A radiator reflector is a reflective device that may be placed between a radiator and the wall to reduce heat loss through the wall. This can increase efficiency and reduce the load on radiators in the winter months when the demand for heating may be high. Commercial radiator reflector products are available, and it is also possible to make one with some basic supplies. Low-income renters and homeowners may be able to obtain discounted or free radiator reflectors from programs that promote energy efficiency.
This device consists of a piece of reflective sheeting designed to be mounted to the wall. It can be made from metal or foil-wrapped board. Some designs also include insulation to increase the heat efficiency by making it harder for heat to transfer through to the wall, and thus to the outside or to another room. The radiator reflector slides behind the radiator and has a low profile to reduce visibility, if aesthetics are a concern.
The level of efficiency offered by such devices can vary, depending on the type of radiator system and some other factors. A radiator reflector will certainly reduce heat loss through the area of the wall directly adjacent to the radiator, and can cut down on energy costs. There may be other energy issues in the home that pose a much bigger problem, though, like single-paned windows that freely allow heat out in the winter.
Simple versions are easy to make at home with some basic tools for those who cannot find or afford commercial versions for sale at hardware and home supply stores. It may be cost effective to make one from metal sheeting or metal foil wrapped around a piece of foam insulation board. People who are more skilled with do-it-yourself projects can give the finished product a neat and tidy appearance so it will be less visually distracting. Once it is in place behind the radiator, it should not be very visible.
Homeowners and renters who want to increase efficiency intelligently may be able to get a free energy audit from a local organization, utility, or government agency. A representative can visit a home or building and look for major issues that could create a drain on resources. This person may have tips and tricks for weatherizing along with information about where to get free and reduced cost supplies. If a radiator reflector would have a benefit, it may be recommended.