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Simple Steps to Replace an Old Radiator

by Stephen Davies on Feb 15, 2019

If your home isn’t being heated efficiently, it may be time to replace the radiator. Old, corroded radiators use more energy than newer, more energy-efficient models. Some homeowners even choose to change their radiator for a more aesthetically pleasing one. No matter the reason you want to replace an old radiator

1. Preparation

Check the walls and masonry surrounding the radiator. Look for signs of damage, including crumbling brick or cracks. If damage is noted, now is the best time to remedy it before installing a new radiator.

If the radiator is to be installed on plasterboard, be sure to find the studs beforehand. Use a stud detector, available at home improvement stores, to do this. The new radiator needs to be attached to these studs, as they are the strongest part of the wall.

2. Empty the Old Radiator  

The radiator needs to be fully emptied before removing it. Shut off the heater and close off the valves on the radiator. It’s wise to count how many turns it takes to close the valves so that you can easily adjust the new radiator to the same flow rate.  Loosen the cap nuts with a spanner. A pan should be placed under the radiator to catch any water as it drains. Open the bleed valve with a bleeding key. Clean all the threads with wire wool.

3. Remove the Radiator  

Lift the radiator to remove it from the wall. There may be some residual water inside, so be sure to carefully pour it out. Clean the wall before installing the new radiator. If you’re planning on reusing the brackets, make sure they are also clean and secure.

4. Install the New Radiator  

If the new radiator is the same size as the old one, you may be able to save money by using the same brackets. However, if you want to update the brackets, simply unscrew them and place the new brackets in their place. Hang the new radiator on the brackets.

5. Connect the Valves  

Make sure the valves fit properly into the new radiator. Always clean the threads first and wrap them with PTFE tape to ensure a proper seal. Connect all the valves and open them to fill the radiator. Always bleed the radiator to ensure there is no air in the system. It may be necessary to adjust the pressure.  

After the system has been refilled, be sure to check for any leaks. If leaks are noted, they are most likely due to an improper valve seal. Drain the system and add more PTFE tape around the valves. Never reinstall any floorboards until you’re certain the radiator isn’t leaking.

6. Add Corrosion Inhibitor  

Corrosion inhibitor, also called central heating protector, is always recommended. Flush the entire system and add the corrosion inhibitor according to the manufacturer’s specifications. This will help to prevent rust and sludge from building up in the system. Even if your system was treated with a corrosion inhibitor, replacing the radiator will cause you to lose some of the treatment. Most homeowners choose to add the corrosion inhibitor now, although it can be added later.

When replacing a radiator, be sure to take your time and pay attention to even the smallest details. Gather all the supplies and tools you will need beforehand. This easy project only takes a few hours to complete.

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