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How To Remove A Radiator [And Refit After Decorating]

Today’s guide focuses on how to remove a radiator from a wall. This relates to temporarily removing a radiator for decorating and the likes, not permanently disconnecting it.

We’ll cover what tools you’ll need for removal, draining down your system, how to refill it, and how to flush and bleed radiators, so your heating system works more efficiently than it did before you started decorating.

Before Starting

We’d suggest having a quick read through this guide before attempting to remove your radiator. The last thing you need is to get half way through and realise you’re missing a tool or have a problem that you can’t rectify.

How Long Does It Take To Remove A Radiator?

Most competent DIYers will be able to remove their radiator within an hour, including draining down their central heating system.

It shouldn’t take more than an hour to refit the radiator, including filling up their system and bleeding all radiators of air.

If you’re not experienced with DIY, especially heating systems, you’ll be able to grab some help by getting multiple quotes from experienced plumbers here.

What You’ll Need

To remove a radiator and then reinstall it, you’ll need:

  1. Hose

Used to drain the heating system.

  1. PTFE

You’ll use this to wrap around the thread of the valves when you refit the radiator, giving it a solid seal.

  1. Containers And Towels

They’ll be used to catch/mop up any water from valves or your radiator.

  1. Adjustable Grips And/Or Plumber’s Wrench

To undo and tighten the radiator valves.

  1. Bleed Key

Once your radiator has been refitted, you’ll need to bleed the central system of air, otherwise it won’t heat efficiently, and some radiators might not get up to temperate.

How To Remove A Radiator

  1. Bleeding The System

There are two options here.

Isolating The Water Supply

You can isolate water supply by tightening the valves using an adjustable spanner, which shuts off the supply of water to that particular radiator.

This is the quick and easy option. However, the radiator will still be full of water, even after the water supply has been cut off.

As you undo the lock shield/TRV, water is going to start leaking. So, if this is the route you take, make sure you have containers to catch water, and plenty of towels for mopping up.

Draining The Heating System (preferred)

Draining the heating system is the preferred option for a few reasons:

  • You’ll be draining dirty heating water, and replacing it with fresh water, meaning your system will operate more efficiently
  • If you make a mistake, or the lock shield/TRV is faulty, with the system drained, water won’t be pouring out of the pipework

To drain the system, you’ll need to locate the drain cock, attach a hose and route the hose outside.

Opening the draincock allows water to escape. You’ll see the pressure on your boiler reducing as this water is drained from the system (it’s the water that creates pressure).

Once the pressure is at zero, you can lock off the radiator valves. Don’t do this before draining the system, otherwise the radiator will be full when you come to remove it.

With the boiler’s pressure gauge at 0 bar (it was probably around 1-1.5 bar before draining), you can lock off the radiator valves, and move onto the next step.

  1. Removing The Radiator

With the system bled of water and the valves disconnected using your wrench, you can now remove the radiator from the brackets.

Bear in mind, some water may still be in the radiator, so it makes sense to get someone to help you and lift the radiator off together, keeping it in the same upright position until you’re outside.

  1. Flush The Radiator

Although the system has been cleared of dirty heating water, some central heating sludge might be caught up in your radiator.

Take it outside and flush it through with a hose until the water comes out completely clear. Removing even small amounts of heating sludge will help your system work more efficiently, not to mention the fact it reduces the chance of bits of rust clogging up your boiler, resulting in expensive repair bills.

  1. Refitting The Radiator After Decorating

Installation is essentially, the reverse of removal. You’ll need to:

  • Put the radiator back onto the wall brackets
  • Connect the lock shield and TRV (making sure you use plenty of PTFE tape)

Next, you’ll need to refill your heating system with water.

  1. Filling A Central Heating System

Making sure the radiator bleed valve is closed, you can fill your heating system with central heating inhibitor and water.

You’ll fill the system using the external filling loop (usually, a braided hose beneath the boiler’s casing).

Always check your owner’s manual for the correct pressure, but typically we’d expect a system to sit in the 1.3-1.5 bar range.

  1. Bleeding Radiators

Again, this is a job that’s much easier with two people. As you fill your heating system, air will enter. Air fills gaps that water doesn’t and therefore, will maintain pressure.

You DON’T want air in your system. It creates airlocks and means radiators won’t work efficiently.

To remove airlocks, you need to open bleed valves on each radiator (but, one at a time).

You’ll hear a hissing noise (air escaping). Once all air has been bled, a dribble of water will appear; shut off the bleed valve and move onto the next radiator (repeat for all radiators and towel rails in your property).

Note: As you bleed radiators, the pressure on the system will drop. You’ll need someone to keep topping up the system with pressure (maintaining a pressure of around 1.3 bar) until all radiators have been bled of air.

  1. Lock Off The Filling Loop

You’ll notice two valves on the filling loop. One will seem like it does nothing, whereas when you open the other, it will add water (and therefore pressure) to your heating system.

The second valve is an isolation valve. This stops water leaking into the system (and therefore, pressure increasing when you don’t want it to).

With all radiators bled, and pressure at around 1.3-1.5 bar, you’ll want to shut off the isolation valve on the boiler.

What’s Next?

That’s it; our guide explaining how to remove a radiator and refit it after decorating.

Still got questions? Drop us a line via our contact form and we’ll do our best to help you out.

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