How Does an Oil Filled Radiator Work?


If you’re trying to keep your home warm during the colder months, you may have come across oil filled radiators as a heating option. These devices are known for their efficiency and effectiveness in providing warmth. But have you ever wondered how an oil filled radiator actually works? In this article, we’ll delve into the inner workings of these innovative heaters and explore why they are a popular choice for many households.

What is an Oil Filled Radiator?

An oil filled radiator is a type of electric heater that contains a reservoir filled with a special type of heat-retaining oil. The oil acts as a heat storage medium, allowing the radiator to emit a steady and consistent heat over an extended period of time. This makes them ideal for heating rooms for more prolonged periods, like bedrooms or living areas.

Oil Radiator Heating Elements

The heating elements in an oil-filled radiator are responsible for generating the heat that warms up the oil and provides warmth to the surrounding environment. These heating elements are usually made of metals with excellent thermal conductivity, such as copper or aluminium.

When you turn on the oil-filled radiator, electricity is supplied to the heating elements. The flow of electricity causes the heating elements to resist the electrical current, which in turn produces heat. This process is known as electrical resistance heating.

As the electrical current passes through the heating elements, the metal quickly heats up due to its high thermal conductivity. The metal acts as a conductor, converting the electrical energy into thermal energy. This rapid heating process ensures that the oil in the radiator’s reservoir begins to warm up almost immediately after the radiator is switched on.

Once the heating elements reach their desired temperature, they continue to maintain a consistent level of warmth. This feature is particularly advantageous because it allows the oil-filled radiator to provide a steady and even heat output without fluctuations.

The heated metal of the heating elements then transfers this thermal energy to the surrounding oil in the radiator. The oil, being a good thermal conductor, absorbs the heat from the heating elements and becomes warm.

The warm oil then circulates throughout the radiator, releasing its stored heat into the surrounding environment through convection. As the warm oil rises to the top of the radiator, it transfers its heat to the metal fins or panels on the radiator’s surface. These fins or panels increase the surface area, allowing for more effective heat dissipation.

In summary, the heating elements in an oil-filled radiator generate heat through electrical resistance and transfer that heat to the surrounding oil. The warm oil then releases its stored heat into the room through convection, providing a steady and comfortable warmth.

More on the Convection Cycle

The magic of an oil filled radiator lies in its convection cycle. As the heating elements warm up, they transfer heat to the surrounding oil. The oil, being a good conductor of heat, absorbs the thermal energy and begins to rise to the top of the radiator. As it reaches the surface, the warm oil releases its heat into the room through the radiator fins.

As the warm oil cools down, it becomes denser and sinks to the bottom of the radiator. This process creates a continuous convection cycle where cool oil is pulled towards the heating elements, gets warmed up, rises to the top, and releases heat into the room. This cycle ensures a consistent and even distribution of warmth throughout the space.

Benefits of Oil Filled Radiators

There are several benefits to using an oil filled radiator as your primary heating source. Firstly, they provide a gentle and consistent heat that doesn’t dry out the air in the room. This can be particularly beneficial for those who suffer from respiratory issues or find dry air uncomfortable.

Additionally, oil filled radiators are energy efficient. The oil acts as a thermal reservoir, allowing the heater to maintain its warmth even when it’s turned off. This means that you can enjoy the residual heat without continuously running the device, saving you money on your energy bills.

Why Buy an Oil Filled Radiator?

Investing in an oil filled radiator is a wise decision for several reasons. Firstly, they offer a cost-effective heating solution, as they are relatively affordable compared to other electrical heating. They also have a long lifespan, ensuring that you get value for your investment.

Furthermore, oil filled radiators are portable and easy to move around. This versatility allows you to heat different rooms as needed, making them a practical choice for households with varying heating requirements.

In conclusion, oil filled radiators provide efficient and effective heating through the use of a convection cycle and a heat-retaining oil reservoir. Their gentle heat, energy efficiency, and portability make them a popular choice for many homeowners. So, if you’re looking for a reliable and cost-effective heating solution, have a look at our guide on the best oil filled radiators.