What Is a Cast Iron Radiator?

Cast iron radiators are part of a type of home heating system that has been around for generations. While these types of systems have been largely displaced by newer forced air heating, they do still hold some distinct advantages over their more modern counterparts.

Cast iron radiators are heated as either hot water or steam is circulated through them from a furnace or boiler. As the cast iron heats up, it radiates the heat outward into the air and can thoroughly heat your home evenly and efficiently.

In fact, heating systems that use cast iron radiators are quite a bit more efficient at heating homes. They also don’t typically have the types of problems associated with certain types of forced air heating like hot spots, cold spots or generally uneven heat distribution throughout the house.

Cast iron radiator heating systems are also typically cheaper to install than forced air systems because they don’t require ductwork. Instead, a closed system of pipes links the radiators to the boiler, and those are much easier to put in place and generally take up much less space than ductwork does.

While radiators can also be made out of some other metals, nothing holds the heat as well as cast iron radiators do. It is also safer to heat a cast iron to higher temperatures, so you don’t have to worry about keeping them on too long or running them in extreme circumstances. They also hold the heat extremely well, so they can continue to heat a room even after the heat has been shut off.

Of course, cast iron radiators are not a solution for keeping your home cool in the winter as some of the newer heat pumps and other central forced-air heating and cooling systems are. If you have cast iron radiators in place, you’ll still have to invest in some type of air conditioning system if you want to keep your home cool enough in the summer.

Also, because they do get very hot, cast iron radiators can present a potential burn hazard, particularly to small children. However, there are many different types of radiator covers available that can both mitigate that risk and add a nice touch of style to any room in your home.