A competent DIY-er would be capable of replacing a radiator, especially if they have taken on successful plumbing jobs around the house before. If
you are unsure or lack the required skills or tool then it is always best to contact a qualified plumber. A weekend afternoon is the perfect time to set aside for this job, as replacing a radiator should take a few hours at most. This time frame assumes you know the basics of radiator replacement such as replacing a radiator valve if needed.
Radiator Replacement Tools
Before you set to work on your radiator replacement you should ensure you have all the correct tools. To carry out this job effectively you will need the following items:
- Adjustable wrench
- Tape measure
- Spirit level
- Radiator key
- Pipe cutter
- Pipe wrench
- Radiator brush
- Dust sheet
- Pipe tape
If you have most of the items you should be able to pick up the rest at your local DIY store. However if you need all new equipment it may be more cost effective to call out a plumber to carry out the work.
Step by Step Guide to Changing a Radiator
Step 1: Before you replace a radiator you will need to turn off your water supply. Once you’ve turned that off you will need to sort out the radiator valves. At one end you will find the manual control valve that turns the heat on and off, turn it off. At the opposite end is a valve that controls the flow through the system, known as the lockshield valve. You will need to remove the protective cap and then turn it as far clockwise as possible with an adjustable wrench.
Step 2: You will now need to drain the old radiator, so place your bucket under the control valve ready for the excess water. Use your wrench to grip the valve, hold it in place whilst you loosen the nut that connects this bleed valve to the adaptor piece screwed on to the radiator. Now vent the radiator of air to break the vacuum inside and allow the water to flow out of the control valve. You will need your radiator key to open the bleed valve to do this. Allow the radiator to drain fully, until the flow stops.
Step 3: Once you have drained the radiator, you will need to remove it. To do this you should loosen and undo the nut that connects the lockshield valve to the adaptor in the radiator. Lift the radiator up to remove it from the wall brackets; you might need to grab a spare pair of hands for this part! Use your radiator key to close the bleed valve.
Step 4: Now it is time to hang your new radiator. First of all get some pipe tape and wrap it around the adapter screw threads, do this in a clockwise direction. If your new radiator is the same width as your old one you will fit the control and lockshield valves before installing the unit onto the wall. Next you should open the valves to fill the radiator, ensuring you follow all manufactures’ guidelines. Then lift the radiator onto the wall brackets (again, you might need a spare pair of hands!) and tighten up the nuts that connects the valves to the radiator on both ends. Make sure you do not over tighten the compression fittings, using just enough force to make a watertight joint. Now open the manual control or thermostatic valve fully, and open the bleed valve at the top, this should allow water to fill the radiator. Once the water has stopped making a gurgling sound you should open the lockshield valve again.
Step 5: Check all the joints are dry and then tighten where required. You can now turn your central heating back on and double check.
Cost of Replacing a Radiator
It depends whether you plan on replacing the radiator yourself or hiring a professional and qualified plumber to do the work for you.
If you plan on doing the work yourself, then the only cost factor you need to consider is the radiator itself. The cost will depend on the style and size of radiator and will vary between £60 – £150+ on your needs. (You may also find this central heating cost guide helpful)
However, if you want to hire a plumber to do the work you will also need to factor in labour costs. The cost will vary between £50 – £100 per radiator replacement depending on where you live and the experience of the plumber.