Two adjustable wrenches
Old sheets and towels
Bucket or bowl
Making a really good job of papering or painting a room sometimes means taking a radiator off the wall. However, if you're only removing a radiator so you can paint the wall behind it, consider investing in a radiator roller - a long-handled small paint roller especially designed for the purpose.
About 20 minutes per radiator
Advanced. Only tackle this level of plumbing work if you're confident of your ability.
Step One: Preparation
Turn off your central heating and allow the water to cool down. Place the old sheets and towels beneath the valves at each end of the radiator. Next, turn the on/off or control valve to the 'off' position. For a thermostatic valve, switch to the fully 'off' and not just the frost setting (small snowflake symbol).
Step Two: Turn Off The Lockshield Valve
Move to the other end of the radiator and pull off the plastic cover over the lockshield valve. Turn the square brass valve top clockwise as far as it will go, using an adjustable wrench. Make a note of the number of turns needed as the valve should be re-set by the same amount to ensure the flow through the system isn't altered when you replace the radiator.
Step Three: Loosen The On/Off Valve
Place a bowl or bucket under the on/off control valve. Place one wrench over the body of the valve while you use the other to loosen the nut that holds the valve onto the radiator inlet.
Step Four: Open The Air Vent/Bleed Valve
Use a radiator key to open the air vent valve, found in one of the top corners of the radiator. This breaks the vacuum in the system and allows the water to flow out of the control valve end into the bowl or bucket.
Step Five: Open The Lockshield Valve
Once most of the water has drained, use the same technique to undo the nut on the lockshield valve and gently lift the radiator off its wall brackets. Use your radiator key to close the air vent/bleed valve.
Step Six: Retighten The Valves
Once you've decorated, wrap some PTFE tape around the screw threads at each end of the radiator, replace the radiator and re-tighten both valves. Never over-tighten the valve nuts as this will weaken the fitting and may cause a leak.
Open the control or thermostatic valve and open the bleed valve to allow water to flow back into the radiator. Wait for the water to fill the unit and turn the lockshield valve by the same number of turns as used to close it.
Turn on your central heating and check for leaks. You may have introduced air into the system so bleed all your radiators after refitting the radiator.
Illustrations: Ed Roberts
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