How to Remove a Radiator in a Few Easy Steps

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Last updated: October 31, 2023

Whether you need to take out a radiator for decorating, replace an old model, much-needed repairs or for a full, deep clean, there are numerous reasons why you would want to remove a radiator from a wall. And while more in-depth pipework should be left to the professionals, removing a radiator is a DIY job that’s pretty easy to do. With the right tools, a little know-how and a dash of patience, you can soon be removing radiators like a pro. Here’s our step-by-step guide to how to remove a radiator.

What Do I Need To Remove A Radiator?

Before attempting to take a radiator of a wall, you will need to have the right tools. The tools you need are most likely already in your toolbox, if you are a DIY’er, or can be bought from your local DIY store. To safely remove a radiator, you will need:

  • A radiator bleed key – used to open the bleed valve (A flat-top screwdriver should also work)
  • Adjustable spanner/wrench
  • A washing up bowl (or similar)
  • A couple of old towels (to protect your floor and mop up any water/mess)

It is important to use the right tools for the job, so if you don’t have them, or are not confident in using them, then call out a professional to do the job.

Heating radiator in room

Steps For Removing Your Radiator

So, now you have all the right tools and are prepared for a little mess, you are ready to start removing your radiator. It’s important to stress that the below guide is for the straightforward removal of a radiator and that any pipework or more complicated capping of radiators should be completed by a plumber or heating professional.

Step 1: Switch off your heating

Before you do anything, it is essential that you first switch off your central heating and then allow the whole system to cool right down. This will ensure you don’t get accidentally burnt while you remove the radiator if the water inside it is hot.

Step 2: Set up your space

To minimise any potential mess due to leaked water as you remove the radiator, place your old towels underneath, with a bowl directly under the radiator valve.

Step 3: Turn off the radiator valves

You will now need to close the radiator valves to isolate the individual radiator from the rest of the central heating system. Most of today’s radiators have two types of valves – the thermostatic radiator valve (TRV) and the lock shield valve. The TRV first needs to be turned to zero or its off position. Now go to the valve on the opposite side of the radiator – which is the lock shield valve. Remove its cap and, using an adjustable spanner, turn the lock shield valve clockwise until closed. A good tip is to make a note of the number of turns it takes to close the valve, as it will help you get the same pressure inside the radiator when you put it back.

Step 4: Drain the radiator

Using your bleed key, you now need to undo the radiator valve nut, which you should find on either side of the radiator. Working with one radiator valve at a time, undo the valve turning your bleed key anti-clockwise then drain the radiator water into your bowl. Close the bleed valve then repeat with the opposite valve until all of the water has been drained from the radiator body.

Step 5: Disconnect the radiator

Once you are happy the water has been drained, you are ready to carefully remove the radiator from the wall. You will need to loosen the union nuts that are holding the radiator to its wall brackets, loosening them one at a time and then tilting the radiator to drain any water residue into a bowl. Now fully unscrew both union nuts until the radiator is free of the wall brackets. Now carefully lift the radiator off the wall – get someone to help you with the radiator lift task, taking the time to keep the radiator vertical to avoid any final spills as you carry it out.

Step 6: Temporarily Cap Your Pipes

After a successful radiator removal, it is a good idea to temporarily cap the radiator valve, if you plan to put the radiator back in its place. Capping the valves will give you a little extra peace of mind, when you switch back on your central heating and fire your other radiators back up.

If you are unsure about temporarily removing a radiator, check out some of the excellent ‘how to’ videos you can find on YouTube for more information.

Can you remove a radiator and still use central heating?

Yes, you can still use your central heating, even if you have removed one of the radiators out of the loop. But to do so, you must make sure you shut off both valved on either side of the radiator, so it has been isolated from the central heating system, before it is removed. This way, your central heating will still work, without any impact from the removed radiator.

Do you need to turn the water off to remove a radiator?

While water can cause a whole heap of trouble, especially to wooden floors, it is not necessary for you to turn off the connection to your main water, when preparing to remove a radiator. And the reason is that radiators have valves that, when closed, will separate the radiator from the central heating system and so your main water supply. By closing the valve and emptying the water out of the radiator you are removing, everything should be safe as long as you make sure you have turned off the heating system first. But if you do have concerns, then you can opt to turn off your water.

Related Read: How To Drain A Central Heating System

What Is The Difference Between Temporary or Permanent?

It is when you get to the final step in our ‘how to remove a radiator’ guide that you will need to know the difference between temporary or permanent removal. To temporarily remove a radiator means you intend to install the same radiator back again, so there will be no changes in the pipework. You will need to add a temporary cap, but the location is safe and ready for the radiator to be re-installed.

The removal of a radiator is permanent when you have no intention to return the radiator back to its original location – for example, you have other plans for the space, such as installing a fire, reconfiguring your central heating or removing the wall. If this is the case, you will need to call out a professional heating engineer to ensure the radiator pipes are correct and have been capped safely and permanently.

Related Post: Do Radiator Covers Block Heat?


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