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How to Remove a Radiator Without Draining the Whole System Down

Remove Radiator

Any home heating system is complicated and something that most people don’t want to meddle with. However, one day you might find yourself in a situation where you’d have to remove a radiator and the most common reason for this is room repainting. If you’re changing the colour of your walls, you will have to remove the radiator in order to paint behind it. You may think now that this is not a job for you. But you don’t actually need any special skills to pull off this task. Today we explain how to remove a radiator without draining the system down.


The tools you will need include:

  • Radiator bleed key;
  • Adjustable spanner;
  • A pair of adjustable grips;
  • Towels and a sponge;
  • Painters rolling tray.

What type of heating system do you have?

If you’re unsure about the exact type, you can look for a little dial on the front of your boiler, which should be located somewhere in your loft or in your airing cupboard. Make a mental note of where that dial is pointing because once you finish this job and you put your old radiator back on the wall, you’re going to need to depressurize the system, and also you might need to add a small amount of inhibitor. If you’ve got a tank in the loft, you don’t need to worry about remembering where the system pressure is.

How to remove a radiator without draining the system

You’ve gathered all your tools and you’ve checked the type of your heating system, so finally, you can get down to business. From here on, just follow the steps.

  1. Close the radiator valves. Shut down the lockshield and the TRV, which are on the opposite sides of the radiator. Turn it right to shut the valve. After that, undo valve radiator bleed key. We want to make sure that no water comes out. Occasionally you’ll get a bit of water come out as the pressure dissipates from the radiator, but it should stop quickly.
  2. Drain the radiator. Use the adjustable spanner to grip the valve and slacken off the nut. You should get a little water coming out straight away. Now you just have to wait for all the water to drain out. Keep a big bucket close to your side and each time the painter’s tray fills up, you can nip the nut back closed and pour the water into the large bucket. This way you won’t have any problems. Even if you have a bit of a leak, keep the towels underneath and they should soak up any stray drips of water.
  3. Pull the valve off. Sometimes, if you’ve got enough flex in your radiator pipework, you can pull the valve off and get the water to come out a lot quicker.
  4. Remove the radiator from its brackets. There are many radiator brackets, so have a good look at how they come off. Before you fully remove the radiator from the wall, we recommend that you slacken off the other end. Do it in exactly the same way as with the first pipe. Undo it completely. You might have a bit of water come out, but that’s okay, use your towel to mop it up as it shouldn’t be much. Remember to do the bleed key back up for the next stage so there aren’t any spillages.
  5. Tilt the side of the radiator. Do this so that any water that’s trapped at the bottom of the radiator can drain out into the TRV side where the painters are. Drain it as thoroughly as you can. You may have to sit there for 5-10 minutes holding the radiator up at an angle or you can pop a bit of wood under the radiator to prop it up and keep it in position. Once it’s drained, simply pop it off the clips. Now you’re ready to paint behind the radiator.
  6. Refit the radiator after painting. Putting the radiator back is just reversing the entire process and putting it all back together. Pop the radiator back onto the clips and put your pipes back on. Then, you can open up the valves, bleed that excess air and refill the radiator. If you have a pressurised system, go back and make sure it’s nicely topped up.

Make sure you know what you are dealing with, before you start with the process, as it may become daunting for someone with no prior knowledge. We recommend calling expert radiator fitters if there’s any uncertainty.

How to Remove a Radiator Without Draining the Whole System Down

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