Which radiators to choose for heating a private house: cast iron, aluminum


For the pri­vate sec­tor, an autonomous water sup­ply and heat­ing sys­tem is used.

Home heat­ing is often car­ried out by a water-type heat­ing sys­tem, which con­sists of a heat gen­er­a­tor (boil­er), pipelines and radi­a­tors.

Heat trans­fer depends on the pow­er of the boil­er and the mate­r­i­al of the ele­ments of the heat­ing sys­tem.

Heating system compatibility

The coolant is sup­plied from the boil­er to the radi­a­tors by the nat­ur­al cir­cu­la­tion method (when heat­ed, the water is dis­trib­uted inde­pen­dent­ly through the pipeline) or by the forced (mechan­i­cal) method using a cir­cu­la­tion pump.

retro cast iron batteriesThe rate of flu­id move­ment dur­ing nat­ur­al cir­cu­la­tion is slow­errespec­tive­ly, by the time the coolant reach­es the last ele­ment in the sys­tem, its tem­per­a­ture drops sig­nif­i­cant­ly.

With this cir­cu­la­tion scheme, heaters with high heat dis­si­pa­tion, such as steel or cast iron, which cool slow­ly should be installed.which means they stay warm longer. The instal­la­tion of the bat­tery to the pipeline is car­ried out main­ly in a diag­o­nal way, which will allow it to warm up even­ly.

This prin­ci­ple of choos­ing radi­a­tors also applies to the type of heat­ing sys­tem — open or closed, which dif­fer in the type of expan­sion tank: open or mem­brane (closed). An open heat­ing sys­tem is due to the low veloc­i­ty of the coolant, in con­trast to a closed one.

For a water-type heat­ing sys­tem, elec­tric, sol­id fuel, gas and pyrol­y­sis boil­ers are used.. For opti­mal func­tion­ing of the heat­ing sys­tem, the boil­er out­put must cor­re­spond to the heat out­put of the radi­a­tors.

It is not advis­able to use gas boil­ers with a cop­per heat exchang­er and alu­minum bat­ter­ies togeth­er, since cop­per enhances the cor­ro­sive prop­er­ties of alu­minum. The same prin­ci­ple should be con­sid­ered when choos­ing pipes: cop­per pipes can­not be used with alu­minum bat­ter­ies.

When choos­ing pipes, pref­er­ence should be giv­en to cop­per or steel, they will addi­tion­al­ly cre­ate effi­cien­cy, since they them­selves tend to heat up.

Anoth­er char­ac­ter­is­tic of radi­a­tors is the work­ing pres­sure.which indi­cates the max­i­mum allow­able water pres­sure in the device.

  • Alu­minum 10–15 atmos­pheres
  • Cast iron 6–9
  • Bimetal­lic 20–30
  • Steel 6–15
  • Cop­per 10–16

The table shows the data that should be relied upon when choos­ing the pow­er of the radiotor, tak­ing into account dif­fer­ent com­bi­na­tions:

power table

Choosing batteries

Heat­ing radi­a­tors are made from var­i­ous met­als, which have their own advan­tages and dis­ad­van­tages.

battery material

Cast iron

Cast iron bat­ter­ies are locat­ed in most apart­ments of mul­ti-storey old build­ings built in the post-war peri­od.. Today, heaters made of cast iron of a new type are pro­duced, which dif­fer in exter­nal design, do not need prim­ing and paint­ing.

The pow­er is 0.15 kW per sec­tion, which is in line with the aver­age.

Advan­tages: retain heat for a long time, large wall thick­ness, cor­ro­sion resis­tance, dura­bil­i­ty (up to 100 years).


  • Over time, tend to clogi, as the oper­a­tion pro­gress­es, the heat trans­fer coef­fi­cient decreas­es;
  • Dif­fi­cul­ty of instal­la­tion;
  • Old style cast iron needs primer and paint;
  • big weight, which does not allow them to be installed on plas­ter­board and aer­at­ed con­crete walls.


They have an aes­thet­ic appear­ance, high heat trans­fer coef­fi­cient (0.2 kW per sec­tion), low weight, which facil­i­tates their instal­la­tion.. Pro­duced, main­ly, sec­tion­al type. They have increased iner­tia: they heat up quick­ly, but also cool down quick­ly.

Dis­ad­van­tages include their sus­cep­ti­bil­i­ty to cor­ro­sionthere­fore, before installing them, it is nec­es­sary to check the qual­i­ty of the coolant for the con­tent of alka­line and acidic com­pounds.

