How Many Radiators Does Your Home Need?

As a homeowner, especially in a place that doesn't already come with built in heating or cooling systems it can be hard to know how many HVAC units to install, especially when you need to pay for each one. I actually think we didn't put enough in the house we own. So how do you know how many radiators your home needs? Read more to see what this reader has to say.

One of the most common problems house owners face with their heating systems is not being able to keep the home warm enough. If the home is cold, there are two main places where heat is escaping from — the windows and air vents. Assuming that both sets of outlets are correctly sealed, you may well have too few radiators in your home.

Knowing how many radiators to install in your home or how much output is needed by a specific room will help you plan your home’s heating and cooling. It can also save money on energy costs as you’ll avoid having too many heating outlets.

What type of radiator do you need?

First of all, you might want to consider the types of radiators that best suit your needs. There are two main types of radiators – vertical radiators and horizontal radiators.

Horizontal radiators are often preferred because they can be placed underneath windows, where heat can escape most efficiently in a home. However, these may not suit smaller homes where space is limited, as they can take up a lot of wall space if there are several in one room.

Vertical radiators are often better for smaller homes because they save on space, but you need to make sure that there is enough space between them and the floor so that they can heat the room.

Dividing your home into sections is the key.

When buying radiators, you need to consider the size of your home and the number of rooms it has. If you have a large house, you will need to divide it into sections and consider each room separately.
  • Divide your home into different sections, like the bedrooms and the living room.
  • Each section needs at least one radiator.
  • Multiply the length of sections of your home by their width to get the total square footage of that section.
  • Multiply that digit by 100, and you’ll have the BTUs (British Thermal Units) per hour needed for that section.
  • Now you can use a heat loss calculator to determine how many BTUs your home loses per hour during the coldest time of the winter in your area. Multiply your total BTU loss by the hundredth part of the radiator BTU output.
  • You will know how many radiators you need for your home for optimal comfort.
Factors affecting the radiator requirement?

However, several factors affect the number of radiators required in any home. Most important is how well insulated the house is and whether you have double glazing or not. Let's look at these factors one by one.

The temperature of the location where you live in

The colder it is outdoors, the more heat you will want inside. For instance, if you live in Canada, the northern United States, or Northern Europe, then extra insulation is required. This is because temperatures at these locations dip below freezing often enough that your heating system needs to be capable of keeping up with the demand.

Size of the room

As a general rule, you will need more heat output from a radiator if you want to heat a larger room. How much more heat is required depends on the quality of insulation in that room and the amount of external heat loss through the walls, windows, and ceiling.

The shape of the room

Most heating systems work by sending hot air around the room. The air at floor level tends to move around a lot more than air near the ceiling because it’s less affected by the laws of aerodynamics. Rooms with lots of corners need more heat to stay warm than rooms with few corners.

Number of rooms and sections

The more rooms and sections you have in your home, the more radiators you need. Each room traditionally needs its radiator as they are measured in BTU (British Thermal Units). The higher the BTUs, the bigger the room can be heated efficiently.

Effect of glazed windows

When comparing rooms with single and double glazing and a heating temperature of 21°C, approximately 11% more radiator power was required for single glazed windows. Moreover, the heat loss from triple glazing is about 40% less than from double glazed windows.

The height of the ceiling

If you have a tall ceiling, the heat will rise to the top of the room before much of it reaches you on floor level. However, you get more heat per unit of the radiating surface with a low ceiling.

Placement for Radiators

The placement of a radiator significantly impacts the amount of heat it can produce. The closer a radiator is to a window or door, the more heat it will lose, and therefore the more significant the size of the radiator will need to be to make up for this heat loss. For example, if a radiator is fitted directly under a window, you will need to increase its size by around 100%.

How buying superior quality radiators will save you money?

With low-quality radiators, you are likely to replace them more frequently, which means that you will have to spend more money in the long run. So, we recommend buying superior quality radiators that are durable and won’t need frequent replacement, that way, you will avoid the hassle and cost of the refitting process.

In addition, high-quality radiators come with a warranty. With this guarantee, you will be able to get a replacement should your radiator fail to work correctly. You will not incur any additional costs for repairs or replacements if you buy superior-quality radiators.


As you can see, there’s no simple, surefire way to determine the correct number of radiators for your home, and it depends on the size of your space, the material of your floors and walls, and many other factors. That said, these guidelines will give you a good idea and a great starting point to keeping your home warm and cosey.

Penniless Parenting

Mommy, wife, writer, baker, chef, crafter, sewer, teacher, babysitter, cleaning lady, penny pincher, frugal gal

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