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How to Remove a Radiator for Decorating Purposes

Radiators can be a pain when the time comes to redecorate a room. Painting behind the radiator is not too difficult, but if the wall has been papered and you want to remove the old paper to either paint or repaper, the radiator is likely to be very much in the way. Most designer towel radiators have simple and easy to remove wall fixing brackets. Removing these will make your life a lot easier and if you are reasonably skilled on the DIY front, there is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to do the job yourself.

The Right Tools for the Job

  • Dust sheet to protect the floor
  • Adjustable spanner
  • Radiator key
  • Screwdrivers
  • Adjustable wrench

Steps for Removing a Radiator

  1. A radiator has two valves and both need to be sorted before it can be removed. First, make sure you turn the on/off valve (or thermostatic valve if you have one) into the ‘off’ position. Next, using an adjustable wrench, remove the cap from the other ‘lockshield’ valve at the opposite end of the radiator and turn it clockwise to close off the water supply.
  2. To disconnect the on/off valve from the radiator inlet pipe, use an adjustable wrench to hold the valve on the vertical pipe whilst using another wrench to loosen the nut on the valve that connects the radiator to the pipe. You will need to place a bowl under the valve to collect liquid. Using a radiator key, open up the ‘bleed’ valve to break the air lock and release the water from inside the radiator.
  3. Use the same technique to release the radiator from the lockshield valve. Once the radiator has been disconnected from both valves and any remaining water has been drained, it can be lifted from the wall brackets. Don’t forget to close the bleed valve at the top of the radiator.
  4. Place the radiator on dust sheets or old towels to protect the floor just in case any more dirty water leaks out.

Decorating Behind the Radiator

Once the radiator has been removed, you are free to remove old wallpaper and paint the wall. You may wish to remove the wall brackets. However, if you do remove them, make sure you replace them in exactly the same place (unless you are moving the radiator to a new location).

Replacing the Radiator

Radiators are heavy, so you might need an assistant to help you lift the radiator back into position on its wall brackets. In order to prevent any annoying leaks, before connecting the valves back up again, wrap some plumber’s tape (PTFE tape) around the radiator adapter screw heads. Once the radiator is in place, tighten up the nuts holding the valves at each end. Be careful not to over-tighten them as this can lead to leaks. Open the on/off valve and bleed valve, then wait for the radiator to fill up with water. Next, open the lockshield valve at the other end and make sure both joints are not leaking. If they are, tighten them up slightly. Lastly, turn the central heating back on and make sure everything is working correctly before topping up the water pressure in the boiler again (if necessary).