Can you remove a radiator and still use central heating

If you've got renovations or repairs to do in your home, then you may be planning to remove the radiators. But what effect will this have on your heating system, and will you even be able to use your heating after taking out a radiator?

We'll answer these questions and many more below. We've also thrown in a guide to radiator removal at the end of this article. An amateur DIYer can definitely complete the process, but it's always worth getting in touch with a professional plumber if you're at all unsure.

Can You Run Central Heating With a Radiator Removed?

Are you wondering, can I turn heating on with a radiator removed? The simple answer is yes, you can use your central heating after removing a radiator. This is possible because a radiator can be easily isolated from the general heating system.

By closing off the radiator valve leading to a particular radiator, water in the heating system will simply flow past and onto the next open radiator valve. So can you use central heating with a radiator removed? In most cases, yes.

With that said, things can change when you're removing multiple central heating radiators from the system. With every radiator you remove, you're reducing the number of places where water in the heating system can flow. Removing too many radiators can cause the pressure to get too high, which could cause damage to the system.

In general, removing one or two radiators isn't going to put the system under significant stress. But the job is probably best left to a professional if you need several radiators removed in your home.

Can I Remove a Radiator Permanently?

Once you've taken a radiator off the wall, you can keep it off permanently if you need to. However, if you're not going to be replacing the radiator, then it's a good idea to cap off the radiator valve to prevent any water leakage. You can find more information about how to do this is in the step-by-step guide below.

Is It Necessary To Turn Off The Water To Remove A Radiator?

There's no need to switch off the water supply when removing a radiator - the water will cut off from the radiator as soon as you close the valves. However, we would definitely advise you to switch off the central heating and wait for the radiator to fully cool before starting work.

Can You Remove a Radiator Without Draining the System?

You might be wondering, can I remove a radiator without draining the system? If you're removing one or two radiators, it usually isn't necessary to drain the whole system. There's no harm in doing this, but you'll only be adding more work to the process. You will need to drain the radiator of excess water before removing it, though.

What Will I Need to Remove a Radiator?

Radiator Removal Valve

You only need a few basic tools to remove a radiator. In fact, an adjustable spanner, a radiator bleed key, and a bucket are the only essential pieces of equipment. If you want to remove the wall brackets after removing the radiator, you'll also need a suitable screwdriver.

We'd recommend wearing some gloves to protect your hands from sharp radiator edges and to offer some protection if any hot water were to spurt out of the radiator.

Follow These Steps to Remove a Radiator

Step 1: Switch off the heating and wait for the radiator to cool down

Although you can still use your central heating system once a radiator has been removed, we'd still recommend turning the heating off during the process. We want to reduce the chance of hot water spraying everywhere as much as possible.

In addition, always let the radiator fully cool down before attempting any work. The main part of the radiator may not feel too hot to the touch, but you don't want to end up placing your hand on a boiling internal component.

Step 2: Separate the radiator from the rest of the system

Next, isolate the radiator from the system by closing the valves on both sides. One of the valves is usually a thermostatic valve, and the other a standard nut. Isolating the radiator ensures that it will be bypassed by any water flowing through the system.

Step 3: Drain & bleed the radiator

Place a bucket or bowl underneath the exit valve of the radiator. Slowly loosen the nut that connects the valve and the radiator. Water will start draining out of the bleed valve and into the bucket below.

Then, using a radiator bleed key, open the bleed valve. This will allow any trapped air and water to escape from the inside of the radiator. Remember, a radiator is a pressurised system, so it's important to let this pressure off before removing it from the wall.

After that, open the other water valve and let any water drain into your bucket. The radiator is now drained, bled, and ready to remove.

Step 4: Loosen and remove the union nuts

Loosen the nuts on either side until you can completely disconnect the valves from the radiator. Once disconnected, tilt the radiator gently to one side to drain any remaining water out of the system.

Step 5: Remove the radiator

Carefully lift the radiator off the wall brackets. If you're dealing with a large radiator, then be sure to get someone to give you a hand.

Step 6: Remove the wall brackets (optional)

Once the radiator has been removed, you can unscrew the brackets from the wall. Only do this if you're removing the radiator permanently.

Step 7: Cap your radiator valve

At this stage, the best thing to do is cap off the radiator valves to ensure water isn't going to flow through them. Water shouldn't be able to penetrate a closed valve, but some older systems may be susceptible to leaks.

To cap a valve, screw the cap onto the valve and tighten it up with a spanner.

Step 8: Remove pipework

Depending on your decorating plans, you may want to remove the pipe system coming out of the wall. This is a more complicated process, though, and we'd recommend consulting a professional before attempting any pipe removal.

If you need further guidance, check out our full guide on how to remove a radiator or how to fit and change a radiator.

Final Thoughts

We hope that this article has put your radiator removal concerns to rest. Whether you're upgrading to a new radiator or taking the old one out permanently, be sure to follow our advice to ensure you're not going to be left in the cold.

Radiator at window


How do I find out what type of heating system I have?

There are a few common types of central heating systems, including:

Conventional systems: A conventional system uses a combination of pumps and gravity to distribute hot water around your home. These systems require two water tanks and a boiler to heat the water. One of the tanks stores hot water for the heating system, and the other holds water for taps and showers.

Sealed systems: A sealed system uses pressure rather than gravity and pumps to move water around the building. A sealed system is more compact than a conventional system and is typically cheaper to operate. It's called a "sealed system" because it does not have any heat vents.

Combi system: Combi boilers are the most popular choice for new heating systems. This is because they use pressurised water direct from the mains and don't need a separate water tank. They are also considered the most efficient heating system, particularly for small to medium-sized homes.

All of these systems will still operate if a radiator is removed. If you need to find out what type of heating system you have, your best bet is to check the boiler. Look up the make and model to see whether it's a conventional or combi boiler.

To differentiate between a conventional or sealed system, look out for vents on the side of your property. If heating vents are present, you know you're dealing with a conventional system.

Are radiators part of central heating?

Yes, radiators are typically connected directly to your central heating system. The heating system sends hot water to the radiators, which then circulates around the radiator system. The heat from the water is transferred to the metal of the radiator and then to the room via convection.

A radiator valve works by controlling the amount of water that can flow inside the radiator system. The more hot water let in, the hotter the radiator will get. When the valve is turned off, water is blocked from flowing into that radiator and continues to another radiator with an open valve.

What are the costs of removing a radiator permanently?

Hiring a plumber to remove a radiator can cost anywhere between £80-150. If you're looking at getting the radiator replaced, this will incur further costs. Of course, if you feel confident with the process, then you can have a go at removing it yourself.

If you're just removing a single radiator, you typically won't have to drain the entire system. You will have to close valves at both ends of the radiator, though, and drain any water that is inside. For permanent removal, the best practice is to cap the pipes after removing the radiator. Water shouldn't get past a closed valve, but the cap acts as an extra safety measure.