It is unde­sir­able to use alu­minum radi­a­tors in con­junc­tion with cop­per pipes or a boil­er with a cop­per heat exchang­er, as this met­al increas­es cor­ro­sion.


steel radiatorWide­spread in the pri­vate sec­tor, thanks to the aes­thet­ic design and the pos­si­bil­i­ty of a built-in tem­per­a­ture con­trol func­tion. Avail­able in three types: pan­el, tubu­lar and sec­tion­al, the most com­mon — pan­el type, low cost and low oper­at­ing pres­sure.

They have a small pow­er up to 0.15 kW per sec­tion, but able to keep warm for a long time.

Flaws: short ser­vice life, low resis­tance to pres­sure drops, sus­cep­ti­bil­i­ty to cor­ro­sion.


Made of two types of met­al: the out­er box is made of alu­minum and the core is made of steel or cop­per. Advan­tages:

  • Good heat trans­fer (0.2 kW per sec­tion);
  • Cor­ro­sion resis­tance, since the coolant is in con­tact with a cop­per or steel core;
  • High work­ing pres­sure;
  • Light weight;
  • Aes­thet­ic design;
  • Long ser­vice life.

The dis­ad­van­tage is the high­er price, but due to good heat dis­si­pa­tion, few­er heat­ing sec­tions will be required.

internal device cut


In terms of tech­ni­cal char­ac­ter­is­tics, they are the best, but have the only draw­back — high cost, which is off­set by their qual­i­ty and reli­a­bil­i­ty.


  • High effi­cien­cy;
  • High work­ing pres­sure;
  • Resis­tance to cor­ro­sion, chem­i­cal com­pounds;
  • Aes­thet­ic design;
  • Long ser­vice life;
  • Envi­ron­men­tal friend­li­ness;

Prices for radiators

section costCop­per radi­a­tors are expen­sive, but this is off­set by their qual­i­ty and long ser­vice life.. Cheap­er options are alu­minum and steel pan­el heat exchang­ers, but they have a lim­it­ed lifes­pan.

Approx­i­mate cost of radi­a­tors for 1 sec­tion in rubles:

Cast iron — 400;
Alu­minum — 500;
Steel — 900, pan­el — 4.000;
Bimetal­lic — 800;
Cop­per — 25.000 (price for one heat exchang­er, 830 mm wide)

Customer Reviews


“I have a small house of 60 m², I installed steel pan­el radi­a­tors, I heat them with an elec­tric boil­er, they heat nor­mal­ly, I don’t com­plain. At the first start, I arti­fi­cial­ly increased the pres­sure in the pipes to check — they sur­vived.


“I put 85 alu­minum sec­tions on a house of 100 m², I am heat­ed by a gas boil­er. At a tem­per­a­ture of ‑150C I set 60 degrees in the boil­er, the bat­ter­ies do an excel­lent job, it’s hot at home.


“We have a house on two floors, the pres­sure in the pipes is low, an elec­tric pump is con­nect­ed. Installed inex­pen­sive bimetal­lic radi­a­tors. We sur­vived one win­ter in com­fort­able con­di­tions, but after 1.5 years a leak was dis­cov­ered in one of the bat­ter­ies, and I could not under­stand what it was con­nect­ed with.


“I have all the wiring in the house on two floors of cop­per, the radi­a­tors are also cop­per, the sys­tem has been func­tion­ing with­out fail­ures for 7 years. I am a sup­port­er of acquir­ing the high­est qual­i­ty mate­ri­als, because we only live once! But I save on instal­la­tion, I do every­thing with my own hands.

Summing up: what to choose?

The undoubt­ed leader in terms of tech­ni­cal char­ac­ter­is­tics among heat­ing radi­a­tors is a cop­per heat exchang­er, but it also has the high­est cost.. How­ev­er, with its long ser­vice life, you can install a heat­ing sys­tem once and for life.

Bimet­al heaters are the best option for a pri­vate house, they are dis­tin­guished by good tech­ni­cal char­ac­ter­is­tics, rel­a­tive to their low price.

Cast iron bat­ter­ies have a long ser­vice life and are ide­al for pri­vate homes. with an open heat­ing sys­tem, due to their prop­er­ty to retain heat for a long time. The same qual­i­ty is pos­sessed by steel radi­a­tors of sec­tion­al type, but they have a short ser­vice life.

For closed heat­ing sys­tems, any heat exchang­ers are suit­able. For hous­es with a large area, a good option would be alu­minum bat­ter­ies, which tend to heat up quick­ly and are of low cost.

Watch the video instruc­tion on how to replace the heat­ing radi­a­tor:


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