23 Nov 2017

The Solo guide to safe and efficient heating for care homes

0 Comment


When it comes to specifying heat emitters for care homes, certain factors must be considered to ensure the safety and comfort of the vulnerable occupants while also contributing to the facilities bottom line. Most care homes are fitted with conventional panel radiators which at times are slow to heat up, consume large quantities of energy and pose safety risks to the users.  Within health and social care premises, certain incidents can be seen as negligence or failure to adhere to health and safety regulations. This exposes management or individual staff members to prosecution or legal action. Our Solo guide to care home heating looks at critical factors that should be taken into consideration when deciding on a heat emitter for elderly users.   The goal is to mitigate heating risk while freeing up financial capital for improved care.

Surface Temperature

There are many tragic instances where the occupants of care homes have been badly scalded or burnt through contact with hot radiator surfaces.  The surface temperature of a conventional radiator can reach as high as 80°C. Physical contact at these temperatures can cause serious burns within seconds. The elderly are particularly at risk of scalds and burns as result of their thinning skin and decreased thermal sensitivity.  Elderly users with mental illness, learning disability or reduced mobility would be at higher risk, due to their inability to react quickly enough, to prevent injury.  Good practice for surface temperature is outlined in the NHS Estates Health Guidance Note for ‘Safe hot water & surface temperatures’ and HSE Information Sheet ‘Managing the risks from hot water and surfaces in health and social care’. Both guidelines recommend a maximum surface temperature of 43℃ for space heating devices.  To neutralise the risk of burns and scalds, consider a heat emitter with a cool to low surface temperature.  Such a heat emitter would operate at water temperatures below 43℃, meeting the benchmark used by the NHS and HSE.

Safe Design

Conventional radiators tend to have sharp edges which can cause injury in the event of slips and falls. Residents with reduced mobility or any physical and mental impairment are at greater risk of falling, tripping or bumping against the radiator.  Minor injuries from the impact on radiators can include bruises, abrasions, and lacerations.  In serious cases, a fall can lead to more severe injuries including intracranial injuries (ICIs) and fractures.  As a precaution, closer attention should be paid to the outer/ structural design of the heat emitter.   Specifiers, installers and care home managers should consider a heat emitter with a smooth and rounded outer casing/structural design which would minimise the severity of fall associated injuries.

Energy Efficiency

Care homes operate on a constant basis and therefore consume large quantities of energy. High room temperatures are necessary to maintain the health and comfort of its vulnerable inhabitants. This high energy demand for heating can have substantial financial impact on profit margins for the facility.   To minimise energy and fuel wastage, consider upgrading to low temperature (LST) radiators.  LST radiators utilises much lower water volume and operate at a much lower water temperature than conventional radiators. A conventional radiator requires anything between 75 °C and 85 °C water temperature with a water volume of about 10L.  LST radiators on the other hand requires anywhere between 26 °C and 55 °C water temperature and a water volume as low as 0.3L.  This means faster response and lower fuel consumptions in comparison to conventional radiators.  In fact, tests by Solo Radiator have shown that LST radiators consume 40% less energy than conventional radiators.

Heat Delivery and Control

An adequate room temperature is necessary to preserve the health and comfort of the care homes’ residents. Failure to maintain the right level of heat will not only affect the comfort of the inhabitants, but can also lead to serious health consequences.  To control the heat output of a conventional radiator, thermostatic radiator valves are often mounted on the supply end of the unit. However, this places the users at risk of burn and injury through contact with exposed piping, carrying hot water that is above 43°C. In addition, the high mass and high-water volume of conventional radiators means that they are slow to respond to heating needs. Instead consider a heat emitter that is controllable and responsive.  These would contain low water volume for faster response, allowing staff to control temperature levels as needed.  Temperature control should be built into the unit, eliminating the need for thermostatic radiator valves.



About Solo Radiator

Solo Radiator’s specialises in the delivery of low energy heating solutions. Our range of fan assisted(LST) low surface temperature radiators combines innovation and engineering excellence to deliver a safe, energy efficient, stylish, space saving and responsive heating solution for vulnerable users. Our LST radiators surpasses NHS and HSE surface heating safety guidelines, making Solo Radiator ideally suited for hospitals, nursing homes and any other environment where safety is integral.  We understand the user’s needs to have control of their environment, our LST radiators are designed to provide precise temperature control, resulting in optimal comfort whilst minimising energy consumption.





Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *