With the cold weather approaching, schools are naturally going to be looking at the efficiency of their heating. Whether it’s reducing cost, improving the quality of existing radiators or delivering a safer solution, we’ll aim to cover everything you need to know about heating in schools.
Radiator surface regulations for schools and nurseries
Let’s begin with the official guidance. The Education (School Premises) Regulations states that radiators and exposed pipes which are located where pupils might touch them must not become hotter than 43°C.
Are your school’s standard radiators causing a risk?
Standard panel radiator surfaces could reach up to 70°C - 80°C, so it’s clear that there is a potential risk of burn. In 2010 some alarming figures emerged, stating that 1,970 people were injured in a public building by either a radiator or a section of hot pipework over a twelve-month period. Of these accidents, 1,399 occurred in a place of education. As you can imagine, this prompted authorities to address temperatures to ensure that surfaces don’t exceed 43°C in places of education.
Why do you need LST radiators in your classroom?
Low surface temperature (LST) radiators-as you might have guessed-are radiators that don’t exceed a surface temperature of 43°C. Aside from its obvious safety feature, Contour’s LST radiators have various benefits, making them an ideal choice for your educational environment.
Contour’s LST radiator’s features
The LST radiator features closely align with the aims of providing safe, effective care for children in education. Here we’ll to cover the radiator’s hygiene, cleanliness and robust performance, demonstrating that all three factors are essential in a school environment.
Numerous reports have raised their concerns regarding the cleanliness of radiators, stating, “Covered heat emitters raise the most infection control concern. Heat emitter covers allow dust to build up beneath and inside the grille. The dust has been found to contain MRSA and other potentially pathogenic organisms. When emitters are turned on during the winter, dust and bacteria are dispersed by convection…” Source: NHS Estates (2002) Infection Control in the Built Environment guidelines.
In response to this, Contour’s DeepClean LST radiator and guard range has been developed, providing a unique and effective solution.
BioCote is the leading provider of anti-microbial technology. This anti-microbial additive has been integrated into the paintwork stage of Contour’s manufacturing process for all DeepClean radiator covers.
The additives destroy up to 99.9% of bacteria in under two hours, and a significant microbial reduction is clear within just fifteen minutes. This performance lasts the lifetime of the radiator cover.
Our Test Certificate Archive demonstrates full antibacterial protection, with our most recent report dated September 2019.
Contour’s BioCote-protected radiator allows you to clean every part of the radiator with ease and simplicity. Due to the effectiveness of BioCote protection, Contour recommends that you use brushes or a non-abrasive, damp, microfibre cloth, without cleaning agents. This prevents damage to the powder coating that could otherwise impact its effectiveness.
If you decide to opt for a RotaRad kit to accompany your LST radiator, you’ll be able to bring the radiator down to floor level, giving access to the back and the wall behind it. For the full article on how to clean your LST radiator, click here.
Schools are busy environments and with class sizes exceeding 30 pupils in most cases, the need for robust performance is essential. Durability is important for safety and keeping costs down, so we’ll explore just how durable Contour’s LST radiators are.
Made from 1.5mm Zintec steel-which can be increased to 2mm in more demanding environments- Contour’s radiators are built to sustain varying levels of wear and damage over time.
Additionally, the radiators are all supplied as single-unit constructions. This means that there is no risk of excess screws or bolts becoming loose over time.
Small items such as pencils and toys are commonly dropped behind radiators and into radiator covers in educational environments.
Pre-punched with pencil-proof grilles, Contour’s LST radiators are designed to prevent these items from being pushed through, which may cause an issue for cleaning and heat outputs.
An added benefit of the pencil-proof grilles is the reduction of injury as the 5.5mm wide radius grilles reduce the risk of children getting their fingers caught.
Contour’s Radiator Guard Features
Many establishments choose to fit a radiator cover over their existing radiators. This provides a safe and cost-effective solution to surface temperature control. Contour’s LST radiator guards have all the benefits of their LST radiators, boasting BioCote anti-microbial technology and robust performance. However, one of the key benefits of Contour’s DeepClean LST radiators guards is its seamless access for cleaning and maintenance.
With its drop-down front door, it provides complete access for every internal surface. What would normally take several cleaning operatives to disassemble, remove, clean, reassemble and refit traditional and standard radiator covers, Contour’s LST range can be easily cleaned with no additional assistance. This significantly improves cleaning efficiencies, helps reduce overheads and most importantly, raises hygiene standards.
For the full step-by-step guide on how to clean Contour’s LST radiator cover, click here.
What size are LST radiators in schools?
A ‘one size fits all’ approach just isn’t possible in an educational environment, which is why we offer a range of solutions to meet your goals and expectations. The size of your radiator covers and guards will depend on the classroom size and the purpose of your learning space. Below we have outlined our bespoke radiator cover options:
• Wall-to-wall LST radiator covers, designed to protect students and staff from perimeter or finned pipe heating systems.
• Bay window LST radiator covers, designed to fit angled or contoured classroom walls with an internal fixing bracket.
• Free-standing LST radiators and radiator covers, designed to be fitted where wall mountings can’t be installed.
• Vertical LST radiator covers, designed to fit classrooms where wall space is a premium. Grilles are located in line with the middle of the radiator covers to ensure maximum efficiency of heat convection.
