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How to remove a radiator

Today we explain how to remove a radiator without draining the system down.

Our team can help with radiator replacement services here in London.

Remove Radiator

This is useful if you are decorating any room in your house where there is a radiator present so you can take it off the wall and quickly paint behind it.


The tools you will need include:

  • Radiator bleed key
  • Adjustable spanner (or normal spanner that fits)
  • Pair of adjustable grips (in case you need to grip a radiator valve)
  • Towels and a sponge (if you have one)
  • Painters rolling tray

If you don’t have a much flex on the radiator pipes going up, say they are coming out of a concrete floor, this might not be the easiest job to do in the world. It’s advisable to make sure that the pipes can move a little bit, if you can, before you start.

What type of heating system do you have?

First things first. Do you have a pressurised heating system? If you’re unsure you can look for a little dial on the front of your boiler, in your loft, or in your airing cupboard. Make a mental note of where that dial is pointing because once you finish this job and you put your old radiator back on the wall you’re going to need to depressurise the system – and also you might need to add a small amount of inhibitor.

If you’ve got a tank in the loft you don’t need to worry about making a note of the system pressure.

Close the radiator valves

The first thing to do is shut down the lock shield at the of the radiator, also also the TRV. Remember righty-tighty, meaning that you turn it right to shut the valve.

Once you’ve shut the radiator valves you need to undo the bleed valve radiator bleed key and undo the valve. We want to make sure that no water comes out. Occasionally you’ll get a little bit of water come out as the pressure dissipates from the radiator, but after about 5 minutes it should stop. If it doesn’t stop you’re not going to be able to continue with this method of removing the radiator to paint behind the wall.

If no water comes out we know that the valves are holding and thats its safe for us to go on to the next stage.

Drain the radiator

Next we need to use our grips and our adjustable spanner to grip the valve itself and slacken off the nut on the radiator side of the valve. You should see that pretty much straight away we get a little bit of water coming out.

Now we have our radiator draining down so we need to be patient and allow all the water to drain out. A handy tip is to have a big bucket to hand and then each time the painters tray gets full you can nip the nut back closed and pour the water into the large bucket – that way you know your not going to have any problems. Even if you do have a bit of a drip you’ve got your towels underneath that should soak up any stray drips of water.

Sometimes, if you’ve got enough flex in your radiator pipework you can actually pull the valve off and you can get the water to come out a lot quicker than it would have done.

Once the water in the radiator has drained down we can move onto the next stage.

Remove the radiator from it’s brackets

Now it’s time to deal with the radiator brackets. All radiator brackets are slightly different so its a good idea to have a good look at how they actually come off.

Before you fully remove the radiator from the wall you just want to slacken off the other end. Do it in exactly the same way as we slackened off our first pipe. Undo it completely. You might have a little bit of water come out but thats okay – just use your towel to mop it up as it shouldn’t be much.

Remember to do the bleed key back up for the next stage so that we don’t get any spillages.

Lift the side up slightly so that its tilted and any water thats trapped at the bottom of the radiator will drain out into the TRV side where you have the painters tray to catch it. Make sure that you drain it as thoroughly as you can. You may have to sit there for 5-10 minutes holding the radiator up at an angle, or you can pop a bit of wood under the radiator to prop it up and keep it in position.

Once its drained simply pop it off the clips and bobs your uncle. Now you’re ready to paint behind the radiator.

Refitting the radiator after painting

To put the radiator back its just a case of reversing the order and putting it all back together.

pop the radiator back onto the clips, put your pipes back on, then you can open up your valves, open up your air bleed, refill the radiator and then if you got a pressurised system go back and make sure thats nicely topped up. If, while your at it, you want to add some inhibitor then thats great. You can never really have too much inhibitor in your system.

How to remove a radiator

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