How to Remove an Old Radiator

One of the great deterrents to anyone wanting to remove a radiator is the prospect of having to drain the whole system. However, this won’t be necessary provided the radiator to be replaced has a valve at both the hot water inlet and the outlet. Once these are closed, you’ll be able to keep virtually all the system’s water isolated in other parts.

At the inlet end you’re likely to find the hand-valve which is the control by which you open and close the radiator. At the outlet end you’ll find what is termed the lock-shield valve. When you come to inspect your radiator, don’t worry if their positions are reversed – they will still be equally effective.

The first thing to do when removing a radiator is to close these valves. The hand-valve is straightforward, but you’ll have to remove the cover to get at the lock-shield valve. You’ll be able to close this valve using a spanner or an adjustable wrench with which to grip its spindle.

radiator How to Remove an Old Radiator

As you turn it, it’s a good idea to note carefully how many turns it takes to close. And you’ll find this task slightly easier if you mark the turning nut with a piece of chalk before you begin. The reason for all this is to maintain the balance of the system. After it was first installed, your system would have been balanced. The lock-shield valves of all the radiators were adjusted to give an equal level of water through-flow so that they were all heating up equally. So, by noting the number of turns taken to close the lock-shield, when you come to fit the new radiator you can simply open it up by the same amount -so avoiding the somewhat tedious task of rebalancing the whole system.

Once you’ve closed both valves, you can unscrew the nuts which connect the valves to the radiator inlet and outlet. Do these one at a time after having placed a low dish under each end to collect the water and protect the floor Use an adjustable wrench to undo the coupling nuts. It’s wise to hold the circulating pipe securely in place with another wrench. Otherwise, if you apply too much pressure to the coupling nut you risk fracturing the flowpipe, and this would cause you a lot of extra work and expense to mend – as well as causing quite a mess. As you unscrew each nut, the water from the radiator will flow out. If the system has been previously treated with corrosion proofer to add cathodic protection, it’s well worth saving the water. That way you can pour it back into the feed-and-expansion tank when the job is complete.

Once the water has drained out, remove the tail pieces and coupling nuts from each end. Then block up each hole with a rag and lift the radiator from the brackets that hold it to the wall. It’s a good idea to get the radiator out of your home as soon as possible – just in case it leaks any remaining dirty water on to your carpet.

Removing the old radiator

1 Turn off the flow control valve by hand, and the lock-shield valve by turning its spindle with pliers. Note how many turns are needed to close it completely.

2 Hold the lock-shield valve body with a wrench so you don’t bend the pipework, and undo the valve coupling carefully with an adjustable spanner.

3 Open the air-bleed valve, pull the coupling away and allow the radiator to drain into a convenient container. Have rags and a larger bowl handy too.

4 Having drained most of the water, undo the other coupling, lift the radiator off its brackets and drain out the dregs. Then remove the old brackets.

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