How to fit a radiator ?

To fit a radiator requires a certain level of DIY skill and knowledge. Only go ahead with fitting a radiator if you feel confident and competent to do so – and make sure you have the right tools to have too.

fit a radiator

What tools will you need?

You will need:

  • A spirit level
  • Pipe cutter
  • Adjustable pipe wrench
  • Adjustable spanners
  • Tape measure
  • Bucket
  • Pipe tape
  • Screwdrivers

If you go on to paint the new radiator, you will need a radiator brush, dust sheet, pipe tape, primer and paint.

1. Turn off the water supply and the central heating system

Radiator fitting or fitting radiator valves requires working with the central heating system in your home and as such, you will need to shut the heating system down as well as turn off the water supply.

Follow the manufacturer’s instruction for switching off your heating system. The water tap can be found under the sink or under the stairs. Switch the water off until you have completed the job.

2. Drain the radiator

Place a bowl or bucket under the manual control valve on the radiator. Using one wrench to hold the body of the valve, use the other to gently loosen the nut that connects the bleed valve to the adaptor piece.

You will need to vent the air in the radiator to break the vacuum so that water can flow out. Do this by opening the bleed valve with the radiator key. Have a towel handy to catch any drips.
Drain the water out of the radiator until the flow stops.

3. Remove the old radiator

Once the radiator is drained of water, undo the nut that connects the valve to the adaptor in the radiator. Being careful not to bend them, you may need to pull the pipe outwards so that the radiator comes free of the pipework.

Lift the radiator from the wall brackets. Close the bleed valve on the radiator with the radiator key. There will also be some water left in the bottom of the radiator. This is likely to be dirty water so make sure you get the water in the bucket. It is a good idea to have plenty of old sheets and towels too.

4. Hanging the new radiator

Using pipe tape – known as PTFE tape – wrap a small amount around the adaptor screw threads, working in a clockwise direction.

Lift the radiator onto the wall brackets, tightening the nuts that connect the radiator calves at both ends. You may need help to hold the radiator in place whilst you do this. Turns these connections enough to give a firm, tight seal but don’t over screw or over-tighten.

If your new radiator is a different size, you will need to fit or move the wall brackets to the dimensions of the new radiator.

5. Add water and re-pressurise the system

Open the manual control of thermostatic radiator valve and then the bleed valve – you should hear the water gurgling back into the radiator. When this noise stops, turn the ‘lockshield’ valve back by the same number of turns it took to undo it.

Check all the connections and joints are water tight. If everything is sealed, turn the water back on and then your central heating system. Re-check the connections for leaks.

Can I fit a radiator myself?

Plumbing involves pipework, covered by a variety of safety regulations and radiator installation is one of them.

If you are unsure about any of the radiator fitting instructions supplied with your new radiator, talk to a professional plumber.