How Often Should Radiators be Replaced?

Old looking radiator

Most homeowners don’t think about radiators much until something goes wrong with them, which is understandable. When you move into a new property, radiators are usually already installed and unless the new owners or tenants have been warned of an issue with the central heating system, it’s unlikely they’ll consider replacing them. However, without a full service history and knowledge of when the existing radiators were purchased and installed, it’s difficult to know just how old, and how well-performing they are; until winter hits and the heating boost radiators give is required.

When it comes to answering the question of how often radiators should be replaced, there’s no firm set answer – it’s not just a case of saying ‘once every 10 years’ or other such time estimation. Instead, a multitude of considerations come into play that may better advise a purchase decision. These include, but are by no means limited to:

  • Age: how old are the existing radiators? Do they still function well enough to heat the home adequately? Would newer models built with newer technology out-perform them?
  • Size: are the current radiators too big or small for the space they’re installed within?
  • Performance: are the current radiators still working well enough?
    Maintenance: have the radiators been bled regularly? Are they still in good condition?
  • Aesthetic: do the radiators fit with the rest of the room or would another colour or shape fit the interior design better?

Radiators should be replaced when they no longer perform as expected, if the household’s heating bills are rising, or simply if they’re able to be upgraded. The advancements made in heating technology have been vast over the last few years and so those being installed now, if new models, can be expected to last considerably longer than their older counterparts. If they’re more energy efficient, they’ll also be saving money on your heating bills.

How much does it cost to replace a radiator?

How much it costs to replace a radiator depends entirely on the new radiator being purchased. Gone are the days of all radiators being a painted-white cast iron chunky zig zag or flat fronted pattern, and now you’ll find a myriad of types, shapes and sizes available.

If you’re paying to have a new radiator installed, the heating engineers involved should be able to provide an upfront cost quote with no obligation to buy. However, if your new radiator is the same size as your existing radiator, and/or the pipework all lines up, a radiator replacement can be installed by a competent DIY’er without the need to pay a professional.

How to measure a radiator for replacement

Exactly how to measure a radiator for replacement isn’t a complicated procedure, so should be something you’re able to do at home without professional input.

First, measure the length and height of the main body of the radiator itself. Then, measure the length of the body as well as the distance to the pipes. This gives an indication of the length required including valves to connect it to the existing central heating system.

If the replacement radiator desired isn’t as large as the existing but the infrastructure is set to remain unchanged, some models and merchants often spacing inserts to extend the measurements out and allow for it to fit.

If a replacement radiator is required and can’t be found to match the existing infrastructure in place, a professional heating engineer can move and re-install piping and points to allow for a new size of radiator in its place, in order to start again with a blank canvas. This allows for any radiator to be bought with the constraint of set sizing and is ideal for installing a whole radiator type; i.e. a vertical radiator where a horizontal radiator was before.

When it comes to household heating, there’s no set directive on how often radiators need to be replaced nor is there a ‘one size fits all’ solution. If you’re moving into a new home and are able to, ask for information on the radiators already installed.

If the existing homeowners or tenants aren’t able to supply much info (which is by no means uncommon, as lots of people just don’t think about radiators all that much!), then consider getting in touch with the Great Rads team to describe what’s in place already and to seek advice on how old they think they could be. Our team won’t push for a purchase if it’s unnecessary, but as the radiator experts, they will be able to advise on how best to proceed and what available options to you are. It may be you just fancy a change or have your eye on a designer radiator to make a real interior design feature of – and we’ll be here to help with that too!


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