Cast iron radiators are some of the most elegant heating devices that exist today. Functional, elegant and amazing, these are one of the best pieces of ‘room furniture’ you can purchase. But it’s important to know how to care for them, from painting to cleaning them to retain their beauty and style.
Cast iron radiator basics
One of the most important things about cast iron radiators is making sure that they are installed correctly. With the right installation, cast iron radiators can have a long lifetime. While it’s important to ensure that your heating system is capable of coping with iron radiators, but it’s also essential to ensure that you can put treatments into the system, to preserve the inside of your radiators. It’s very rare for cast iron radiators to rust from the inside out, but if you can make sure that the treatment you put in impedes rust it will also keep your system from needing to be flushed, which means your heating system will work better.
Painting your radiator
Cast iron radiators can come pre-painted from the manufacturer. In some cases this is great, but if you’re getting a cast iron radiator second hand, or don’t have an idea of the color scheme you want to use yet, it’s important to make sure you know what paint you have to use. Radiator paint is a special kind of paint that adheres either to an undercoat or the metal itself, yet dries to a complete gloss finish, smooth and clean. It may take several layers and some sanding to accomplish this, or you may be able to create the same effect with a spray paint designed specifically for the task.
It’s also important to make sure that when you’re painting or spraying the radiator that it’s switched off and is entirely cool, and should be kept off until the allotted time listed on the paint tin. But if you can, ask the manufacturer or maker to paint them – you’ll get a more even finish and can choose attractive colors easily.
Cleaning your radiator
Radiators are by their nature, a bit of a dust magnet. For whatever reason, they attract dust, possibly because of the air that circulates as the radiator itself heats it. It’s important to keep your radiator looking pristine by wiping it with a damp cloth once in a while. If you have certain types of radiators, you may be able to dismantle them somewhat and remove side plates to vacuums inside, or you can just run a cloth over the whole thing. It’s important to remember not to use any cleaning products on the radiator because it could damage the finish or style of the radiator itself.
Enjoying your radiator
Many cast iron radiators are left on display deliberately – cast iron radiators are designed to be viewed and enjoyed so you should – don’t put furniture in front of them or cover them up, or they’ll be obscured, and that’s pointless. Cast iron radiators should always be on display.
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