How to replace a radiator
Simple steps for successful radiator installation
Remove and replace radiators that aren’t working properly and as well as saving you energy, it will ensure that your home is being heated efficiently.
Replacing a new radiator isn’t too difficult a task but do be sure to follow our instructions to avoid any unnecessary mess as well as any impact to the system.
- Radiator fixing kit that can be found in the radiator packaging. It contains:
- 4 x wall fixing brackets
- Wall plugs
- Radiator to wall connectors
- Screws, bolts, and washers
- 1 x end cap
- 1 x bleed cap
Check that the items in your pack match those illustrated on the instruction manual enclosed. If installing a Wilsona designer radiator, it can only be fitted using the brackets supplied.
You may need to use different wall plugs and screws depending on the type of wall you have. In this article we’ll show you how to use the supplied fixings to fit the radiator into a solid wall.
You'll also need:
- 2 x adjustable wrenches
- Drip tray or paint roller tray
- Radiator bleed key or flat-head screwdriver
- Cup or small container when bleeding the radiator
- Pipe cable
- Multi-purpose digital detector
- Large allen key
- Hammer drill or drill driver
- A masonry drill bit suitable for use with the wall plug
- Steel wool
- TRV and Lockshield
Before you begin, there are a few things worth checking. First, check the condition of your wall. Are there any cracks or crumbling plaster? If so, you may have to make repairs before you fit your new radiator.
Check whether your walls are solid masonry – bricks or blocks cemented together with mortar or from plasterboard – a hollow space behind either a dry wall or studwork wall.
If the wall is solid masonry, you’ll have a wider choice of replacement radiators to choose from. The walls are stronger meaning you can choose any size and style. With the right fixings, large radiators can be installed on any part of the wall.
If the wall is plasterboard, you’ll need to find out where the noggins run. These are the vertical or horizontal pieces of timber that the plasterboard is attached to. A stud detector will help you find these. The studs are the strongest part of the wall, so your radiator will need to be hung from these. Depending on their location, you may be limited to the shape or size of radiator you can use in the space. If you can fix a support bracket onto a stud you don’t need a wall plug, just use the correct type of screw to secure the bracket.
The easiest way to replace a radiator is to choose one with identical pipe centres. If this isn’t the case, you’ll need to reorient your new valves – it’s best to get a plumber to do this.
If your new radiator has identical pipe centres, turn off the heating and isolate the radiator by closing off the valve at either end. There are lots of different valves for radiators. If you have a manual valve, turn it clockwise until it won’t turn any further, if you have a thermostatic valve, turn this to zero or off and if you have a lockshield valve, pull off the plastic cover and turn the square shaft clockwise with an adjustable spanner. Make sure you count and note the number of turns so that you can reset the new radiator at the same flow rate after you’ve fixed the radiator and need to re-open this valve.
Place a tray beneath the valve to catch water as it drains out. We find a paint roller tray works well. With both valves turned off, use an adjustable spanner to loosen one of the swivel nuts connecting the valve to the radiator. You may need to hold the body of the valve with a second spanner or pipe wrench to stop it turning and buckling the pipe.
Open the bleed valve at the top of the radiator and loosen the cap nut using the radiator bleed key or screwdriver. When the tray is almost full, retighten the swivel nut and empty the tray into a bucket. Be ready with cloths to mop up any spillage. Repeat until all the water has drained, then disconnect the other valve. Lift the radiator from its brackets and tilt to drain any remaining water. You might need to get somebody to help you with this bit. Fill the outlet at one end with an old rag or tissue to stop the radiator from leaking and put to one side
It’s likely that the existing brackets aren’t compatible with the new radiator brackets, so you’ll need to unscrew these. You may have to fill any gaps left from the previous fixing holes.
Before drilling into the wall, make sure you’ve checked what’s behind it with a multi-purpose digital detector. They’re simple to use and will let you know whether there are any pipes, cables or studs where you’re planning to work. Simply run it over the surface of the area and it’ll tell you if there are any hazards.
Fit the brackets to the wall and fix your radiator to the brackets.
If fitting a Wilsona radiator, ensure the brackets are fitted facing outwards so it’s easier to screw the connecting screws when the radiator is fixed to the wall
Close the bleed valve and reconnect the water piping and valves before switching on your water supply.
Tools and materials for the job:
There’ll be some air in the radiator, so you’ll need to bleed it to release this.
Lay a dust sheet on the floor and use either a radiator key or flat-head screwdriver and turn anti-clockwise to open the valve between a quarter turn and a half-turn. Make sure you don’t unscrew it by more than one complete turn.
As you open the bleed bolt, you’ll hear trapped air hissing. Be prepared for the first drop of water to come out and position a cup or small container beneath the bleed valve, and have a cloth nearby. As soon as the first trickle appears, close the bleed bolt by turning the key or screwdriver clockwise. Make sure you don’t overtighten the bolt.