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How to Fit a New Radiator, the Essentials for a Successful Project

by Boris Dzhingarov on Nov 19, 2014

You may decide to change your radiator for many reasons, and these could include replacing an old, inefficient radiator to save money and increase the heat output (BTU), or to upgrade to a stylish designer radiator. Whatever the reason is, your starting point will be the search for a new radiator, closely followed by a decision on fitting. Most people would hire a plumber to do the job, but if you have some basic tools and some practical knowledge of them, you could probably do the job yourself. Here is a basic outline of how to fit your new radiator in easy steps.

Tools

You are going to need a selection of spanners, a butane torch, rags, a bucket, a key for bleed nipples, pipe cutter, and emery cloth.

Materials

Firstly, you will need the correct copper piping to use, along with a selection of ready soldered connectors ----straight, u, and t connectors, pipe clips, butane gas, and PTFE tape.

Step 1. Disconnect the Radiator

Before starting anything, put some old rags around the radiator to catch any overflow from the radiator when you are disconnecting it, then turn off the water boiler and the water supply. You will find a drain valve on one of the downstairs radiators, so fit a hosepipe onto that and run it outside. Undo the drain cock and open the bleed nipple on the radiator, and allow the water to flow outside until no more water is seen coming out.

Step 2. Remove the Radiator

Disconnect the valves from the radiator, after placing a bucket or bowl near the pipes and laying more rags. The pipes will pull from the radiator valves, but be careful not to overextend them. Once the piping is disconnected, the radiator should lift away from the wall, but be careful about the weight, and you will probably need to pour any water left inside the radiator into the bucket that you have handy before taking the radiator from the room.

Brackets

It is unlikely that your new radiator will fit onto your existing brackets, so you will need to use the stencil supplied with your radiator to mark where your brackets will go. Decide on your radiator position and height, and mark the center of the radiator on the wall. Measure out from the center to each bracket, and use the stencils to mark the holes. It is important that your radiator is level, so use a spirit level when positioning the stencils. Once marked, you can drill the holes, insert Rawl plugs, fit the new thermostatic valves to your radiator (after applying some PTFE tape), screw on your brackets, and hang your radiator on the wall.

Pipes

Depending on the position of your new radiator, you will need to decide how best to run the pipes to your radiator. This will be different for all rooms, so the measuring will need to be carefully done. Always measure twice before cutting (with the pipe cutter), and smoothing the ends over with emery cloth. Solder joints to the pipework as you go, as this will make measuring more efficient, and fit clips for the pipes as you go too. The final fit into the valve is very important, and you will be using olives to fit the pipes to the valves, so make sure they are the correct size before trying to fit them.

Once you have done all of this, you will need to refill the system, turn your boiler back on, and run the water through the radiator to check for leaks, and congratulate yourself on another job well done. This is not a job for a complete amateur, so be careful and plan before you start.

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