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How To Replace An Old Radiator With A New One

There are many reasons why you might want to replace an old radiator for a new one.  Maybe your old one has become corroded and inefficient over the years.  Or you just want a more attractive design of radiator.  Changing a radiator is actually a common DIY job.  It can be a relatively easy job, especially if you follow our advice below:

Step 1.  What Heating System Do You Have?

Most people have a pressurised heating system.  If you are unsure, look for a little dial on the front of your boiler.  Once you have located your pressure gauge.  This dial tells you the current pressure within your system.  Note that this pressure will go down when you drain your radiator and pipes, and will need to be filled to the same point again once done.

Step 2.  Turn your Boiler Off

Switch off your heating system.  This will prevent the water from heating up, making the job safer to carry out.

Step 3.  Protect Your Floor

Anyone who needs to replace an old radiator should be prepared for water leaks.  Changing a radiator can be a messy job.  Ensure you lay some towels down underneath your radiator valves.  It is also a good idea to have some small tubs handy, to capture any water.

Step 4.  Decide What Needs to Be Changed or Adjusted

Ask yourself the following questions.

  • Are you changing your radiator to one that is the same width as your old one? If so then go to step 5.
  • Are you changing your valves and radiator (which is the same width as your old one)? If so then go to step 6.
  • Do you need to replace an old radiator with a new radiator of a different width? If so then go to step 7.

Step 5.  Replace an Old Radiator Only, with one of same Width

This step involves closing your radiator valves.  And then disconnecting the radiator from the valves.  We tell you have to achieve this below:

  1. Close both valves of on your radiator by turning them fully clockwise.
  2. Undo the valve going into your radiator, but only loosen it slightly until you start to see water leak from it.  If you loosen it too quickly, the high pressure will make the water spray everywhere.
  3. Capture this leaking water in a plastic tub (or something similar).
  4. Progressively loosen the connection whilst trying to capture the water.  Eventually the pressure will drop dramatically, allowing you to fully remove the valves from the radiator.
  5. Remove your radiator from the wall by pulling it upwards.  There will still be water in your radiator when you do this, so make sure you immediately tilt your radiator into a bucket once it is off the hooks.
  6. Slot your new radiator into place, by attaching it to the wall hooks.
  7. Connect the valves onto your new radiator.
  8. Open the valve by turning them fully anti-clockwise.
  9. Put more water into your boiler, until the pressure gauge needle is halfway in the green zone.  Your boiler instruction manual will tell you how to do this.
  10. You will not have to remove air from your system.  Use a special radiator bleed key to do this.  Your new radiator will have a bleed valve at the top.  Simply open the valve, and let the air flow out.  Close this valve once you start seeing water.  
  11. Test your new radiator out.  Well done! You now know how to replace an old radiator.

Step 6.  Replace an Old Radiator and Valves 

  1. Turn both of your radiator valves off.  This prevents water flowing into and out of your radiator.
  2. Your radiator and the pipes attached will have water in it.  This water will be under a certain amount of pressure, indicated by your boiler gauge.
  3. You will be slowly releasing this water, but you first you need to prepare for spillages by placing towels and small bowels under your radiator valves.
  4. The best way to slowly release the water from your radiator, whilst minimising spillage, is to loosen your valve compression fittings enough to leak water.  Do not completely remove your valve at first, otherwise water will flow out too fast and flood your floor.  Release the water slowly so you can catch it easily in small bowels.  replace an old radiator for a new one
  5. The valve compression fitting that attaches the copper pipe can be loosened via a spanner.  Once you have released enough pressure from the system that is stops leaking, you can then progressively undo it.
  6. Remove both valves, one at a time.  Once removed you will probably have water leak from the copper pipes.  Make sure you drain as much water as possible from the pipes, until it stops coming out.
  7. Remove your radiator from the wall by pulling it upwards.  There will still be water in your radiator when you do this, so make sure you immediately tilt your radiator into a bucket once it is off the hooks.
  8. Fit your new valves to your copper pipe, where your old ones were.  This is usually done via a compression fitting.
  9. Once the valves has been fitted to the pipes, you can then connect the valves into your radiator.
  10. Open the valves by turning them fully anti-clockwise.
  11. Put more water into your boiler, until the pressure gauge needle is halfway in the green zone.  Your boiler instruction manual will tell you how to do this.
  12. Turn your heating system on.
  13. Drain air from your newly installed radiator.  This can be done by opening a valve at the top of your radiator, using a special key.  At first air will leak from this valve.  Keep it open until water comes out, which means no air is present in the radiator.
  14.  Watch out for any leaks.

Step 7.  Replace An Old Radiator, with One of Different Width

  1. Turn both of your radiator valves off.  This prevents water flowing into and out of your radiator.
  2. Your radiator and the pipes attached will have water in it.  This water will be under a certain amount of pressure, indicated by your boiler gauge.
  3. You will be slowly releasing this water, but you first you need to prepare for spillages by placing towels and small bowels under your radiator valves.
  4. The best way to slowly release the water from your radiator, whilst minimising spillage, is to loosen your valve compression fittings enough to leak water.  Do not completely remove your valve at first, otherwise water will flow out too fast and flood your floor.  Release the water slowly so you can catch it easily in small bowels.
  5. The valve compression fitting that attaches the copper pipe can be loosened via a spanner.  Once you have released enough pressure from the system that is stops leaking, you can then progressively undo it.
  6. Remove both valves, one at a time.  Once removed you will probably have water leak from the copper pipes.  Make sure you drain as much water as possible from the pipes, until it stops coming out.
  7. Remove your radiator from the wall by pulling it upwards.  There will still be water in your radiator when you do this, so make sure you immediately tilt your radiator into a bucket once its off the hooks.
  8. Now you will need to adjust your pipes, so that your valves can be fitted to your new radiator.  You will most likely need to extend the horizontal lengths of your copper pipe, or reduce it.  Either way you will need to start of by cutting the pipes just before the pipe bends upwards, using a 15mm pipe cutter tool.  Then you can use 15mm pre-soldered fittings to modify the length of your pipe.  
  9. You want to adjust your pipes, so your valves can easily be connected to your radiator.
  10. Fit your new valves to your copper pipe.  This is usually done via a compression fitting.
  11. Once the valves has been fitted to the pipes, you can then connect the valves into your radiator.
  12. Open the valves by turning them fully anti-clockwise.
  13. Put more water into your boiler, until the pressure gauge needle is halfway in the green zone.  Your boiler instruction manual will tell you how to do this.
  14. Turn your heating system on.
  15. Drain air from your newly installed radiator.  This can be done by opening a valve at the top of your radiator, using a special key.  At first air will leak from this valve.  Keep it open until water comes out, which means no air is present in the radiator.
  16.  Watch out for any leaks.

Hopefully you have found this article useful, and managed to replace an old radiator for a new one!


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Posted on 3rd January 2019 at 4:43 pm

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