Curtains and radiators - what's the deal?

Discussion in 'suburban75' started by AnnO'Neemus, Dec 8, 2018.

  1. AnnO'Neemus

    AnnO'Neemus Is so vanilla

    I mean, theoretically, it's a good idea to have full-length lined curtains to keep the heat in and drafts out. Makes sense. So far so good.

    But in the UK we tend to have radiators fitted directly below windows. So if you close your curtains while the heating's on, surely a lot of the heat is going to rise up behind the curtain and escape through the windows. And that's not exactly efficient in terms of energy or cost.

    In the bedroom with full-length lined curtains, I tend to close them then lift them and leave the bottom half of the curtain crumpled up on the windowsill so the heat circulates round the room better and isn't wasted heating the gap between the curtains and the window.

    Am I doing it wrong?

    The set up seems wrong to me. Is there a reason that escapes me why it might be a good idea to have your heating on with full-length lined curtains drawn and heat going up behind them? It doesn't make sense to me, but is there a reason why people do that?
  2. Thimble Queen

    Thimble Queen person of tinge

    I also tuck our curtains on to the window sill to avoid this problem. It looks untidy but I'd rather be warm :thumbs:
    danski, Spymaster, telbert and 2 others like this.
  3. IC3D

    IC3D Post Mid Arc

    This issue does my head in. I tend to crumple curtains up on the widow window sill also. Often ruining the curtains with moisture damage from touching the glass. I hate curtains in general as it's the 21st century and we drape bits of patterned cloth over our windows like savages.
    salem, Enviro, ShiftyBagLady and 5 others like this.
  4. Celyn

    Celyn Well-Known Member

    I haven't seen that radiator-under-window arrangement for ages, but I have lived in places with it and I always wondered what I was missing, in that it made no sense to me but I had to suppose that it must make sense to everyone else. :D

    It begins to look as though it might be an emperor's new clothes thing, and everyone thinks it's mad but no-one wants to say so. :)
    Enviro, Thimble Queen and AnnO'Neemus like this.
  5. IC3D

    IC3D Post Mid Arc

    I think it's generally because you can't put much elseunder a window furniture wise Celyn
    Enviro and Celyn like this.
  6. Celyn

    Celyn Well-Known Member

    Ah. So it's making optimal use of space, rather than some big scientific thing about draughts, heat etc. That could explain it.
  7. Celyn

    Celyn Well-Known Member

    You can put small bookshelves by the window.
  8. quimcunx

    quimcunx protestant traybake

    When having gch put in I asked for radiators to be put on other walls and they ignored me.

    I've heard circulating the warm air into the room put as a reason for it but I think the furniture reason is more likely.
  9. Celyn

    Celyn Well-Known Member

    I am sure I remember one flat that had radiators under the windows but *also* a tacky sort of plastic shelf sort of thing, intended, I suppose, to mimic the bit of actual window ledge you'd have in older houses, so you could - I don't know - put some plants or odd ornaments on it.

    That seemed very wrong to me, because in addition to the window/radiator positioning annoyance, we now have radiator being beneath a sodding shelf. I'm fairly sure that they told me at school that heat rises, so why letting it rise only to heat a stupid plastic shelf is a bit beyond me. :confused:
    miss direct likes this.
  10. dessiato

    dessiato Life is a lemon, and I want my money back

    Another, bizarre, thing I've seen it people putting furniture, eg a sofa, in front of a radiator. How do they expect to benefit from the heat?
    Enviro and Celyn like this.
  11. farmerbarleymow

    farmerbarleymow Seagull + Chips = Happy Seagull

    The settee will be nice and warm when it catches fire. :hmm:

    I've never understood the radiator/window thing - it always seemed daft. Most places I've lived in have been like this, bar one or two exceptions (including the current place).
  12. High Voltage

    High Voltage In the top 97% of Urban's most interesting posters

  13. cupid_stunt

    cupid_stunt Dyslexic King Cnut ... the Great.

    There's two reasons, as already mentioned, traditionally the main reason that radiators were fitted under windows, was because that would be the coldest part of a room, where cold air would enter, drop to the floor and cause a cold draught. So, the cold air would be heated by the radiators, due to convection, and the rising hot air would make the room feel warmer and provide a better distribution of heat.

