Depending upon your DIY experience, the process to replace a radiator isn’t too difficult. It’s made even easier when there isn’t any pipework to alter underneath the floorboards. However, if you aren’t that experienced but you simply want to see what a professional has to do to replace a radiator, the below guide will walk you through the replacement.
Assuming that you know the radiator size that you need, below is advice and the steps required to replace a radiator.
Advice Before The Replacement
As you will be removing the old radiator, it’s highly advised that you check the condition of the wall. If there are any areas of cracking or crumbling, you may want to get the wall plastered before replacing the radiator. You may also want to apply a fresh lick of paint whilst it’s removed too.
Different Sized Radiators
If you are installing a larger or smaller radiator compared to the current radiator, you will need to make some pipe alterations. If this is the case, it’s advised that you call in a professional plumber to carry this out for you. Not only will the pipework need to be altered, you will also need to pull up the floorboards and even cut into any wooden joists.
As you can see in the below photos, the replacement radiator was much larger and had pipework alterations under the floorboards. Luckily, we made sure this work was carried out before laying down new carpet.
The old radiator that’s seen better days and was well overdue a replacement.
The larger replacement radiator with pipework alterations and new TRV’s.
What You’ll Need
If you are replacing the old radiator with a same size replacement, below are the tools and parts you require.
- Replacement radiator
- New radiator brackets
- Thermostatic radiator valve (also known as a TRV)
- Hammer drill with masonry bit
- Two adjustable spanners
- Radiator bleed key
- Bucket or small container
- PTFE tape (a plumber’s best friend)
How To Replace A Radiator
1. Turn off Your Heating & Isolate The Radiator
To begin replacing a radiator, you will need to turn off the central heating and isolate the old radiator, which can be achieved by shutting off the valves at either end. If you have a manual valve, you will need to turn it clockwise until it no longer turns. If its a TRV, you simply turn it all the way to the “off” position.
2. Drain The Radiator
The next stage after isolating the radiator is to drain it into a bucket or container. Using an adjustable spanner, simply loosen one of the swivel nuts that connect the valve to the radiator. You may also need to use another spanner to hold the valve securely to prevent the pipework from also turning along with the valve. Once complete, you can then open the bleed valve at the top of the radiator and drain away all the water.
3. Lift Away The Radiator
Once the water has drained out of the radiator, you can begin to lift it away from the bracket. Before completely removing it, it’s advised that you tip the radiator in order to remove any remaining water. If the radiator is rather large, you may wish to ask for help as it can be quite heavy.
4. Replace The Existing Wall Brackets
When you purchase a new radiator, they often come with new wall brackets and its good practice to use them rather than the old ones. Therefore, using your screwdriver or drill, remove the old brackets. You can then continue to use a masonry drill bit and red plugs to install the new brackets to the wall (assuming the condition of the wall is in good working order).
5. Replace The Valve Connectors & TRV’s
Whether you replace or keep the old connectors, you will need to install them onto the new radiator. If you are keeping the valve connectors and TRV’s, you will need to clean them up with wire wool. As you connect them (new or existing valves), you will want to use PTFE tape around the threads to ensure its completely watertight.
6. Fix The New Radiator To The Brackets
Now that the new radiator is all setup, you can attach it to the newly mounted brackets on the wall.
7. Reconnect All Connections & Bleed The Radiator
Once the radiator is on the wall brackets, continue to connect the valves and reset them. You will also need to open the bleed valve of the radiator to allow any air to escape and help fill the radiator with water. Once complete, check all the valves and joints for any leaks and double check that everything is tightened correctly.
8. Enjoy The Heat
You can then step back, admire the shiny new radiator and test out that its heating up correctly.
How Much Does It Cost To Replace A Radiator?
If you have read our guide on how to replace a radiator and decided it isn’t something you are tempted to try, you will need to get a professional plumber to do it. However, how much does it cost to replace each radiator?
Excluding the cost of the radiator itself, the cost to replace a radiator can include:
- Like for life replacement radiator – £80 to £150
- Smaller or larger replacement that involves pipework alterations – £200 to £300
- Replacement radiator moved across the room – £250 to £300
The prices do vary due to the areas that you live in and any extras or repairs that may be involved during the replacement. Most plumbers may also offer a discount if you replace more than one radiator. This is due to the fact that they only need to drain the central heating and repressurise it once, which is often the most time consuming aspect of replacing a radiator.
Although you can attempt to replace parts of a radiator or even paint the radiator, if it isn’t pumping out enough heat, it’s advised that you replace it. As long as you are replacing the radiator with a same sized replacement, it isn’t too difficult. The only difficultly comes when the pipework needs to be altered in order to cater for the larger or smaller radiator size.