How to remove a radiator without draining it

13 July 2020
How to remove a radiator without draining it

If you need to get behind your radiator to repaint, remove wallpaper or do some plastering, it's not always practical to drain down your entire central heating system in order to remove it.

There is actually a much more convenient way of removing your radiator, which makes this task much easier.

  • Shut down your valves at both ends of the radiator
  • Open the bleed valve to depressurise the radiator, then close bleed valve once air has been released.
  • Lay towels underneath each valve and slacken off each nut connecting the valves to the radiator
  • Carefully lift the radiator off the wall brackets and rest top of radiator on the floor.
  • Remove radiator from valve nuts and remove radiator completely.
  • Reverse process to reattach radiator to the wall.

Video - Remove a radiator without draining it

In the video below, James the plumber takes us through this simple process step by step, showing just how easy this job can be.

Say goodbye to that old patch of 70s wallpaper or mismatched paint work and remove your radiator from the wall with ease.

You may wish to watch the video above several times before performing this task. While removing a radiator without draining the system can be a convenient way of doing things, it can cause a lot of damage if it goes wrong.

A radiator that is full of water can be very heavy, so depending on the size of your radiator, you may wish to get a second person to help you lift it off the wall (and back on again).

If you're not confident about doing this and getting it right, then drain your heating system first. Alternatively, call in a professional who will be able to tackle this task properly.

Step 1 - Turn the valves off

Removing a radiator. Step 1, turn off radiator valves

It's important to shut off both of the radiator valves to ensure that no more water can come through to the radiator.

For the lockshield valve, you may need an adjustable spanner to shut the valve off.

Step 2 - Open up the bleed valve

Removing a radiator. Step 2, slacken off the bleed valve

Using a radiator key or a flat head screwdriver, gently open up the radiator's bleed valve to release the air and depressurise the radiator.

Have a little cloth or tub ready to catch some water that may also be released with the escaping air.

You'll hear the hiss of the air escaping and will know all the air has been released once this noise stops.

After bleeding out the air, it's important you close/tighten the bleed valve again. This will stop air getting back into the radiator and potentially pushing water out the bottom when you remove it.

Step 3 - Unscrew the valve nuts

Removing a radiator. Step 3, slacken off the nuts where the valves connect to the radiator

You now need to slacken off the nuts that connect the radiator to the valves. Undo them to the point that you can hear the nuts clicking, indicating they are at the end of their thread.

This will allow you to prise off the ends of the valves, making it easier to lift the radiator off the wall and flop it down onto the floor without spilling water.

Put towels under each valve to catch any dripping water.

Step 4 - Lift the radiator off the wall

Removing a radiator. Step 4, gently lift the radiator off the wall.

Lay a towel down on the floor to act as a cushion and floor protector when rotating the radiator off the wall and onto the floor.

Very slowly and carefully lift the radiator off the wall brackets and rotate it down so that the top end of the rad is touching the floor.

The radiator will still be connected at the valves, so there should be a slight slope down to top of the radiator, which should now be resting on your towel on the floor.

Step 5 - Disconnect radiator from valves

Removing a radiator. Step 5, disconnect radiator completely from valves remove it completely away from the wall so it's upside down.

All the water will have flowed to the top of the radiator. You can now fully unscrew the nuts connecting the radiator to the valve.

At the same time you can pop the radiator out from the valves and lift the bottom of the radiator up, so that it is in effect upside down. A little bit of water may escape out of the radiator at this point, so ensure your towels are properly protecting your floor.

You can now move your radiator away and carefully lean it somewhere while you do your work on the wall.

To reconnect the radiator when you're finished, simply follow the instructions in reverse.


• How to install a radiator under a window

• How to bleed a radiator

• How to install a radiator in a tricky place