Whether you’re moving into a new house or apartment or simply rearranging your current space, you might be asking whether or not you can place furniture, more specifically, a bed next to your radiator.
You can place a bed next to a radiator if you leave about 36 in (91.44 cm) of space between them. This minimizes most of the risks associated with placing an object so close to a heat source. Radiator covers can also help to protect people and furniture when a 36 in (91.44 cm) space isn’t possible.
For small spaces or for aesthetic purposes, radiators can sometimes be in the way of where we want to place our furniture. Bedrooms in particular, can be challenging as beds tend to be one of the larger pieces of furniture in a room.
In this article, I’ll explain the common dangers of placing a radiator too close to furniture. I’ll also share the safety precautions you can take before moving furniture near a radiator and recommend some great radiator covers for you to consider.
Dangers of Placing a Radiator Too Close to Furniture
A radiator is simply the heat delivering end of a heating system known as a boiler.
A boiler produces hot water or steam directed through pipes into rooms with radiators installed.
They can be powered by various fuel sources, including natural gas, propane, diesel, and even electricity.
Radiators are generally considered safe heating solutions, and they are one of the most common heating systems in the US due to their versatility.
However, since they’re hot to the touch, most safety surrounding them involves not placing objects, including people, near the radiator itself. You can place a bed next to a radiator only if you leave enough space for airflow.
No part of the bed should touch the radiator. Radiators put off a lot of heat and can pose a fire or burn hazard if objects or people are touching them.
Since many radiators are powered by steam, water vapor coming into the radiator can be at boiling point.
While the temperature lowers on the radiator’s surface as it equalizes with the surrounding air temperature (that’s how the heater works, after all), radiators shouldn’t be touched by the skin.
Another factor to consider is keeping the radiator clean and free of dust.
These particles can build up and potentially result in a fire as well.
People with asthma or allergies might also be at risk if radiators aren’t cleaned regularly, resulting in poor air quality.
Use a Radiator Cover for Protection
Other than hiding an ugly radiator, radiator covers provide some additional advantages.
In particular, they can help protect against hot radiator fins, which are an unfortunate consequence of steam-heating.
Use a cover to help protect yourself, other people, and your furniture from getting burned – which is more likely to happen if you’re placing frequently-used furniture nearby.
One excellent option is the vidaXL Radiator Cover (available on Amazon.com). Designed to look like a wall cupboard shelf, this stylish cover is white with a beautiful matte finish that’s suitable for multiple decors. It’s available in multiple sizes and various neutral colors.
For smaller spaces or areas of unique architecture, I recommend Ready Covers Radiator Cover Heating Cabinet (available on Amazon.com).
You receive 30 heat-resistant vented tiles that easily interlock together without tools. This allows you to create a custom design to cover a small to medium-sized radiator. Available in white or charcoal colors.
For the DIY types, you might consider something like the Fichman Furniture Unpainted Radiator Cover Kit (available on Amazon.com). This cover is best for larger radiators and is available in two depths to accommodate various windowsills, pipes, and valves.
Made from a special MDF formulation, these covers can withstand drastic humidity and temperature changes. Plus, these covers are unpainted for a DIY custom finish or are perfect as-is for a minimalist modern vibe.
Consider an Alternate Heat Source
Residents might encounter many different potential sources of heaters inside home structures.
In addition to radiators, homes might have heat pumps, furnaces, or electric heating.
If this is the case for your home, consider one of these alternatives as your source of heat instead of the radiator.
This will eliminate any safety risk associated with furniture placement.
When looking at these different options, one comparison method is heat output. Heat output is measured in a unit called British Thermal Units, or BTU.
When it comes to heat sources for our home, heaters are also measured by their blower capacity, although not all heat sources have blowers, such as radiators.
Other factors residents might consider are:
- The cost of operation per year
- Energy efficiency
- How long the system last before needing to be replaced
- The installation costs
You can place a bed next to a radiator, but you must balance safety with comfort.
If your room is too small to fit a radiator next to a bed with the recommended 36 in (91.44 cm) clearance, consider investing in a radiator cover.
You could also think about consulting your building manager, an HVAC specialist, or a fire safety specialist to get a second opinion, as there might be unique solutions available for your specific situation that they can support.