A common question that we get asked is: how much do metal radiator covers cost?
As you can image, this can be a complex question, but this post aims to explain what factors affect the price of a metal radiator cover.
Be sure to check out our next blog to read a further four more factors that affect the cost of your metal radiator cover.
Radiator Covers Are More Than Just A Box On The Wall
It would be easy to think that radiator covers are simply metal boxes that are fitted over a radiator to protect vulnerable service users from injuring themselves on hot surfaces.
The true answer is very different.
There are many different environments in which metal radiator covers are used. It is critical that the design must be fit for purpose in these different types of buildings with many different types of Service User.
Click here to find out where you can use metal radiator covers
So, let’s look at the different options available and factors which can so dramatically affect the cost of your metal radiator cover.
1. The Size Of The Radiator Cover
It may seem obvious, but the radiator cover is custom designed to fit over your existing radiator. This can be anything from a small toilet with a single panel 400mm wide radiator, through to a long corridor with multiple radiators, which requires continuous bespoke radiator casings that can be several metres long.
The radiator casing height can also have an impact on price. Sufficient space needs to be allowed above and below the radiator to ensure good circulation and minimal heat loss.
As casings basically converts a radiator into a natural convector unit, one thing that often affects the height of the casing is the height of the existing radiator above the floor.
The depth affects price too. Deeper radiators require deeper casings, and old-fashioned column radiators can often be 200 to 250 mm deep which will lead to casings around 300mm in depth.
These factors can make quite a difference to the way that radiator covers are manufactured. All casings are from standard metal sheets.
As they are programmed, the layout of the parts is optimised to increase sheet utilisation, which reduces waste and aims to keep costs down. Sometimes, for larger radiator covers, special sheet sizes are needed which can be expensive to purchase in small quantities.
2. Application Of Metal Radiator Covers
The environments in which the metal radiator covers will be installed can have quite an impact on the construction of the radiator cover itself.
Low traffic, low-risk areas such as a nursery school classroom would be sufficient with a lightweight cover with no additional options to provide a safe solution for the building occupants.
When you start to fit products into more challenging environments such as mental health units, custodial facilities, or high traffic areas such as hospital corridors, then you need to consider the strength of the radiator, preventing unauthorised access, or maybe providing anti-ligature grilles to ensure patient safety.
These options may not be available in off-the-shelf, mass-produced products.
Many Radiators Are Thin And Lightweight
Many radiator covers are manufactured from thin, lightweight 1.2mm steel, mainly to reduce cost and save weight.
These lightweight products will not withstand the rigours of demanding environments. For these types of projects, it is best practice to use a thicker gauge of steel, such as 1.5mm or 2mm thick material.
You may wish to add additional reinforcement for areas used by extremely challenging Service Users. Specialist radiator cover companies, such as Contour will be able to provide highly bespoke products, tailored to your precise needs, to ensure patient safety and maximum product life.
3. Ease Of Cleaning & Low Maintenance Costs
The increased awareness of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and the dangers they pose to patient safety, has driven many changes in Health Care and wider environment. Ensuring that these facilities are hygienic is now a key priority for building managers, and where possible, products should be designed with hygiene and ease of cleaning in mind to help provide cleaner, germ-free environments.
At Contour, we have been obsessed with ensuring our designs are easy and quick to clean. This provides safer patient environments and keep's the lifetime cost of cleaning and maintenance as low as possible.
Click here to read our ‘how to’ guide on radiator cleaning.
Compare the costs of cleaning Contour radiator covers with old-fashioned fixed units which need specialist personnel to remove the whole cover from the wall to enable the cleaning team to access the radiator cover interior for cleaning.
Quick and easy unaided access is critical to all Healthcare requirements. The national specifications for cleanliness in the NHS require radiators to be cleaned weekly.
Installing old fashioned fixed units hinders this process as Estates personnel will need to be deployed to remove radiator covers prior to the clean, and then afterwards to refit them.
Clearly, any saving made in the capital purchase of cheap, fixed radiator covers will quickly be outweighed by the weekly cost of sending a team from Estates to remove and refit the radiator covers that need to be cleaned.
Unfortunately, what usually happens, is that the exterior of the casing is just wiped over, leaving the interior untouched. This poses a serious health risk, as MRSA can live up to 7 months in the dust on internal surfaces, which can then be recirculated into the environment as air passes through the radiator cover when in use.
Well-designed radiator covers provide quick and easy access for cleaning, without the need to Estates personnel to be involved.
These covers do cost more than cheap fixed units as they have more components and take longer to manufacture.
But, as illustrated above, the payback is incredibly short, and the in-service costs of an old-fashioned fixed radiator cover soon escalate, or worse, precipitate an outbreak of MRSA with potentially fatal consequences.
This is why, when we are asked how much do metal radiator covers cost? we know it can be a long conversation. It is often said that you get what you pay for.
This is just as true with metal radiator covers as any other products. Sure - you can buy a low cost, off the shelf option for around £200 each, but ask yourself: is it fit for purpose in your building? How easy is it to clean? How quick and easy is it for you to install? Who will survey it to ensure a perfect fit? How long will it last? How effective is the anti-microbial coating? Has it been designed specifically for your application or is it a one size fits all type of product?
If you are unsure about any of these questions, there is a fair chance that the long-term costs of your metal radiator cover could way exceed the ticket price on the capital purchase. Which is why Contour Radiator Guards may not be the cheapest product you consider, and if the price is your only consideration, it is probably not worth contacting us.
But in terms of life expectancy, safety, cleanliness, cost of maintaining, cleaning providing a proven antimicrobial solution, Contour is confident that we provide the best value for money on the market. Contour Metal Radiator Covers are products that we are proud of and passionate about, and it shows in the quality of product design and service that you will receive from us.
Contour produces a range of innovative, safe surface temperature systems for healthcare, education, mental health, commercial and secure sectors, working in close partnership and collaborating with architects, M&E engineers, NHS Trusts, local authorities, design consultants and contractors to deliver outstanding safe heating solutions.
Contour is the exclusive partner of BioCote® anti-microbial technology for LST and anti-ligature radiators. BioCote® additives reduce bacteria by up to 99.9%. Contour combines an extensive range of colour-paints is with BioCote® for a durable, high-quality finish.
Contour’s heating solutions offer secure, single-person quick access to radiator guard interiors for regular deep cleaning and maintenance. Each year, Contour save the NHS millions of pounds in cleaning costs, therefore delivering.