Need to remove a radiator? This is a straightforward job as long as you follow the steps carefully, but before starting out it's worth checking out if removing a radiator is absolutely necessary.
If you are decorating, you will find that many jobs do not require removing a radiator. You can paint behind a radiator with a long handled paint roller, while wallpapering behind one can usually be achieved by cutting slits in the paper so that it fits around the brackets.
Remember that if you are wallpapering around a radiator, always use border adhesive - regular paste will dry out too much from the heat, and lift and curl away from the wall.
However, if you need to plaster behind the radiator, for example, then you will need to completely remove it. To remove a radiator you will need the following tools:
- Large adjustable spanner (or a spanner which fits the nut connecting the radiator to the valve)
- Set of water pump pliers
- Radiator bleed key or flat head screwdriver
- Dust sheets
Place the dustsheets beneath the radiator, and the bowl underneath one of the nuts that connect the radiator to the pipes.
Most radiators have two valves, one at either end of the radiator - these are called the flow and return valves. One valve will be a lockshield valve, while the other is a manual control or thermostatic valve.
The first step is to turn off both valves - this will prevent any more water from getting into the radiator. The manual/thermostatic valve will close by hand, while the lockshield valve will need the adjustable spanner.
Next, grip the valve firmly with the water pump pliers (this stops the valve from damaging the pipe) and loosen the nut with the adjustable spanner - at this point water should begin to trickle out into the bowl.
Once the bowl is full, tighten the nut back up, then empty the bowl into the bucket. Repeat this process until the radiator is empty. If the water is draining slowly, you can open the radiator bleed screw to speed up the process.
Once no more water comes out, undo the other retaining nut. The radiator should now be disconnected from the pipes. You should be able to lift the radiator up and away from the brackets - do this carefully as there will still be some water left inside! Tip the radiator to empty the remaining water into the bowl.
It is also a good idea to cap off the thermostatic valve, as these can often leak a considerable amount of water. You might also want to cover the valves with a plastic bag to keep dirt out of them when you are working.
To refit the radiator, lift it back onto the brackets, then re-fasten both of the valve retaining nuts - ensure that these are tight and not leaking. Open the lockshield valve first, then the manual or thermostatic valve, and check for leaks.
Finally you will need to open the bleed screw to expel the air - have a cloth or piece of kitchen towel handy to catch the water when it appears - when water appears, tighten the bleed screw back up. You may need to check the pressure in the boiler and top it up if necessary, and it's probably worth bleeding the other radiators in the system to be sure they don't have air in them.