Our guide will show you how to remove a radiator for painting and decorating, or how to change a radiator if you’re fitting a new one.
There are a number of reasons to remove an old radiator. Whether you’re renovating your home or just looking to save some money on your energy bills, we’ll help you get the job done.
It’s important to note that if you’re just temporarily removing a radiator, you won’t need to turn off your water or heating. However, if you’re replacing one or a number of radiators completely, you’ll need to turn these off and allow the water system to cool before you start.
What you’ll need
If you’re removing a radiator temporarily:
If you’re fitting a new radiator, you’ll also need:
How to remove a radiator
- Start by laying an old towel underneath the radiator. Gather both ends around the pipes at either side of the radiator, to catch any water that trickles down.
- One of the valves will be the manual control valve, which controls the heat. Turn the valve clockwise until it won’t turn anymore. Then you can remove the cap and tighten the bolt further with a spanner. If you have a Thermostatic Radiator Valve (TRV), turn this to the ‘zero’ or ‘off’ position. If your TRV came with shut off caps, you can use these to completely isolate the radiator.
- The valve at the other end, which controls the balance in the radiator, is the lockshield valve. Remove the cap and turn the bolt clockwise with a spanner, as far as you can. Keep track of the number of turns it takes to do this, so you can refasten it to the same setting.
- Place your drip tray or tub directly (depending on the height of your radiator, you may be able to use the bucket) under the manual control valve. Brace the valve with one spanner, while using the other to loosen the cap nut which connects the valve to the radiator. After a few turns, you should be able to twist the nut off manually.
- Let the water drain into the tray or tub. Each time the tray fills, re-tighten the cap nut to stop the water draining and empty the tray into the bucket. After a few minutes, loosen the bleed valve at the top of the radiator using a bleeding key. Turn the key on the valve a few turns to allow air into the radiator and the water to drain quicker. Continue draining the manual control valve until the flow stops.
- Unscrew and remove the cap nut from the lockshield valve. With both valves completely disconnected from the radiator, lift it carefully from the wall brackets and tilt towards your tray to drain out any remaining water.
- If the radiator’s particularly long, you may need help remove it from the wall brackets. While you’re decorating, you may also want to stuff the two outlets with an old cloth to avoid drips.
- When replacing the radiator, lower it back onto the wall brackets and join the connectors with the valve. You can wrap PTFE tape around the valve connector on the radiator to secure it. Tighten the cap nuts fully, replace the both valves and open the manual control valve. Use the bleeding key to let air out of the radiator and allow water back in. Finally, open the lockshield valve back to its previous position.
How to change a radiator
- To fit a new radiator, first remove any previous jointing compound or sealant from the valve and connectors. If you’ll be reusing the old connectors, remove them from the old radiator and clean with wire wool. Wind approximately 15cm of PTFE tape around the connector thread and screw into the new radiator.
- If your new radiator is the same width as your old one, you shouldn’t need to change the valves or pipe positions. You may need to replace the wall brackets, if they are very old or the new radiator hooks are a different width to the old radiator’s hooks. Unscrew the brackets from the wall and replace with new ones. You can apply filler and paint over any damage to the wall left by the old brackets. Use the placement of the old brackets as a guide for determining the height of the new brackets.
- Once the brackets are secure, hang the new radiator and a reconnect the valves.
Find out more
If you need to know how to change a radiator valve, check out our next blog. You can browse our full range of radiators, accessories and radiator valves on our product pages.