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St Albans Brighton Islington
Clapham Leamington Spa

How to remove a radiator so you can paint behind it

So, it’s time to redecorate your room and there’s always a bugbear to contend with – painting the wall behind the radiator. You have two choices: (1) get a long handled brush or roller, paint as far in as you can and leave the rest as an unloved part of your property; or (2) do a proper job! 

It is actually a fairly straightforward process to remove a radiator yourself, so you don’t need to spend money on getting a plumber to do it for you. Here’s our step-by-step ‘how to’ guide:

  1. Turn off the central heating

Make sure the water in the radiator is cold to avoid burning yourself or getting scalded by hot water when handing the radiator. 

  1. Protect the area

You’ll need to find something to put on the floor to protect the surrounding area. The radiator will be full of potentially filthy, sludgy water that you will have to empty out. You’ll therefore also need a bucket close at hand to pour the radiator water into. 

  1. Turn off both radiator valves

There are valves on either side of your radiator - the one that controls the heat, and the lockshield valve which is the one at the other end. You need to turn both of them off by turning them anti-clockwise. [A good way of remembering which way to turn to loosen or tighten is: “lefty-loosey  and righty-tighty”!] When you turn off the lockshield valve, count how many turns you take and make a note of it - these valves serve the purpose of ‘balancing’ your heating system, so that the hot water flows evenly between your radiators.

  1. Loosen the nuts 

Using a spanner, loosen the nuts that are between each valve and the radiator itself. Be careful because water may start leaking out. 

  1. Remove the radiator

At this point, you can remove the radiator, but be careful of the water! The best way to keep your floor dry is to have two people on the job (unless it’s a very small radiator). As soon as you lift the radiator off the brackets, one person needs to put their thumb over the newly exposed hole and the radiator should be tipped towards that person so the water cannot escape at the other end. You can then safely get the radiator to the bucket and drain the water. 

  1. Paint!

Put the radiator to one side, preferably on a blanket or something that will protect it from being scratched. You can then paint the wall. 

  1. Replace the radiator on the wall brackets

When the paint is completely dry, you can carefully ease the radiator back on to the wall brackets. To make sure it’s secure, pull it gently at the bottom to check there’s no wobbling. 

  1. Replace the nuts

Gently thread the nuts back on to the valves and hand tighten them both to make sure they’re in place correctly. Once they’re lined up properly, tighten them with the spanner. 

  1. Tighten valves

Remember to tighten the lockshield valve only by the same number of turns as you loosened it. Tighten the valve that controls the temperature as much as it will go. 

  1. Check there are no leaks

Make sure the radiator is dry, then run a tissue along the bottom to check if there is any leakage from the valves. Even if it seems dry, wait a minute or two and check again as it can take a while for small leaks to become obvious. If that is the case, tighten the nuts or valves as appropriate until the leak stops. 

  1. Open the vent

As soon as you’re sure the valves are secure, open the vent at the top of the radiator, as though you were bleeding it. Leave this vent open until water begins to come out - so have a cloth or a bowl handy - then close it tightly. 

  1. Check the boiler pressure 

To ensure that your heating will continue to work effectively, check your boiler pressure. Visit the Corgi website for a guide on how to check boiler pressure and how to adjust it if it’s too high or too low. 

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