Removing A Radiator


Removing a radiator isn't as difficult as it may first appear. Any individual radiator can be removed without you having to drain the whole heating system.

First make sure that you have the right tools to do the removal.

For example:

  • Two adjustable spanners
  • Two type of screwdrivers, one 'Flat Head', and one 'Posidrive'
  • A radiator bleed valve key
  • A small hand jug, a bowl, a waterproof sheeting and rags

Before you start removing a radiator be aware that the water in radiators can be very dirty due to corrosion caused by rusting, and/or corrosion and build-up of black magnetite sludge caused by the electrolytic action between dissimilar metals.

Even if you are able to pull back any floor coverings such as carpets and rugs, it's still a good idea to lay a waterproof sheet below the radiator that is to be removed to prevent any spillage, and water damage to furnishings.

Once you have prepared the area around the radiator you can begin.

Shutting Off A Radiator

Before removing a radiator you must first shut off (close) both valves connected to the radiator - the handwheel valve and the lockshield valve.

  • Fully turn the handwheel valve in a clockwise direction until closed.
  • If using a thermostatic radiator valve remove the temperature sensing head and with a manual locking nut (cap), secure the valve's pressure-pin down to prevent the thermostatic valve opening and discharging water if there is a temperature drop in the room
  • Unscrew and remove the cap on the lockshield valve and then release the locknut around the shank.
  • Once the locknut has been released you will be able to shut off the lockshield valve by turning the shank in a clockwise direction until fully closed.
  • Note down the number of turns needed to close the lockshield valve so that you can reopen it by the same amount when you reinstall the radiator to prevent unbalancing the heating system.

Draining The Radiator

Use one of the adjustable spanners to unscrew (one at a time) the cap-nut holding either the handwheel or lockshield valve to the adapter in end of the radaiator, and the other to prevent the tail-pipe or valve from twisting when unscrewing the cap-nut. Make sure that you have your bowl and jug ready to catch the water!

Separate the valve just slightly from the radiator's adapter and catch the emptying water in the bowl. To speed up the emptying of water open the radiator's bleed valve to allow air to enter the radiator.

When the radiator is pretty much empty of water unscrew the cap-nut connecting the remaining valve from the radiator making sure that you catch any water spillage.

Removing The Radiator

Most of the wall hung radiators are made of steel which means that depending on the size they can be very heavy even when empty of water, so it's advisable to have someone assist you when removing a radiator from it's bracket.

With assistance lift the radiator off the wall brackets and pour out any remaining water.

Re-hanging The Radiator

If you are replacing the radiator with a similar sized one you may not have to reposition the wall brackets. You may however, have to if the radiator is a different make and type.

Lift and place the radiator onto it's brackets and then reconnect the handwheel and lockshield valve to the radiator's cap-nuts using the spanners to firmly tighten.

Reopen the lockshield valve by using the same number of turns that was used to close it. Lock-off the valve shank with the locking nut before screwing on the covering cap on the lockshield valve.

Open the handwheel valve by turning anti-clockwise and allow radiator to fill. Hold a rag under the radiator's bleed valve and then open with key to allow the air to escape. close the bleed valve when water starts to come out.

See also:

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