I have a bay window in which I want to build a window seat like this: Window seat in bay window

However, a radiator is currently attached to the wall underneath the windows, with a radiator cover (the typical board with holes) covering the front, and a windowsill covering the top. I'm figuring that I could either leave the radiator on the wall and build the seat around it, with the same type of radio cover as the front of the bench, or I could pull the radiator off the wall and move it forward a bit to get it closer to the cover. This would allow me to use the space between the wall and the radiator for storage, and I presume the radiation of the heater would improve somewhat if it was closer to the cover. I figure I could also use some flexible PEX pipe to go back and forth on the wall a few times before connecting it to the radiator, so that there would be a heat source right under the wall, and the radiator would still be close to the front of the bench.

What are the pros and cons of both configurations? Would both combat the cold air from the windows in roughly the same manner? Would the effect of moving the radiator forward be negligible in terms of improving radiation?

3 Answers 3


You can do almost anything you want to do with covering the radiator with an enclosure as long as air can get in to the bottom and out the top of the enclosure so the convection air can flow up and over the radiator. If you can see the face of the radiator now or as I previously wrote " made to be seen" and you cover the front of the radiator you will take away the" radiation affect" and greatly reduce it's ability to heat.( Think sitting in the sun or in the shade ). Your idea of moving the radiator forward makes sense and will give you storage room, and may add to the heating output of the radiator by a slight amount. Just make sure you have enough air flow in and out. You could use the registers both on the bottom and the top.Hopefully this helps with your plan; GOOD LUCK


If the existing radiator is not covered now and you want to cover it with a seat of any construction type, it will drastically reduce it's heat output. Remember cast iron radiators heat by both radiation and convection. If you cover the radiator, you will loose the radiation aspect of that cast iron radiator greatly reducing it's heat output. Radiators, were "made to be seen", and not covered. So if you cover it you may have to add more heat output into the room. This could be somewhat offset if all radiators were zoned. This may not solve the problem but it could help. Also the cover would need to have a long register mounted directly above and be the full length of the radiator to allow for the convected air to escape. I have seen many cases where covers were installed and the areas could not be heated to the desired temperature. If your heating system is hot water, and not steam, the added heat required could come from cast iron baseboard radiation, which is still made, looks decent, and is very expensive. Finned tube radiation, not usually installed in combination with a cast iron system, could be utilized if, and only if, the whole system is zoned. On a steam system convectors and/or finned tube baseboard units made for a steam system could be utilized in addition to the now covered radiator, to provide the necessary additional heating for the room. Zoning would not be required if the extra radiation were sized correctly. I would be very careful in choosing the heating company you choose to do the required work. Most residential heating companies are not schooled in steam. Placement of the radiator under the cover will not greatly affect its heat output, correct installation will.

  • As mentioned, the radiator is currently already covered by a windowsill above it and radiator cover in front of it. What I'm planning technically comes down to making the windowsill deeper. Either the radiator stays in place (and is thus further away from the cover in front of it, or is moved forward so that it is still right behind the cover. I'd prefer the latter (because it would create storage space) but wonder if this would adversely affect the combatting of cold air from the windows.
    – Bas
    Jan 16, 2017 at 13:09
  • As an aside, it's a hot water system. What do you mean with "the cover would need to have a long register mounted directly above and be the full length of the radiator". What is a "register" in this context?
    – Bas
    Jan 16, 2017 at 13:10
  • Please show a picture of the existing radiator. If you google ag 20 grill you can get an idea of the type of register I am talking about.
    – d.george
    Jan 16, 2017 at 14:09
  • Can't take a picture of the actual radiator right now, but it's your standard panel radiator like this one: //d183ptoxzilk60.cloudfront.net/medias/product_images_zoom/1_M_Brugman_22455028_0__22455885_0_jpg_zoom.jpg?context=bWFzdGVyfHByb2R1Y3RfaW1hZ2VzX3pvb218MjE1NjZ8aW1hZ2UvanBlZ3xpbWFnZXMvem9vbS9oMWYvaGQ3Lzg4NTkyNTc4OTY5OTAuanBnfGMwMjAyOTA3NmE2OGM5YjA1MGI5YjBlY2Q5YWY3OTlkN2E4MjZlMzlkMDU2ZTIyZTZkYTNlYjkxZWI0OGVhNGE
    – Bas
    Jan 16, 2017 at 14:45
  • picture did not come through
    – d.george
    Jan 16, 2017 at 15:33

Make an air inlet at the bottom and outlet above the radiator on the top. Some cool metal or wooden "gills" can be found I am sure at home depot.

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