Boiling Mad: Exposing Radiatorgate


Imagine buying a car advertised as reaching 30 miles per gallon, only to discover it barely manages 10. Now, imagine that happening not just with your car, but with your radiators, and that the “overstated mileage” translates to higher heating bills and missed climate goals. This shocking reality is playing out right now across the UK.

Misleading Metrics

Many consumers assume UK regulations safeguard against false advertising. Unfortunately, when it comes to radiator heat output, that’s not the case. Millions of radiators are sold annually with inflated heat claims, often exceeding 25% of the actual output. This discrepancy isn’t a minor quibble; it impacts heating efficiency, leading to higher bills and missed Net Zero targets.

The Investigation Begins

To uncover the truth, we purchased five radiators from five different UK websites, each acclaimed for their high heat outputs. The objective was simple: test these radiators at a regulated lab and compare their actual heat outputs to those advertised. 

We drove the rads to BSRIA (Building Services Research and Information Association), a leading authority in testing, who conducted the evaluations. Their testing environment – a specialised, unventilated booth with water-cooled surfaces – ensures accuracy, free from external environmental influences. Radiators were measured and tested over an 8-hour period, with continuous data collection.

Spoiler Alert

The results, when they arrived, were as bad as we had anticipated, and in some cases, even worse, leaving us unsurprised yet deeply concerned:

  • Radiator 1: Advertised output: 953 Watts (3250 BTUs); Actual output: 760 Watts (2592 BTUs); Overstated by 25%
  • Radiator 2: Advertised output: 1026 Watts (3500 BTUs); Actual output: 786 Watts (2680 BTUs); Overstated by 31%
  • Radiator 3: Advertised output: 927 Watts (3160 BTUs); Actual output: 738 Watts (2517 BTUs); Overstated by 26%
  • Radiator 4: Advertised output: 988 Watts (3371 BTUs); Actual output: 716 Watts (2442 BTUs); Overstated by a whopping 38%
  • Radiator 5: Advertised output: 889 Watts (3034 BTUs); Actual output: 712 Watts (2428 BTUs); Overstated by 25%

A Widespread Issue Beyond Sample Size

The results from these five radiators are a small representation of a much larger issue plaguing the UK radiator market. With millions of units potentially sold with exaggerated heat outputs, the economic and environmental impact is profound. Consumers face higher bills, and the nation’s Net Zero targets become harder to achieve due to increased energy wastage.

These findings also raise critical questions about regulatory enforcement and consumer protection. The overstated outputs not only lead to financial losses for consumers but also betray the trust placed in regulatory compliances and standards.

The Need for Urgent Action

Our investigation underscores a pressing necessity for government and regulatory intervention. It’s imperative that regulations are not just present, but vigorously upheld to safeguard consumer interests and maintain the integrity of the market. This issue transcends mere deceptive sales practices; it touches upon the wider ramifications for energy efficiency and the stewardship of our environment.

The radiator heat output scandal in the UK is a wake-up call for consumers, businesses and regulators alike. It underscores the importance of rigorous testing and transparent marketing. As consumers, it’s vital to stay informed and demand accountability. Sharing this article, supporting the petition below and calling for regulatory action are steps we can take to bring about change. Together, we can confront this issue, protect consumer interests and contribute to a more sustainable future.

We would like to call upon the readers and members of Renewable Heating Hub to actively spread the word about this vital concern. Please share this article and support our petition for regulatory reform at UK Your voice can make a difference in bringing an end to this deceitful practice and paving the way for a more honest and efficient market.

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235 kWhs
4 months ago

Disgraceful situation, especially when using heat pumps as they runt at a lower temperature, has this been sent to the ASA , Trading Standards or Government? well done for doing the testing.

17788 kWhs
4 months ago

Just wanted to highlight that there is a petition you can sign at UK

85 kWhs
Reply to  Mars
4 months ago

Sorry, but where exactly is it possible to sign the petition? URL please. I can’t find it; certainly not at the link you already gave – that seems to just link to a PDF.

17788 kWhs
Reply to  Dave
4 months ago

@Dave, this link takes you a page with the petition at the bottom: UK

Screenshot 2024 02 08 at 11.48.16
Alec Morrow
1314 kWhs
4 months ago

Both flow rates and temperatures affect output, and I doubt BSRIA has the technology to match them to design specifications.
Manufactures have failings but distorting the truth is not one of them.
their failings are that they don’t explain themselves, the “intellectual capital” around radiators performance is not explained. And people jump to the wrong conclusions.

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