly so that you’re not wasting money on energy. Whether that’s bleeding a radiator or balancing it, the latter of which has been a revelation to most of us at the Ideal Home office.
But apart from traditional wall insulation, there are not many ways to prevent the heat from a radiator escaping through the walls. Except for radiator heat reflectors, that is, which can apparently reduce the heat loss by 45% and slash your energy bills by 8%. All for a one-off investment of £20. Here’s how it works.
Do radiator reflectors work?
Radiator reflectors like the SuperFOIL Radpack Radiator Insulation Reflective Foil from Amazon work similarly to the TikTok tin foil radiator hack that was going viral last year. But better.
‘Unlike the hack that was circulating of putting tin foil behind your radiators, a product like this has the added benefit of being insulated, rather than simply reflective,’ says James Bryant, DIY expert at Cut My.
‘When heat from the radiator encounters the reflective surface, it is bounced back into the room rather than being absorbed into the wall. The air pockets in the insulation further slows down the transfer of heat into the wall, meaning that even less warmth escapes than using tin foil alone. This means less heat needs to be generated to keep your home warm, so you use less energy - helping you save money, and also reduce your carbon footprint.’
This is particularly important now that the new energy price cap is set to rise from the New Year, which will increase everyone’s energy bills.
The radiator heat reflector is super easy to install (if you can even call it an installation) by simply placing it behind your radiator. Once there, you don’t have to worry about it anymore.
‘Radiator reflectors are cost-effective, easy to install, and compatible with different heating systems,’ says Rob Nezard, managing director of UK Radiators. ‘When placed behind radiators, they reflect heat back into the room, improving the room's warmth. This is especially effective in rooms with solid walls, though they can still provide benefits in rooms with insulated or cavity walls.’
Another benefit of this tool is even heat distribution. ‘The primary benefit of using radiator reflectors is the improved distribution of heat within a room. By reflecting the heat back, these reflectors ensure that warmth is evenly spread across the room, eliminating cold spots and creating a more comfortable living environment,’ Rob explains.
How much energy and money can you save?
‘Radiator reflectors can reduce heat loss through the wall by up to around 45%, which is great news for those wanting to save on their energy bills. Overall, you can expect to save around 5 to 8% on your energy bills by investing in radiator reflectors,’ says Matthew Jenkins, heating expert at MyJobQuote.co.uk, the UK’s leading trades matching site.
However, this figure is most accurate when it comes to homes with poor insulation. ‘A peer-reviewed study found negligible savings in homes with significant wall insulation. They are most effective in homes with poor wall insulation, but even properties with modern insulation can see some benefits,’ Rob adds.
‘It could save an average of 20kwh of energy for each radiator that you insulate, which could be a saving of around £30 a year,’ James continues.
And while these are not huge amounts, in the cost of living crisis every little helps. Not to mention that over the years, it all adds up, making a radiator reflector a worthwhile investment.
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Sara Hesikova has been Ideal Home’s News Writer since July 2023, bringing the Ideal Home’s readership breaking news stories from the world of home and interiors. Graduating from London College of Fashion with a bachelor’s degree in fashion journalism in 2016, she got her start in niche fashion and lifestyle magazines like Glass and Alvar as a writer and editor before making the leap into interiors. She feels the two are intrinsically connected - if someone puts an effort into what they wear, they most likely also care about what they surround themselves with.
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