• Alcove LST radiator covers, designed for recesses in classroom walls to maximise floor space.
• Raised finned element pipe LST radiator covers, designed to provide a safe surface temperature to raised finn pipe emitters.
• Corner fitted LST radiator covers (10-20mm depth), designed to fit into classroom corners, preventing dust from collecting.
As winter draws nearer, the comfort of pupils and staff is of utmost importance. A room that is too hot or too cold can stifle and distract learners, leading to poor productivity and compromised educational outcomes.
As reducing cost is a key aim in many school’s stretched budgets, Contour has provided a comprehensive guide on improving school’s heating efficiency. Read the detailed article here.
To summarise, we recommend that you:
• Keep to recommended room temperatures
• Time your school’s heating appropriately
• Prevent interference with the radiator throughout the day
• Don’t block heat with classroom resources
• Consider upgrading to a quality product.
Do school LST radiator covers reduce output?
As Contour’s pencil-proof grilles have been manufactured to reduce the risk of children catching their fingers or posting items through them, it’s understandable to assume that this design may reduce heat output. However, Contour’s LST radiator covers provide a small reduction of 11% on heat output whilst still meeting the additional safety standards as highlighted throughout this post.
Anti-ligature radiators for special educational needs schools
Whilst anti-ligature radiators don’t offer the unique low surface temperature option that Contour’s LST range provides, there are numerous advantages to the DeepClean anti-ligature radiators, making them an ideal choice for your SEN environment.
What is Anti-Ligature?
Anti-ligature refers to anything that minimises the risk of a person tying a cord or rope around an anchor point, leading to self-harm. Many establishments are turning to anti-ligature products to improve safety standards in places accessed by vulnerable individuals. Examples include medium and high secure accommodation, mental health, autism and learning difficulties provision and SEN schools.
What makes anti-ligature guards and radiators ideal for SEN?
Many pupils with SEN like to explore their surroundings by touch. Standard radiator grilles can have openings that may pose a risk when fingers are caught. Contour’s anti-ligature radiator grille design incorporates 2mm holes and 4mm centres, making it highly unlikely for pupils to catch their clothing (or fingers) in the grilles.
Much like the LST range, Contour’s anti-ligature radiators are built with longevity in mind. When you consider the level of everyday equipment used in SEN settings such as electric wheelchairs, hoists and frames, your radiators are likely to put up with varying degrees of damage over the years. As well as the high-quality Zintec steel used in the LST range, many SEN schools benefit from the incorporation of a strengthening strut to the front of the cover.
Contour’s anti-ligature radiators also benefit from bullnose corners. Pupils who are physically less able-but don’t require the full-time use of a wheelchair-will be vulnerable to falls and reliant on the secure structures in their immediate surroundings. Here we look to children with needs such as Spina-Bifida or Cerebral Palsy.
In the event of a fall, you’ll want to ensure that their landing is as injury-free as possible. That’s where Contour’s anti-ligature radiators’ radius edges and bullnose corners make them a unique solution to limiting injury. Comparing the sharp edges of standard radiators will make you realise that the anti-ligature radiator is a necessary upgrade for SEN environments.
Hygiene Is Prioritised
Hygiene is one of the most important elements of any SEN setting, particularly when you consider that immune systems could be compromised. The anti-ligature radiators include Pin Hex and key locks which can be used to ensure fast and simple access for staff but prevent unwanted access to those who are unauthorised. And, of course, BioCote protection is incorporated into the paintwork of the anti-ligature radiators, protecting children from dangerous bacteria such as MRSA and E. coli.
The impact of colour in SEN schools
An often-overlooked feature of our LST and anti-ligature range is the variety of colour options available. There are many psychological benefits to coloured radiators, which you can find out in our free eBook here. Children and adults with autism tend to have heightened senses. Sights, sounds, smells, touch, sunlight and colour can have various pronounced effects.
In other words, for people with autism, sounds are louder, touch is more acute, smells are stronger, lights are more glaring, and colours are more colourful. Whilst autism-and any special educational need-is based on a broad spectrum, some colours may be better suited for children with SEN. We recommend toned down colours, as opposed to bright colours.
The ‘safest’ colours for autism are green and blue as they bring a balance of harmony and are an instant de-stressor. Read our full article on coloured radiators for autism here.
Anti-Ligature Vs LST radiators in schools
When it comes to deciding on the most appropriate heating option for your educational setting, there are some considerations to bear in mind. In our LST & Anti-Ligature Radiators and Guards Brochure, we have highlighted some key environments and our recommended products that we deem suitable.
Whilst we advocate the use of LST radiators in most mainstream settings, there are certain exceptions where an anti-ligature solution might be a more appropriate option. Some mainstream schools contain specialist SEN units. These units enable children with SEN to access mainstream levels of education whilst receiving appropriate pastoral care, in-line with their needs.
As a result of this high-level of SEN activity, mainstream settings with SEN units should consider treating themselves as an SEN school in terms of the facilities and safety measures they provide.
Whatever your educational requirements, Contour has a solution for you. This guide is aimed to provide you with the knowledge needed to deliver exceptional care to your students, allowing them to access education in the safest possible environment. Whilst we hope that this guide has answered any queries you may have had regarding safe heating in your educational setting, we are more than happy to discuss any additional needs you may have.