A-Ha! German Radiators


Radiators, no freeze setting

Aha moment – it’s that little flash of understanding. It is simple, but maybe habit changing. It makes you feel a little smarter for knowing it, but you wonder why it took you so long to figure it out.

Radiators, Eco setting

There are two extra symbols on most indoor heating radiators.

The first symbol looks like a snowflake. This mark shows where to set your radiator so it won’t freeze and break. This is a good setting if you are out of town or closing off a room that you don’t want to pay to heat. It is about 41°F or 5°C.

Between the snowflake and the next symbol are the numbers 1 and 2. Setting 1 is 54°F or 12°C. This is the suggested setting when you leave the house for the day. Setting 2 is 61°F or 16°F and is recommended for sleeping. 

The second mark varies depending radiator and brand. It shows the economical winter setting and should be around, or in place of, the number 3. It is the setting where the radiator won’t have to work too hard to heat or reheat the room while occupied. At 68°F or 20°C, it might be a bit chillier than you are used to, but good for cost savings! 

Above that, the number 4 (75 F or 24 C) and 5 (82 F or 28 C) are really not efficient at all. Remember that radiators don’t give instant heat to a whole room, so give them time to get going. 

The radiators in bathrooms, although tempting to any toddler as a ladder, is actually made to be a heated towel rack! Other than this kind, it is best to keep furniture and drapes away from your radiators for fire safety. 


Radiators, Towel-RackIf you live on base, your house will be hooked to the base heating system, which is turned off in the summer. In the fall, they wait for the temps to drop to 55°F for five days and for a predicted five more days before they turn the system on. 

For those of you who have in-floor, radiant heating, be careful of the rugs you place on the heated floors. One friend shared a horror story of moving out and trying to remove the rubber backed mat in the kitchen. The rubber had melted and was now more firmly attached to the floor than the mat. It came off, but with a lot of scraping!


6 Responses to “A-Ha! German Radiators”

  1. Just wanted to add something many people don’t know: If your heaters stay cold then there might be air in them and you can let it out without calling the housing office. Usually on the opposite side from the thermostat there’s a screw looking thing (it might be on the bottom too) that you can loosen. Take a paper towel and carefully loosen the screw (don’t undo it) until you get some water and then close it. You can usually hear the air when you first loosen it. It will take only minutes to see the results. Do the same thing if your heater has eg only a corner warm and rest is cold or when you hear funny noises from the heater. You might have to do it more than once during the winter.

  2. Liz says:

    After nearly 2 years here in Germany I was still a little fuzzy as to what the numbers meant. My neighbour had mentioned letting the air out before but I haven’t had to do that (yet). Thank you for posting this!

  3. Amanda P says:

    Great tips. I got the general idea of the numbers but didn’t know about the actual temperatures. The one in our bathroom is a little wide to seem like a towel rack (but I do sometimes lay my towel on it to warm it up).

  4. Ariel E says:

    This may seem like a silly question, but does the radiator need to be off when you let the air out? Thank you!

  5. Mark says:

    I have heard that you need to turn the radiator or central heating unit off or you run the risk of getting more air in the system as you try to bleed it. Hope this helps!


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