Cast iron radiators can be beautiful, but an old, peeling one can really bring down the look of a room. Stripping and refinishing a painted radiator is one option, but it can be a messy, time-consuming project. If your radiators are working great but looking bad, consider sprucing them up with radiator covers.
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Aside from the cosmetic benefit of hiding a flaking eyesore, a radiator cover can help protect children and pets from burns. Covers also keep the radiator clean and free of dust, which can help improve their efficiency. When the radiator is cool, the cover itself provdes a handy surface for photos, books, and plants.
Whether you opt for building your own or ordering a custom cover, make sure that it's properly designed. There should be a grille or slats on the front to direct heat into the room and gaps at the top and bottom to encourage air flow. Reflective material on the inside back of the radiator cover will help reflect heat into the room. Covers come in styles from simple metal to handcrafted wooden beauties that add warm decorative accents to your room.
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For more on heating, consider:
Heating Systems 101
12 New Designs to Change Your Mind About Radiators
Quick Tip: Radiant Heat has the Other Options Beat