How to Remove a Radiator

Written by  John Davies
Last updated: July 5, 2023

When decorating a home you will want to get the area behind the radiator. Or you may want to replace the radiator without having to call for help. Taking the radiator down and putting it back up can seem complicated, but it can be done with some simple steps and a few tools.

What Tools Do You Need?

Before taking down the radiator, there are a few tools you will need. The simplest one is a bowl to catch the water that will need to be drained. You will also need the radiator key, also called the bleed key, and two adjustable wrenches. With these tools at hand, you are ready to remove your radiator. To ensure that more of the draining water is caught, you can also use a paint tray to catch it. It should be shallow enough to fit under the radiator while also being big enough to catch the water. A bucket can also be used to catch the water. Using a screwdriver and metal lubricant spray can help make removing the radiator easier. Gather up as many of the tools as you will need to remove the radiator and start the process.

Step 1: Turn Off The Heating

Turning off the heating is the first step to removing a radiator. You will want the central heating to be turned off long enough to let the system cool down. This will not only help eliminate the risk of water getting out on your floors when removing the radiator, but ensures that the water you do come in contact with is cool. If you are removing the radiator in the winter, you will want to have another heating source set up (electric underfloor heating can work, but having a dedicated heating source is probably better if you’re having heating off for awhile). Having a space heater or another portable heat source will help keep your home warm while not running the risk of burning water.

Step 2: Turn Off The Valves

Before taking off the radiator, you will want to turn the thermostatic radiator valve (or TRV) to the zero or off position. On the other side of the radiator is the lockshield valve, this will also need to be closed. Close it by locating the small spindle inside and turning the wrench clockwise. When closing the lockshield valve, you will want to note the number of turns it took to close. When you reopen the valve you will want to use the same number of turns counterclockwise to keep the pressure the same.

radiator valves

Step 3: Drain the Radiator

Next, you will need to drain the radiator. Using the small bowl to collect the water, place one wrench on the body of the valve and use the other to loosen the nut that joins the radiator and valve. The bowl will collect the water to protect your floors from water damage. As an additional level of protection, you may also want to lay down a towel or some newspapers to catch the drips of water.

Step 4: Open The Bleed Valve

Use your radiator key to open the bleed valve. This step will eliminate more excess water before you remove your radiator. Close the bleed valve before moving to the next step.

radiator bleed valve

Step 5: Loosen The Other Valve

Just as before, you will want to use the two wrenches to loosen this valve. Use one wrench on the body of the valve and the other to loosen the nut that joins the radiator and valve. Use the bowl to collect the water that drains out. The bleed valve on this side should also be opened and closed to remove more water.

Step 6: Disconnect The Radiator

With the excess water drained, it is now time to disconnect the radiator. To do so, loosen the nuts connecting the radiator until you can completely disconnect them. You will want to do this on both sides of the radiator. There may still be some water in the radiator. This can be managed by tilting the radiator to one side to drain the remaining water. Failure to complete this step can lead to water damage on your floors.

Step 7: Lift The Radiator Off The Brackets

Now that the radiator is disconnected completely and all of the water has been drained, it is time to lift the radiator. This is a step that can be more complicated than it looks and you may need help to lift and move it to where you want it. Radiators can be placed in awkward positions and be heavy. Having at least one other person help you lift and carry it will ensure that it’s moved properly. The radiator should be placed in a spot where it won’t damage the area. Having towels to catch drips will help prevent water damage.

remove radiator

Caring For a Radiator

With the radiator removed, you can now paint or decorate behind the radiator as you need to. This is also the perfect time to clean the radiator of any grime or sludge that has built up. This build-up can contribute to problems down the line and help your radiator stay running for years. Radiators can be cleaned with an old pair of tights. They can get into the tight spots and remove the build-up. Their length makes it perfect for running the tights through the length of the radiator to get all the spaces. This will also remove any dust in the radiator so you may want to lay down some dust sheets to keep the surrounding area clean.


While removing a radiator can seem complicated, it can be done with a few simple tools and steps. With these steps in mind, you can remove a radiator to replace or decorate with no hassle. There will be no need to buy a lot of fancy tools. Removing the radiator is also the perfect time to clean it and ensure that it runs smoothly for years. Build-up and dust can affect how a radiator works and any opportunity you have to keep it clean should be taken advantage of. Household items can go a long way to keeping your radiator clean.

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