How Radiators Are Damaging Our Health

How Radiators Are Damaging Our Health

Radiators remain the first-choice emitter within the UK new build arena – accounting for 90% of all installations of the 26.3 million homes in the UK 23.6 million have radiators.

Radiators are notoriously tricky objects to clean behind effectively and the build-up of debris, dust or even pet dander can be a real health hazard, not to mention an unpleasant surprise whenever serious spring cleaning or maintenance is required.


What Causes Radiators To Become A Health Hazard

Radiators both in the home and workplace can be a health hazard for people with breathing problems and at no time is this more the case when the heating system is first switched on as the weather gets colder. 

The amount of debris, dust and even pet dander which builds up behind the radiator is a major contributor to health issues like asthma and other diseases of the lung. Not only that but also workplace problems like sick office syndrome.

Central heating radiators create the ideal conditions for dust mites and mould spores plus microbiological infections to flourish resulting in a higher level of allergens, that is then circulated via heat convection, plus contributes to poorer indoor air quality that we breathe in.


How To Clean Behind A Radiator

Whether in commercial premises or in the home, probably the most difficult areas to tackle when it comes to decorating and cleaning is the wall behind the radiator and the amount, and no amount of cleaning and decorating tools cannot solve the problem. 

Even when it comes to decorating professionals find a radiator a challenge and taking them off the wall to access the space behind the radiator is a task that no-one ever relishes.

how to clean behind a radiator - how to remove a radiator for cleaning

How Radiators Are Damaging Our Health

In modern airtight humid buildings, radiators have become the main source of air circulation during the winter months, circulating and suspending dust particles containing V.O.C’s (Volatile Organic Components).

Allergens raise exposure levels in the air that we breathe which are potent triggers for allergies, asthma and respiratory infections when we are indoors for longer periods of time. Air circulating in the average home contains more than 900 dangerous chemicals and gases.


This coincides with the WINTER surge of “Home Fever” a term used by Allergy UK who estimates that at least 12 million people are allergic to their own home and the average person in the UK spends 92% of their time indoors.

Dust is obviously bad for you; radiators heat the air which rises and spreads the dust around by cleaning behind them at regular intervals this can help alleviate the problem. 

Cleaning behind your radiator has proven to manage the removal of dust mite allergens. By cleaning behind radiators in hospitals in the UK it has proven to manage allergens plus the infection control of the so-called superbug MRSA and C-diiffle.

how to clean behind a radiator - removing a radiator from the wall for cleaning



By being able to access your radiators for periodic cleaning to remove the dust this could make a significant contribution to improving your health.

Indoor air quality has deteriorated over the last 20 years due to stringent green building regulations to reduce energy usage resulting in poor ventilation.

Fixed static radiators with no access to clean could be now becoming the new indoor diesel car, if so this would be a major problem going unnoticed simply making radiators accessible for cleaning would be equivalent to fitting catalytic converters on cars to help reduce dust pollutant exposure!


  • Elaina D'Agostino

    Thanks for pointing out that the dirt and debris that the radiator collects are the major contributors to health problems. If so, then we probably just need to get the radiator cleaned. But I’ll still get it checked. What matters is that I don’t trigger my son’s asthma every time he’s in the car.

  • Peter Cole

    Hello…I’ve just read your article concerning allergens & bugs that can accumulate behind radiators. I would say that this is even more true with electric heaters in the home & heaters in our cars that suddenly get switched on in the winter months. I recently contracted a bacteria chest infection that I’m pretty certain came from breathing in hot contaminated air blowing out of an electric wall heater in a village hall whilst playing table tennis!
    There doesn’t seem to be much research around at the moment, but I have urged the village hall to check out & test the heaters.
    Peter Cole

  • Samira khader

    So what is the solution for heating ???
    Please let us know asap. If you have any !

  • Barbara Taverner

    Extremely helpful.sentinel x 100 in my boiler/radiators gas engineer pointed out to me today as l keep saying how it stinks in my flat when boiler on and no window open. I do always keep the widow open by the boiler. Frequently smell build up l have to open back and front doors to have a chemical b,ow up l say. Cough, sneeze uncontrollably when l first put heating on, surprised me and was exhausting. On waking my nose runs uncontrollably first thing and l take anti histamine daily desloratadine for seasonal moulds""summer and winter, could it be indoors cos when l go out, nose doesn’t run. Eyes dry so bad eyelids are stuck together l have to physically pull eyelid up by late evening when boiler on and eyes go red, when out doors it all clears up, only to return when back indoors, need to wear glasses to protect eyes indoors. Use clinitas tear drops on prescription. I have severe multiple chemical and food sensitivities, been under London allergy hospital since 1984. Much more, desperate, l know l am not good with gas and not allowed to be in a home with it, but was put here without Aster Synergy housing not allowing me to view beforehand. I didn’t know it had gas. Consultant 1985 made husband go home and take gas boiler and cooker out of our home before the consultant for allergies would allow me to leave the nightingale hospital, Marylebone, London where l was bed ridden, gravely ill on oxygen and wired to heart machine. I keep saying how ill I feel when heating on, and l am sleeping in the same room as the combi boiler. Keep being told by gas maintenance team that there is no smell, but there is. Thanks. Barbara Taverner

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