How to Remove a Radiator for Decorating

Wall with windows & radiators in the process of being decorated

If you’re having a spring clean or planning a decorating refresh for your home, chances are you may need to remove a radiator – to give it a clean, wallpaper around it, avoid splashing paint on it or to move its position in the home altogether. Radiators are heavy, and removing one isn’t the most common of jobs you do around the house. Here at Great Rads, we’re able to help advise on how to get a radiator off the wall safely and how to remove the radiator valve easily and with the least disruption.

How to Take a Radiator Off the Wall, Step by Step

Exactly how to remove a radiator from a wall may vary by model, wall construction and central heating system, but this a guide for convector heaters. To safely remove your radiator for decorating, set aside about thirty minutes for the job and follow this step-by-step guide. Before beginning on any removal process, seek the advice of professionals and ensure all necessary safety precautions are taken.

Firstly, you need to turn off your radiator to isolate it from the central heating system and ensure all residual heat is drained out of it. Close your radiator valves by turning them clockwise until tightly shut.

Next, place some towels and a washing up bowl or similar receptacle under the radiator valve to catch water as you start to remove it from the wall. Whilst this is just water, it may be discoloured, and this combined with any rust or dust could stain your carpets. Better to be safe than sorry!

When your washing up bowl or bucket is in place under the valve, use a spanner to undo the radiator valve nut. Water may start leaking from here immediately, so wait until it is all out before proceeding further. If you have a particularly large radiator, now would be the time to grab a back-up bucket for a second filling. Keep the bowl in place for the next step.

Using a ‘bleed key’ (you should have had one of these supplied with your radiators or by your central heating installation team), open the bleed valve by turning it anti-clockwise. This will ‘bleed’ the radiator of any further fluid, so you can be sure it’s completely drained.

Once the water has finished draining from the bleed valve, close it back up by turning the key clockwise. Undo the valve nut on the side of the radiator you haven’t undone yet. Gently lift the radiator off its hinges to tip it and drain out any further water from that side into the washing up bowl or bucket.

When all the water has drained, stuff the valves with tissue paper or thick kitchen roll to absorb any residual fluid before gently lifting the radiator off of its brackets. This is the most effective method of how to remove a radiator for decorating, but may take two people to lift depending on the radiator’s size and weight.

Once the radiator has been removed, you can decorate. To reinstall, simply lift the radiator back onto its brackets and reconnect it to the valves and pipework – not forgetting to turn the valves clockwise to reopen them! From here, your boiler may need adjusting and your radiator can be refilled.

Do Painters and Decorators Remove Radiators?

Many homeowners have been caught out and quickly had to Google for information on whether a painter or decorator will remove radiators, but realistically – yes, of course they do if they need to, but they never should without consulting with the customer first.

Don’t panic if a decorator does remove one of your radiators: it only needs to be removed for the duration of paint drying or wallpaper being laid and can then be immediately re-installed. Disruption should be minimal and the removal of one radiator won’t affect any other radiator on your central heating system.

If once a radiator is off a wall, it can be replaced with another if you fancy a change of style or need a newer, more energy efficient model. Before purchasing your new radiator, be sure to check the valve and installation requirements on it so that you’re prepared for any changes. If you’re not sure what you have already, or what might work for your space or existing fittings, contact the Great Rads team and ask!

Our expert staff will be able to talk at length about the range we stock, calculate the BTU (British thermal unit) of any model and make recommendations on extras and accessories. We can also advise of the weight of each radiator – so you can decide whether or not to invite a helping hand round if you do need to remove it from a wall to decorate.

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