Photo: David Carmack
Wall Heat:
Flat-panel radiators are lightweight and thing; this model projects just 2 1/2 inches off the wall it hangs from.
Q: I'm planning to add a half-bath to our house, and I'm thinking about heating it with a European-style panel radiator. Can you give me the scoop on these units, and tell me if they will work with my existing cast-iron radiators and single-zone system?

– Frank, Port Chester, N.Y.

A: Richard Trethewey replies: The radiators you're referring to are also called flat-panel radiators; we used them recently at the Manchester project. They're compatible only with hot-water heating systems — not steam — but unlike freestanding or baseboard radiators, the flat-panels hang from the wall, saving floor space. They're often used in bathrooms as towel-warming racks and can be stacked to fit odd-shaped wall areas. To estimate the size you'll need, one manufacturer suggests about 35 Btu of heating capacity for every square foot of floor area in a bathroom in a cold climate. That sounds about right to me, but check with a heating specialist, who will calculate the heat losses for your particular bathroom and climate. A hot towel won't make up for an undersize heater.

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