I am renting an apartment that is heated by radiators. The owner put solid faced laminated wood covers with openings just at the top and bottom. I've been arguing with my spouse that these might look pretty, but I think that they make the radiators less efficient by blocking any radiant heat coming from the mid portions of the radiator. Should we remove the covers during the winter months to increase efficiency or am I wrong and convection from below to top is just fine?

  • 3
    You need to evaluate whether radiative heat transfer is larger or small than convective heat transfer.
    – Solar Mike
    Feb 6, 2023 at 9:46
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    "Efficiency" is output divided by input. What you are talking about is heat output. I suggest that unless you are cold, the heat output is fine. If you are cold, it's an issue for the landlord.
    – Tiger Guy
    Feb 6, 2023 at 9:58
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    One of the things a cover like that claims to do is to create a chimney-like effect that moves more air from the bottom to the top of the radiator. I have no idea whether they are effective at that or not.
    – SteveSh
    Feb 6, 2023 at 11:12
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    The size of the radiator and the size of the openings might have something to do with it. Care to edit that info into your question?
    – FreeMan
    Feb 6, 2023 at 12:34

1 Answer 1


The radiant contribution from most "radiators" is (despite the name) quite minor compared to the convective heating of air by them.

If there was significant radiant heat from the mid-parts of the radiator, the cover would heat up and then re-radiate it.

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