Central Heating DIY - How To Remove A Radiator

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Published: 18th November 2010
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Removing a central heating radiator can be a daunting experience as well as extremely messy so I would not personally recommend this DIY task unless you are fairly competent in plumbing or DIY, if not and you still intend to try, then ensure you have plenty of time to remedy any mistakes which may occur. I would certainly recommend that if you have to remove a radiator, to do during the summer season when your central heating will be turned off anyway.

For those of you who are fairly competent, it should be a relatively simple if you don’t rush and follow these simple steps and instructions. You wont need to remove any radiators if all you want to do is to paint or wallpaper behind it, only if you want to replace or to repair the wall behind it. Painting can normally be done using a small long handle paint roller you can push the wallpaper behind the radiator and cut slits in it to go around the mounting brackets.

Before you begin, make sure you have the correct tools for the job. Either use a couple of good size adjustable spanner (using small cheap spanners will only make the job so much harder, and not recommended unless you are built like a plumber.) or if are using individual spanners, ensure you have all the correct sizes. You will also need a Bleed Key, which can be bought in any hardware store if you haven’t got one.

All domestic radiators will have two valves, one being the inlet and the other the outlet. The inlet valve or the main valve is the one that we use to control the amount of hot water into the radiator and will either be a manual or a thermostatic valve. The outlet which is called a‘Lockshield valve.’ serves to restricts the outflow of water through the radiator and is used to balance the system.

If you have carpeted floors then it’s usually best to pull it away from the pipe than to lay down newspapers or plastic sheeting.

Next we have to isolate the radiator that we are removing and to do this we need to:

1.Close the main valve with your hands turning clockwise ensuring it is tightly closed

2.Remove the plastic cap off the Lockshield if there is one and using a suitable spanner turn the valve clockwise and carefully count the number of turns required to close this valve as this will need to be opened to the same position when it is replaced.

If the Lockshield has a drain off then:

1.Either connect a length of hose pipe to the drain off point and run the hose to the outside of your house or position a bowl under the drain off point. It’s a good idea to have a large bucket if using a bowl so you can easily empty the bowl when it gets full.

2.Open the drain off point using a suitable spanner and open the bleed valve at the top of the radiator

3.Allow the radiator to drain keeping an eye on it if you are using a bowl and be ready to shut off the drain off when it needs to be emptied.

If your lockshield valve does not have a drain off point:

1.Position a bowl under one of the union nuts which is the largest nut holding the valves to the radiator.

2.Then open the bleed valve at the top of the radiator and, using a suitable spanner, loosen the union nut. Be careful not to loosen the nut too much and this could result in the water flowing out uncontrollably.

3. Allow the water to drain into the bowl, keeping an eye to when the bowl is almost full and then carefully tighten the Union nut when the bowl needs to be emptied.

4.Once the water has stopped dripping, you will then be ready to disconnect the radiator. Its best to have an extra pair of hands to help you to hold the radiator as this is the stage where can get quite messy.

5.Using a suitable spanner loosing the other Union nut connecting the lockshield valve being careful to hold the valves steady to prevent them from rotating and you may need to wriggle each valve to break the seal. Keep the bowl under the union nuts as you are undoing them, as there probably will still be some residual water left in the radiator.

6.Once you have undone both the Union nuts, you should now be able to lift the radiator up and off of the mounting brackets. At this stage be careful not to tilt the radiator as will still be some very dirty water remaining on it, so try to keep the radiator level as you lift it and have a bucket handy so that one end of the radiator can be tipped into it. Then cover the valves with a plastic bag to prevent any more dirty water coming out.

When you are ready to re-fit the radiator:

1.Lift the radiator back onto the mounting brackets, and then re-position the valves to meet the radiator connections.

2.Fit each valve in turn into the connection on the radiator and fit the union nuts, first tighten them by hand and then fully tighten using a suitable spanner. You will need to be careful holding each valve steady whilst tightening each union nut to prevent it from rotating.

3.Using your bleeding key close the bleed valve is by turning it clockwise.

4.Open the Lockshield valve by the same number of turns as it was originally closed.

6.Open the main or thermostatic valve.

7.Then open the bleed valve at the top of the radiator by turning it anti-clockwise to allow any trapped air to escape and close the bleed valve by turning clockwise when you see water appearing.

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