How to remove a house radiator

Updated February 21, 2017

When remodelling or redecorating, the radiator in the room may need to removed. It is very difficult to paint or do any wall repairs with the radiator in place. Removal of the radiator requires no special tools and can be accomplished by the average homeowner. If the radiator is very old, extra care will be needed to avoid damaging older pipes and valves. When removal is done during colder weather, allow extra time for the system to cool.

Turn off the heating system and allow the water in the pipes to cool.

Turn off the valves at each end of the radiator. Turn off the control valve by hand. The second valve will have a plastic cap. Pull it off and turn the valve clockwise using a crescent wrench.Count the turns required to turn valve off. When the radiator is reinstalled, it can be adjusted to the same setting.

Use the bleed key to open the air bleed valve at or near the top of the radiator. A small amount of water may discharge when this valve is opened, so have towels or rags handy to keep water off the floor. If water continues to flow from the air bleed valve, the control valves did not close properly. Try to re-tighten these valves. If water continues to flow, the entire system will require draining. Leave the air bleed valve open when water stops flowing.

Remove the nuts where the water pipes are attached to the valves by holding one nut in place with water pump pliers and turning the second nut with another pair of pliers. Some water will drain when these nuts are loosened; use a tray or pan to catch any drainage. If pan becomes full, tighten the nut, empty the pan and then continue until no water is flowing. Close the bleed valve.

Pry the incoming water pipes slightly away from the nuts. Lift the radiator out of its brackets. There will still be water in the bottom of the radiator. Tip the radiator over the pan to drain out the water and sludge.


Store the radiator upside down until you are ready to reinstall it to prevent any water or sludge from dripping on the floor.


Have help available to lift the radiator out of its brackets.

Things You'll Need

  • Crescent wrench
  • Radiator bleed key
  • Towels/rags
  • Water pump pliers (two)
  • Tray or pan
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About the Author

Myra Smith has retired from the business world after successfully working as a manager in the accounting field over twenty years. Smith received her education in Texas (high school) and Missouri (University of Missouri) business courses offered by employer. Smith has now embarked on an exciting second career as a writer for Demand Studios. Smith writes articles in the Home and Garden section.