How to Remove a Radiator


Removing radiators might seem like an intimidating task. However, with the right tools and a helping hand, you can learn how to remove a radiator temporarily or permanently.

By reading on we'll take you through a step by step process on how to disconnect and remove radiators safely.

The tools you'll need to remove a radiator

To take a radiator off a wall, you'll need:

  • Adjustable spanner x2
  • Radiator bleed key
  • Stop ends
  • Bowl
  • Towels

PlumbNation stock a wide variety of plumbing supplies needed for removing radiators.

How to completely remove a radiator

There are a few reasons why you might need to remove or move a radiator. You could be moving a door, creating a through lounge or find that a radiator is in the way.

Read our step-by-step guide on how to remove a radiator yourself to learn more about the process.

Step 1 - Isolate the power from the boiler and turn off the water that feeds the system

The first thing to do is isolate the power from the boiler. Turn this off to stop your central heating from turning on during the removal. You also need to switch off the water supply to the system to prevent water damage.

Step 2 - Drain the water from the radiator

Identify the drain point, which is usually at the lowest point of the system. Attach a hose pipe to this and run it outside. Open the valve up fully to allow the water to empty fully.

Step 3 - Unscrew air vents from radiators above

Check all the other radiators above the one you are removing and unscrew the air vents on each corner. This allows air to enter the system, making it easier for water to drain out.

Once you've done this, wait up to 2 hours before moving on to the next step. This is to give the water a chance to empty.

Step 4 - Disconnect the radiator valves and take the radiator off the wall

Check the hose pipe to ensure no further water is draining. After this, you're ready to disconnect the valves and remove the radiator. Close both the lockshield and thermostatic valve off using an adjustable spanner.

Use a radiator key to open the bleed valve and start to release air. Have a bucket or bowl ready to catch any water. Make sure you close the radiator valves once done.

Gently loosen the radiator nut and tilt the radiator to the side to remove any water. There can be residue or water left in the system, so use radiator clamps or a rag to plug the valves.

Unscrew each union nut and carefully remove the radiator from the wall. Keep it upright as you carry it away and place it somewhere safe.

Step 5 - Remove wall brackets

Unscrew the old brackets from the wall. If you're going to refit the radiator elsewhere, attach the brackets to the back using a piece of wire and string.

Step 6 - Trace the pipes and cap them off

You need to trace the remaining pipes as far as you can back to the branch in the circuit. Once located, cut them off and cap them as close as you can to the t-piece. Do not connect the pipes back together. Connecting them creates a small heating circuit that will always be on, wasting valuable gas.

To disconnect each pipe from the system, you may need to pull up some flooring. Locate the radiator pipe and cut it about 3 inches away from the joining pipe. Before you do anything, make sure you have spare towels and a container to use as there might be trapped water.

There are two ways of sealing the pipework. One is to use a solder stop end and the other is a compression stop end. If you aren't comfortable with soldering, then compression is the better option. Make sure you have the right cap size for your pipe.

Step 7 - Put the heating system back on and check everything is working and watertight

Once you've capped off the old pipes, refill your central heating system. Turn off the drain valve and ensure all the air vents on the radiators around the house are closed.

Before refilling, you need to replace the inhibitors in the system. Bleed the radiators from the top floor down and keep an eye on the radiator pipework to make sure there are no leaks.

Step 8 - Put the floorboards and carpet back

Once the whole system is full, switch the heating on and recheck the pipes to ensure everything is dry.

If everything is dry, you can put your floorboards and carpet back down. Remember to remove the hose from the drain point as well.

How to remove a radiator for decorating

Removing And Bleeding Radiator

You may also need to disconnect a radiator if you're painting or decorating temporarily. Follow these simple steps on how to take a radiator off a wall temporarily to make sure your radiator is successfully removed.

Step 1 - Turn off the radiator

The first step is to turn off your entire central heating system and allow it to cool. Once complete, switch off the radiator valves at both ends to stop any more water from coming through.

Your radiator will have either a manual valve or a thermostatic radiator valve (TRV). To switch off a manual valve, turn this clockwise until it stops turning. Turn a thermostatic radiator valve to zero or the off position.

The other is a lockshield valve which controls the flow rate. Remove the plastic cap and turn the other valve clockwise using an adjustable spanner until it won't turn any further. Write down how many turns it takes so you can use the same number when you refit the radiator.

Step 2 - Place a towel and bowl underneath the radiator valve

Before you start to bleed the radiator, get your bowl and put this under the valve to catch any water. Find a couple of old towels in the airing cupboard and place them under the radiator valves. These will help to collect any excess water and stop it from going onto the floor or walls.

Step 3 - Undo the radiator nut and drain the radiator

With a bowl in place to catch water, use one adjustable spanner to loosen the nut and the other to protect the valve body from damage. Doing this allows a little water to empty from the radiator. It's always a good idea to have another bowl or tray on hand to collect excess water.

Use a radiator bleed key to carefully undo the radiator valve nut to allow any trapped air to escape. Turn the radiator key anticlockwise to allow the remaining water to drain.

Step 4 - Move to the second valve and repeat the process

As soon as the water has stopped draining, make sure you close the radiator bleed valve. Turn it clockwise to shut and then move to the other side.

Undo the valve nut the same way that you did in step 3. To help the last few drops of water to drain, undo the bleed valve.

Step 5 - Lift the radiator off the wall

Loosen the radiator nuts until they have been disconnected. Be careful as there will still be dirty water in the radiator. Once disconnected, lift the radiator and gently tilt it to one side to empty any remaining liquid.

Use an old rag or tissue to block the radiator valve inlets to prevent unwanted spills or drips. Lift your radiator up and off the brackets to remove it ready for decorating. Radiators are heavy, so you might need help with this step.

Step 6 - Decorate your wall

After taking a radiator off a wall, place it somewhere safe until you're ready to reconnect it. You can then get to work painting and decorating your room. Leave the paint to dry before reconnecting.

Step 7 - Reconnect your radiator

If you've finished decorating, it's time to put your radiator back. If you are replacing your old radiator with a new radiator, make sure you have the correct size brackets and fittings.

Turn your central heating off if it isn't already and allow it to cool. Replace your radiator into its original position on the radiator brackets. Make sure everything is lined up and reconnect the valves and pipework.

Open the input valve and the bleed valve to allow any trapped air out. Once complete, close the bleed valve and open the lockshield the same amount of times as you closed it before. Check for any leaks and restart your central heating.

For more guidance on how to change and fit a radiator or bleeding a radiator, contact our team.