I am preparing to construct radiator enclosures for my old cast iron units and would like to use punched(pierced)tin panels instead of decorative more open design panels. Will I significantly lower the efficiency of the radiator by using the pierced tin? Any thoughts?
Re: Radiator Enclosures
Hard to visualize exactly how restricted the air flow will be with your tin design---try to have as many open spaces as possible to allow the hot air to fill the room---the BACK of the RE (the side facing the wall) should of course be open.
Since at least 1/2 the heat coming off a rad is RADIANT HEAT, (the other 1/2 is CONVECTIVE HEAT), the RH, like a camp fire, doesn't heat anything until it strikes solid objects in other parts of the room--in this case the RH strikes the inside of the RE which then gives off its RH.
There are some "how to build" sites below that might give you some ideas.
There may be some loss of room heat by using an enclosure, but it can be compensated for by adding several important items:
1) obtain a long, thin, low aluminum or porcelain pan at HD/Lowe's for one or 2 of the rads that will fit on top (inside the cover) of the rad & keep it filled with water during the coldest periods (humidifier pan)---the rad will evaporate the water adding much needed moisture for a much more comfortable room that will also cut down on the heating bills--adjust the height of the RE to allow for inclusion of the HUMIDIFIER PAN.
The larger the HP, the less hassle keeping it filled; if you can't find a suitable ready-made pan & you do soldering or welding, a custom pan can be made up--copper roof flashing can be cut & soldered to accomodate what's needed, etc.
2) place a flat metal sheet against the wall of the rad (cut & positioned so that it can't be seen from the room---this will reflect a lot of heat back into the room that would otherwise be lost.
3) include a hinged cover to your enclosure design that will allow easy water filling of the humidifier pan.
4) if you have cats, they LOVE to sit & snooze on the top of the RC, so make it of wood.
Several commercial sites have been included to give you possible ideas to include in your project.
Also Google "making radiator covers" for numerous diy tutorials on this project; also Google "how to build a radiator cover".
Re: Radiator Enclosures
Thanks for your advice. It all sounds great.