How to Remove a Radiator for Decorating

When you're decorating a room in your home, you want the wall finish to be consistent everywhere. It's tricky trying to paint behind a radiator when it's fixed to the wall and almost impossible to get wallpaper fixed evenly when a radiator is in place. For the best end result, you need to remove it so that you have a clear and empty wall to work with. Removing a radiator from a wall for decorating can be done with a little effort and some simple tools.

Turn off your central heating system. Allow time for the water in the pipes to cool down before removing the radiator.

Spread old sheets or towels on the floor, underneath the radiator and especially underneath the valves at either end of the radiator. Turn the control valve on one end of the radiator to the "Off" position. Move to the other end of the radiator and carefully remove the plastic cover from the lock shield valve.

Use a spanner to slowly turn the lock shield valve clockwise. Remember to count the number of turns you make. When you replace the radiator after decorating, you need to apply the same number of counterclockwise turns in order to reset the radiator to its original position, ensuring the normal flow isn't disrupted.

Place a bowl under the control valve and use the spanners to loosen the nut on the control valve. Use one spanner to hold the valve and the other to loosen it. Insert a radiator key into the air vent, which is usually at the top corner of the radiator, and turn it. Water will start to flow out of the control valve so have the bowl handy.

Return to the lock shield valve and use your two spanners to repeat the technique from Step 4 to loosen the valve. A lot of water may come out so empty the bowl into a bucket. When the water stops running out, the radiator can be removed from the wall.

Lift the radiator with the assistance of a friend. Place it on the sheeting to avoid getting any last drips of water on the floor. Unscrew the brackets from the wall and keep them in a safe place for later reuse.


Accidental water leaks are a common hazard of radiator removal. Always be fully prepared before starting to remove the radiator.

Things You'll Need

  • Old sheets or towels
  • Screwdriver
  • Radiator key
  • Spanners (2)
  • Bucket
  • Bowl


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About the Author

Rachel Newcombe has been a full-time freelance writer since 2000, specializing in health, parenting, property/interiors, lifestyle and travel. She's the author of “Skin Cancer and Sun Safety: The Essential Guide” and won the online journalism award in the 2004 Medical Journalism Awards. She has a Bachelor of Science in psychology from the Open University.