Radiator Heat Setting and Efficiency

I currently have radiator heat in my home. I like it and don’t really plan on changing it but I have a question about the most efficient way to use it.

My wife is used to programming to thermostat so the heat gets turned low at night when we go to bed, cranking it up about an hour before we get up, turning it down again during the day, and back up about an hour before we get home.

I’ve heard that because of the nature of radiator heat, that it’s best to just set it and leave it alone. The theory here is that to get this large volume of water back up to temperature after you’ve let it cool all night requires more energy than if you just kept it at say 70 degrees F.

So what’s the deal – should we set it and forget it, or cycle it on and off several times a day.

As far as I can tell, your query is essentially the same as the time-honoured “Is it more efficient to keep my furnace set high, or to cycle it down at night, then back up.” If so, then as I and others have shown in several threads, the result is almost always (depending on specifics) that you save energy by cycling.

I even did sample calculations in one thread to demonstrate why it is so. I wish I could the thread, but the Board is so slow right now Search just times out on me.