How to Replace a Steam Radiator

It is very rare for anyone to need to replace a steam radiator, as they are very long-lasting, sometimes existing long beyond the life of the house in which they were first installed. Sometimes, however, due to accidental damage, melting during a fire, or even corrosion, you will have to remove and replace your steam radiator. This is a rather back-breaking task which is usually left to plumbers, and the complications which can arise from performing your own replacement can sometimes lead to even worse damage, and greater costs. However, if you think you have enough home improvement experience to handle this project, and you have a willing friend to help you carry the radiator away, then follow a few simple instructions to help you get the job done quickly and effectively.

Materials Needed:
  • Replacement radiator
  • Pipe wrench
  • Screwdriver
Step 1 - Preparation

Before you do anything to your radiator, ensure that the water is turned off at the main supply, and that you have run the hot water tap until it comes up dry. When you know that there is no more water in the system, use your screwdriver to depress the nozzle at the side of the radiator, to release gas and remaining water from within the radiator itself. When this is also clear, you are ready to start removing and replacing the radiator.

Step 2 - Remove the Old Radiator

You will now have to remove the old radiator. First, close the valve which connects the radiator to the pipes, and using a wrench, loosen the bolt and nut that links the radiator to this valve. Keep turning the wrench until you have fully released the bolt. Shake the radiator a little to loosen the connection, and then slide the radiator out. You and your friend will probably have to join forces to lift and slide your old radiator completely free of the pipe and valve.

Step 3 - Install the New Radiator

You should now be ready to install the new radiator. With the help of your friend, reverse the lift and slide action with which you removed the old radiator, and use this to slide the new one onto the pipe. Ensure that it is correctly attached to the side of the piping, and then lower it down onto the other side. You should then fit the bolt over the top of the pipe, and slowly turn until it comes into contact with the radiator. You will have to try and keep the bolt on in a straight line, which is probably the most frustrating part of the installation. It can take 5 or more goes before the bolt slides down into the threads correctly.

Step 4 - Finishing Up

Once the bolt is tightly on the threads, use the wrench to tighten up the nut, so that the pipe and the radiator are tightly fixed together. Turn the valve back on, and then reopen the water supply. The hot water should come back on in a few minutes, and you should now check the radiator for leaks.