DIY Radiator Fitting

Written by philippa jones
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DIY Radiator Fitting
You can install a radiator on your own. (white radiator image by Ekaterina Sidorenko from

Fitting a radiator can be done by any DIY homeowner -- there's no need for a plumber. However, it is important to know how to approach the task before starting it, otherwise you may spill radiator water on the floor, attach the wrong pipes or damage the radiator fixtures. With a few simple tools and the right guidelines, it is possible to fit a radiator within a day.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Hammer
  • Chisel
  • PTFE tape
  • Adjustable spanner
  • Radiator brackets
  • Drill
  • Screwdriver
  • Hose pipe
  • Pipe cutter
  • 2 T-junctions

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  1. 1

    Choose an appropriate location to install your radiator. For instance, placing it underneath a window means the radiator will heat the cold air coming through the window. Allow space for the length of the radiator and any objects, such as a sofa or cupboard, that may be positioned in front of it.

  2. 2

    Lift up the floorboards in the immediate area where the radiator will be fitted. Wedge the chisel between the boards and hammer on it. Pry the chisel upward to remove the boards.

  3. 3

    Locate the water pipes that are connected to the home's boiler or central heating system. Look underneath the floorboards. Follow the direction of the pipes from other radiators in the home to determine where the pipes lead.

  4. 4

    Secure the radiator tails. The tails are a component of the lockshield or thermostatic radiator valves found at the base of the radiator unit. Unscrew the tail. Wrap PTFE tape around each screw's threads. Replace the screws in the tails. Tighten each one using a spanner.

  5. 5

    Affix the radiator to the wall using a strong metal bracket. Measure the distance between the fixtures on the back of the radiator. Mark this distance on the wall to make sure the radiator is lined up correctly. Fasten the metal brackets to the wall, using a drill and screwdriver. Follow the bracket's installation instructions to ensure you secure it firmly.

  6. 6

    Slide the radiator onto the bracket. Wiggle it to make sure that it is stable and properly attached.

  7. 7

    Turn off the central heating system. Drain the radiator. Switch the boiler off at the main supply. Secure a long hose to the drain-off valve on the radiator. This is a faucet with a knob on the base of the radiator. Place the other end of the hose out a window.

  8. 8

    Bleed the radiator dry. Open the drain-off valve using an adjustable spanner. Empty the radiator of all water.

  9. 9

    Cut out a section from the inflow and outflow pipes that you located in step 3. Insert a T-junction in each and connect it to the corresponding radiator pipe. Fasten the T-junction in place using a push-fit fitting or compression fitting.

  10. 10

    Shut off the drain valve and remove the hose pipe.

  11. 11

    Turn the central heating system back on. Test the radiator by switching it on and off and changing its temperature. Check that there are no leaks or loose fittings.

Tips and warnings

  • Get a friend to help you lift the radiator onto the bracket to make the job easier.
  • Secure the hose to the drain-off valve using a jubilee clip. This ensures the radiator fluid will not leak out onto the floor of your house.
  • Cut a copper pipe using a pipe slice and plastic pipe cutter for plastic ones.
  • Only fit a radiator if you are confident and knowledgeable about plumbing and DIY techniques.

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