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  • How to Install a Radiator

    Whether you need to replace a broken radiator or just want to upgrade your old radiators, this article will offer you guidance on how to install a radiator yourself. This includes the tools and materials you need, as well as a step by step guide to help you install a radiator safely and correctly.

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    What Tools Do I Need to Install a Radiator?

    Below is a list of the tools you will need to install a radiator.

    • Cordless screwdriver
    • Adjustable spanner
    • Radiator vale tail key
    • Dust sheet
    • Cloths or rags
    • Tape measure
    • Pencil
    • Spirit level
    • Knee pads

    What Safety Equipment Do I Need to Install a Radiator?

    When completing a radiator installation as a DIY job, you won’t need any specific safety equipment. However, as radiators are quite heavy, you may need an extra pair of hands to help you lift the radiators on and off the wall safely without injuring yourself.

    What Materials Do I Need to Install a Radiator?

    The list below highlights all of the materials that you will need to install a radiator:

    • Radiator
    • PTFE tape
    • Corrosion inhibitor

    When choosing a radiator, you need to consider how it will be heated, with the main options, including:

    Central Heating Radiators

    This type of radiator is commonly used in most households. This consists of a metal container which contains hot water that is heated by the boiler. The heat is then distributed to the radiators throughout the home.

    Electric Radiators

    If your home does not have access to the mains gas supply, an electric radiator is typically the best option. Electric radiators also have a container, although it is filled with fluid – generally thermo-fluid – and is heated by an electric element. An electric radiator is usually wired into the main supply or powered by the nearest socket.

    Dual Fuel Radiators

    Duel-fuel models are essentially central heating radiators with a summer heating element which gives you the option of using electric if the central heating is turned off.

    There are all various radiator styles such as:

    Single Panel Radiators

    Single panel radiators are a basic radiator style which is sometimes referred to as hot water containers. They are typically mounted to the wall and are ideal for compact spaces, as they do not take up a lot of room.

    Double Panel Radiators

    Double panel radiators are essential two single panels stacked together. They are also mounted to the wall and face outwards towards the room. They tend to take up more space than single radiators due to them protruding from the wall in contrast to single panels; however, they do offer double the power.

    Horizontal Radiators

    This type of radiator is wider than it is taller and is normally installed under windows, as they were traditionally used to combat cold draughts. These are commonly used as they tend to fit in a wide range of space.

    Vertical Radiators

    In comparison to horizontal models, vertical radiators are taller than they are wider. These offer a modern design which works well with contemporary décor. They also tend up to offer space-saving abilities horizontally.

    Column Radiators

    Column radiators feature a row of tubes which connect at the bottom and the top of the radiator to form a single design. These tend to suit more traditional décor as they mimic Victorian-style models.

    Heated Towel Radiators

    Heated towel rails or ladders rails are typically installed in bathrooms to keep your towels warm after a shower or bath. The design includes horizontal rails which are perfect for hanging towels. Heated towel radiators can also heat up your bathroom, although this is only the second function.

    How to Prepare for Installing a Radiator

    To prepare for installing a new radiator, you must begin by removing the old radiator. The steps below explain how to remove a radiator:

    1. Fully close the lock shield valve, keeping note of exactly how many turns it takes. Then, also shut the thermostatic or hand wheel valve.
    2. Next, release the water pressure in your radiator by opening the bleed screw. Have a bowl ready to capture any water.
    3. Place a container under the radiator and valve and then slowly undo the lock shield valve connector nut and drain off the water.
    4. Undo the connector nut from the other valve so you can easily lift the radiator away from the wall.
    5. Lift your radiator off the wall brackets and then tip out the remaining water.
    6. This old radiator is now ready to be disposed of, and you can now move on to installing your new radiator.

    How to Install a Radiator Yourself - Step by Step Guide

    To ensure you install a radiator properly, follow our step-by-step guide below for how to fit a radiator:

    Step 1

    The first step involves removing and cleaning old PTFE for radiator valve tails using a tail key and apply new PTFE ready for fitting to the new radiator.

    how to install a radiator step 1

    It’s vital that you get the tape wrapped around the valve in the right direction, so if you’re holding the valve in your left hand, make sure the tape is rotating round in a clockwise direction.

    Step 2

    Once the new PTFE has been applied, you can then remove your old wall brackets ready for replacing them with new ones. These will usually need to be unscrewed from the wall.

    how to install a radiator step 2

    Step 3

    After wall bracket removal, you should then position the new radiator as far from the wall as the valve outlets are above the floor. This will need to be measured out, and you should mark lines on the wall opposite the radiator brackets in order to position the replacement radiator.

    how to install a radiator step 3

    Step 4

    When fitting the brackets, make sure you position the first bracket against the vertical line so the mark you have made at the bottom notch aligns. Screw this first bracket into place. Then, screw the second bracket into place on the wall according to your markings.

    how to install a radiator step 4

    Step 5

    Then, place the radiator into position on the wall with the help of a friend or family member, as they tend to be heavy. Following this, adjust the match of the valve connections by removing the radiator, loosening the bracket screws, and sliding the brackets if necessary.

    how to install a radiator step 5

    Step 6

    Mark one of the round fixing holes in each bracket when it is correctly positioned. Drill and plug pilot holes, then place and fully fix both of the brackets.

    how to install a radiator step 6

    Step 7

    Before hanging the radiator onto the wall, you must first replace the tail key and bleed valves.

    how to install a radiator step 7

    Step 8

    If you are using a pressurised heating system, it may experience a drop in pressure that trips out the boiler. If this is the case, you may need to add additional water via the filling loop to maintain the pressure.

    how to install a radiator step 8

    Step 9

    Hang the radiator onto the brackets and tighten the connectors onto the valves. Brace each valve with a wrench while you tighten them fully.

    how to install a radiator step 9

    Step 10

    Once the radiator is installed, it’s essential that you check the header tank is topped up with corrosion inhibitor.

    how to install a radiator step 10

    Step 11

    Open both valves by the number of turns it took to close them off.

    how to install a radiator step 11

    Step 12

    Bleed the radiator using a radiator bleed key.

    how to install a radiator step 12

    Step 13

    Once the job is complete, check for leaks and ensure your heating is switched on.

    how to install a radiator step 13


    How do you bleed a radiator?
    Follow the steps below for how to bleed a radiator:
    1. Turn off your heating.
    2. Use your radiator key to turn the valve at the top of the radiator. You should hear a hissing sound; this is the air escaping. Have a cloth handy to catch any spraying water.
    3. Retighten the valve once the hissing stops and only liquid comes out.
    4. Turn your central heating back on
    5. Check the pressure by looking at the gauge on the boiler.
    6. Check that your radiator is now heating up properly.
    What size radiator do I need?
    To calculate the size of the radiator, you need to multiply the cubic feet of the room by 5. This should provide you with the calculations for a radiator large enough to heat the whole room.
    Where should my radiators be positioned?
    In modern homes, it’s not too important where you position your radiators. However, in older homes, you should place radiators in the coldest part of the room. This is usually under a windowsill.
    Do I need thermostatic radiator valves?
    You don’t necessarily need them, but they are recommended. They allow you to set the temperature required for each room.
    How do I know when it’s time to bleed my radiator?
    If you find that your radiator isn’t heating properly, or if it is hot at the top but cold at the bottom, it probably needs to be bled. This is due to blockages or pockets of oxygen in the system.
    Last updated by MyJobQuote on 22nd December 2020.

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