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Old 11-16-2008, 02:12 PM   #1 (permalink)
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why do builders put radiators under windows?

hi i have always wondered about this one. am i missing something here? why do builders put radiators under windows? i would thought it best to put the heater as far from windows as possible, but often i see houses with radiators positioned just below a window with long curtains covering them. wouldn't the heat just go straight out the window?

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Old 11-16-2008, 03:17 PM   #2 (permalink)
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It is suppose to keep frost/condensation off the windows to keep them clear.
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Old 11-16-2008, 03:29 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I remember learning that heaters should always be on the outside walls of a house whenever possible, but I don't remember why. I guess they're probably more efficient when the heat has to fight the cold right away, rather than waiting for the heat to travel all the way across the room to cancel out the cold air.
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Old 11-16-2008, 03:43 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Hiya,

Here's why: the air near the window (or walls) is chilled due to heat loss out through to the outside. The chilled air drops towards the floor.; and left unchecked, this causes drafts throughout the whole room.

By putting the heater under the dropping chilled air, it can best counteract the air flow -- the heated air mixes with the chilled air and then moves throughout the room better.

If the heater/radiator is located near the inside of the room, it would warm the air and it would move in the same direction as the chilled drafts, and this would not be as effective at warming the whole room.
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Old 11-16-2008, 11:46 PM   #5 (permalink)
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The window is the coldest spot in the room, if the radiator was in some other part of the room then you would have a cold spot and a hot spot in the room, it's also the leas likely place to want to put furniture, and should help keep the window frost free.
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Old 11-17-2008, 08:28 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I asked a guy about this and he mentioned the airflow issue and draughts. He also said with todays well insulated windows, it's not a problem. You could put radiators wherever you wanted but out of habit, builders put them under windows. I'm always having to tuck the curtains under the rads and it looks unsightly but it's better than a cold house.
Whenever i get to build, i'll use underfloor heating. Solves that issue!

ollie
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Old 11-18-2008, 08:36 AM   #7 (permalink)
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i think it would save a lot of energy if the rads were put away from the windows. my gut instinct says that hot spots would not be an issue (for me) -i could live with that for cheaper bills. draughts only occur if you have leaky windows. if builder took this to extreams they would be heating their houses with (outside) patio heaters!!!

from a chemical engineering point of view a room is like a mixed flow reactor. if you put the input and output too close together you get feed short circuiting the reactor.
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Old 11-18-2008, 09:11 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Hi,

The windows are always going to be the coldest part of the wall, because they cannot be as well insulated as the wall itself. So, the air inside the window will always be chilled (relative to the average air temp in the room) and so the natural air motion will always be there. Sure, it's not as extreme with a good, tight window -- but it would probably be less efficient to move the radiator somewhere else in the room.

I help design buildings for a living, and the laws of physics and thermodynamics have not changed. The best place for a conventional radiator is under the coldest part of the exterior wall.
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Old 11-19-2008, 08:05 PM   #9 (permalink)
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the natural convection will be even more improved by having the rads away from the window. on one side of the room the hot air will be moving up from the radiator, on the other side the room cold air will be moving down from the window. the two flows will be working together mixing the air in the entire room in a circular motion.

if you have the radiator under the window the falling cold air and the rising hot air will have to fight each other thus slowing the speed of the resulting air flow and reducing the mixing. also the other parts of the room will be dead zones because they are too far from any source of heat or cold. cirtians will trap the rising air flow and make the mixing even worse.

i think the conventional wisdom is wrong on this one.
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Old 11-19-2008, 11:00 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by modmonster View Post
i think the conventional wisdom is wrong on this one.
Interesting topic. But unfortunately you have at least a half century of building experience going against you. It'd probably be hard to prove otherwise. That's a giant hill to climb.

Thankfully, I won't be building a house of my own for a loooonng time. But when I do, I want to know the best place to put my vents.

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