That’s quite a loaded question.
For some time, it’s been somewhat of a hot topic within the heating industry. But it’s probably fair to say that it’s a query not properly understood.
Well, a radiator doesn’t definitively perform as its name suggests.
Most of the heat that a designer radiator delivers to a room is produced via convection. This occurs as cold air combines with the radiator’s warm air to be ‘convected’ or transported throughout the room.
A relatively small amount – in between a quarter to a third of the heat a radiator emits is done so via radiation – or radiant heat.
To begin with then, we can accept that your radiator color choice is unlikely to have a significant effect on its ability to convect heat around a space. But could the paint influence the radiating quality of your radiator?
Thanks to a study conducted by the United States National Bureau of Standards way back in 1935, we can shed a bit of further light on this.
Basically the study, detailed in this article, looks into the contrasting effects that different paint types will have on a radiator’s ability to provide radiant heat.
It details that the sole coat of paint that could affect the radiator’s overall heat output is the final coat to be applied and what it consists of.
The study suggests that if you were to take two radiators – of identical size and heat output – and applied standard white paint to one and a metallic-based alternative to the other, the one painted with standard paint would emit more heat.
This is because of a reduction in the radiator surface’s radiating power caused by metallic paint.
The article even compares the effect of coating a radiator with metallic-based paint to removing 1/6 of the appliance.
That might not seem like too much. But in reality, it’s actually almost 12 inches removed from the top of this Edifice designer radiator.