How does an Oil Filled Radiator Work?

An oil filled radiator is a common heating appliance that can be found in homes across the United Kingdom. Their purpose is to heat a room using convection, radiation and conduction. Convection occurs when a fluid or gas is heated, causing it to expand and decrease in density. As this happens, the fluid rises due to its decreased density. Conductive heating occurs when an object is heated, causing it to conduct heat energy away from the point of contact. Lastly, radiation occurs when an object emits thermal radiation due to being heated.

oil filled electric radiators

How oil filled radiators work

oiled filled radiator

1. Oil filled heaters heated by an electric element inside of it. This causes the oil to expand and become less dense, causing it to float. As the fluid becomes more voluminous, its temperature also increases slightly because energy from the heating element is absorbed by the oil.

2. The heated oil travels to the top of the radiator, where it is drawn away from the element. This causes the density of the fluid to increase again and cool down slightly. Once cooled, gravity causes this now heavier fluid to flow back towards its original place inside of the radiator.

3. As it flows back down, the heated oil is drawn towards a centripetal pump. This forces the fluid to travel in a circle until it has cooled down. As it cools, its density increases and causes this now heavier fluid to return once again to its original place inside of the radiator.

4. The electric element continues heating the oil until it has reached the desired temperature. The heating process is then repeated, causing this cycle to continue indefinitely.

Oil filled radiators efficiency

oil heater

1. For a given power, oil-filled radiators will always produce twice the amount of heat as electric convection heaters.

2. Electric convection devices typically lose nearly 20% of their energy through radiant and conduction losses, whereas the same is true for less than 5% of oil-filled heaters.

3. While a convection heater typically has to run for 15 minutes before heating the room by one degree Celsius, an oil-filled radiator will give off a continuous supply of heat that can be turned on and off at any time or temperature.

An electric fan heater may only produce 50% to 60% of its total heat output through convection. However, a fan heater is typically more efficient at heating a room in the short term. Portability and variability are also important attributes that help define a heater’s usefulness in a given situation.

4. Oil-filled radiators are also able to maintain a superior level of comfort as compared to an electric fan heater because the air temperature remains nearly constant as the room’s occupants move around. In addition, it can be very difficult for an oil filled heater to achieve comfortable temperatures in larger spaces because they have a much slower response time than electric heaters. Conversely, the slow response time of oil filled heaters does give them tremendous advantages when it comes to maintaining a constant room temperature, regardless of outside conditions.

How long do oil filled radiators last?

oil heaters

Oiled radiators can operate for years without fail if they are properly cared for and maintained. For example, if your oil filled heater has an automatic shutoff switch that turns the heater off once it has been tipped over, this should be checked regularly to ensure that it is working properly. In addition, if you do not use your radiators on a regular basis, they will need to be re-oiled before they are brought back online.

Here are some simple steps you can take to ensure your oil filled heater continues to operate at peak efficiency even well past its retirement date:

1. Make sure the room is properly insulated. This will help reduce heat loss, which will extend the life of an oil filled heater because it does not have to work as hard in order to maintain a constant temperature. For example, to maximize the life of an oil filled radiator in a bathroom, you should consider purchasing a heat-resistant rubber cover for it. Such a cover will increase its lifespan while protecting the room from accidental damage caused by splashing water.

2. Don’t forget about your other types of heating equipment. You should use your oil filled heater in conjunction with other types of heating equipment such as a fan heater, which will help keep the temperature even throughout the room.

3. Check and maintain your oil filled radiator regularly to ensure it remains operational at all times. This includes checking the automatic shutoff switch and flushing out any built up dust.

4. If your oil filled radiator is not used every day, you should give it a thorough re-oiling at least once a month to ensure that it operates efficiently for years to come. In addition, using the heater more frequently will help ensure that it doesn’t become too dirty and rusty over time.

5. Keep in mind that it is not just the heater itself that will require occasional maintenance, but also the room it occupies. For example, if you have an oil-filled radiator in a bathroom where water can splash on to it, you should consider buying or making a heat-resistant rubber cover for it. Such a cover can help extend its lifespan because it offers the radiator protection from accidental damage.



Now that you know a little bit more about oil filled radiators, it is probably a good idea to consider buying one for your home. This will help reduce your carbon footprint and help protect the environment from further damage caused by CO 2 emissions from other sources of heat. In addition, an oil-filled radiator can be used both as a backup heating device and as a primary heating source when coupled with a fan heater.

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