    Of course, with double glazing being so common nowadays that may seem redundant, although windows should have trickle vents to avoid problems associated with poor ventilation, such as condensation, so it still makes sense.

    The second reason is to leave other walls free for furniture, without that being placed in front of the radiators. You should, if possible, keep furniture away from radiators & avoid floor-length curtains, as both will restrict the flow of hot air around the room.

    Having a long narrow living room I have no choice, I've double glazed patio doors & floor to ceiling window at one the end, the sofa would fit the other end, but you wouldn't be able to open the door from the hall, one long wall has the fireplace, with the radiator is on the other one. I assume originally the radiator was on the external wall & below a window, before the full-length glazing was installed, and for ease of plumbing it ended-up where it is, instead of the other end wall.

    However, I have a couple of blocks of wood behind the sofa, to avoid it getting pushed back, and leaving a gap of about 6 inches between it & the radiator, not ideal, but at least it allows most of the hot air to rise and circulate.
    Poi E, danski, dessiato and 2 others like this.
  14. cupid_stunt

    cupid_stunt Dyslexic King Cnut ... the Great.

    I've just typed a long post explaining it & you post a bloody link at the same time, you bastard! :mad:

    I should have thought of doing that, but I am not fully awake yet. :facepalm:
    Puddy_Tat, Chz, Celyn and 1 other person like this.
  15. High Voltage

    High Voltage In the top 97% of Urban's most interesting posters

    Don't have a dog and bark yourself
    cupid_stunt likes this.
  16. cupid_stunt

    cupid_stunt Dyslexic King Cnut ... the Great.

    Although your link claims with double glazing, you can place the rads anywhere, they failed to mention double glazed units should have trickle vents, and therefore it's still best to have the rads under the windows.

    So, I win. :p
    High Voltage and farmerbarleymow like this.
  17. High Voltage

    High Voltage In the top 97% of Urban's most interesting posters

    But my post was first, so the early bird gets the worm - he who snoozes loozes

    So you win second place or are first looser

    Edit: correct annoying typo
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2018
  18. Reno

    Reno The In Kraut

    That’s why I always have blinds.
    AnnO'Neemus likes this.
  19. WouldBe

    WouldBe non smoking

    Use shorter curtains and tuck them down the top of the radiator. :)
    AnnO'Neemus likes this.
  20. equationgirl

    equationgirl Respect my existence or expect my resistance

    It's the big scientific draughts thing actually. It's supposed to encourage the circulation of warm air around the room. However, in my current flat the radiators aren't near the windows and the flat gets warm enough just fine. I have seen the radiators below windows more in modern new build houses.
    danski and Celyn like this.
  21. equationgirl

    equationgirl Respect my existence or expect my resistance

    And I always tucked curtains onto windowsills whenever possible, it does help to keep the warmth in.

    I currently have blinds in the lounge, previous owner's choice. Curtains would help keep the room warmer but will cost me a fortune.
  22. Thimble Queen

    Thimble Queen person of tinge

    equationgirl have you got well massive windows?

    We bought some decent lined ones from m&s when they were doing a 20% off homeward deal. They've lasted 7 years so far :)
    equationgirl likes this.
  23. wayward bob

    wayward bob i ate all your bees

    get short curtains/blinds :thumbs:
    AnnO'Neemus likes this.
  24. equationgirl

    equationgirl Respect my existence or expect my resistance

    It's a victorian tenement so Windows are very tall. Most curtains don't go long enough, except ikea ones. The problem is it is abay window so I will need a bay curtain pole and there is limited space to put it due to a cornice, which I would like to avoid damaging if possible.

    It's a bit complicated.
    AnnO'Neemus likes this.
  25. Thimble Queen

    Thimble Queen person of tinge

    Oh i do enjoy a cornice. I wouldn't want to damage it either.
    equationgirl and AnnO'Neemus like this.
  26. Epona

    Epona Down with battered parsnips

    If you have a radiator under your window, then you should put short curtains on that window rather than floor length.

    If you can put a shelf above the radiator (jutting out from the wall or window sill just above the radiator) that will help to flow warm air from the radiator towards the centre of the room, and will also give cats somewhere they can sit without giving themselves third degree burns (and yes that can be a thing).
  27. AnnO'Neemus

    AnnO'Neemus Is so vanilla

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