There are a number of reasons to replace a radiator in your home. You might have a leak from an old and rusty radiator or you might want to fit a new heated towel rail. Whatever the reason, you will have to either do it yourself (not advisable if you have carpets) or employ the services of a plumber or heating engineer to do it for you.
A direct one for one replacement that is the same size and shape is pretty straightforward as long as the connections are the same. You need to turn off the lockshield radiator valves or TRV (thermostatic radiator valve), unbolt the radiator and drain down the radiator to remove the water. If you are decorating your house you might have done this before. The tricky bit for replacing a radiator is making sure the new brackets lineup so the connecting pipes also align and have an airtight seal when you screw them back up.
Getting a modern radiator the same size as a radiator over 40 years old is going to be a task in itself. The likelihood is you will need to extend some pipework and drain the system (not always though). For this, unless you are a plumber yourself, you will need to hire one.
A plumber can change a radiator in your home in a matter of hours. They will be in and out of your house before you have had time to look up how to do it yourself on youtube. Things get a bit more complicated when you want a different type of radiator, like a towel rail, or an additional radiator to heat extra space in a room.
When hiring a plumber to fit a new radiator make sure you get a couple of estimates or quotes so you know you are paying the right amount local to your area.
Radiators can be cold for many reasons such as;
Rust sludge blockages in radiators or pipes
Incorrect radiator fitted
Pipework issues, microbore, air locks, poor design such as pipes drop down from above
Unbalanced systems (see below)
Weak or damaged circulator pump
Thermostatic radiator valves stuck shut or shut off because overheat behind curtains
So, just because it’s cold, it doesn’t mean it needs replacing. Make sure you check with a plumber or heating engineer before you decide to buy an expensive new radiator, it might be something else that needs changing.
If you are replacing radiators in the house it is also a good time to replace the lockshield valve or fit new TRV’s which will help you regulate the temperature in each room more effectively. It will be cheaper to get this done in one go, drain down the system and repressurise with a new sealed system that is airtight.
Bleeding is where there is gas at the top of radiators, this could be air where the system has lost water or the gas could be Hydrogen (burns with a blue flame) which is an indication of corrosion occurring. To bleed radiators you need a bleed key, a rag to catch drips and if a closed system you will need to top up the system pressure during and after bleeding.
Balancing radiators makes sure the circulating heating water reaches and heats up all the radiators, especially the downstairs radiators further away from the boiler. There is an art to balancing radiators requiring the lock shield valves to be open in increments and comparing how fast each radiator heats up. Turning upstairs radiator TRVs (thermostatic radiator valves) down to a lower setting means they turn off which will increase circulation downstairs.
If you think you have circulation problems and you want some help, contact a local heating engineer using HaMuch.
Radiators leak because they rust internally most commonly dripping where valves connect but sometimes developing pinhole leaks. If you have one radiator leaking then your heating system will all be rusting away and you may need to replace other radiators and you should definitely powerflush your heating system to get rid of the build up of rust and debrid.
Radiators for heating your home do not need to be expensive. There are many budget radiators on the market and they start from as little as £42 for a mild steel, small radiator. The cheaper radiators are probably not the most pleasing to the eye but they do their job and if you have to get 6 to heat your home they will be kinder on your pocket.
If you have more money to spend then there are radiators that cost upward of £300 and are designed to look great in your home. They can compliment a room and provide additional functionality as towel rails in bathrooms and kitchens. They come in various designs, sizes, materials and colours, including steel, stainless steel, aluminium and traditional cast iron.
The tables below show conventional, flat panel and tubular radiators and their prices. Talk to your plumber or heating engineer before you buy as they will know what is suitable for your home and system, and might be able to get you a trade discount.
|Height 400mm x Length 1000mm||£42 / £76|
|Height 500mm x Length 1000mm||£50 / £85|
|Height 600mm x Length 1000mm||£61 / £96|
|Height 400mm x Length 1000mm||£159 / £261|
|Height 500mm x Length 1000mm||£161 / £298|
|Height 600mm x Length 1000mm||£189 / £344|
|Height 500mm x Length 834mm||£214 / £233|
|Height 600mm x Length 834mm||£224 / £239|
|Height 750mm x Length 834mm||£236 / £276|
This depends on what you are planning to replace the radiator with. If you are replacing one radiator, like for like, in a room and there is no need to drain down the system, it will take 1 to 2 hours to fit a new radiator by a qualified plumber or heating engineer.
If you want to fit multiple radiators that are different from the ones removed, drain down the system, fit new lockshield and thermostatic radiator valves expect the plumber to be there all day and maybe longer if there are differences with the pipework between radiators.
Also you should expect some disturbance with a major change, including plastering/filling walls and repainting or wallpapering. The plumber might have to lift carpets and floorboards to gain access so all of these additional things take time.
To get quotes from qualified plumbers and heating engineers listed on HaMuch by posting your job to local companies in your area. Check out the hourly rate local to you and select the plumber that fits your budget.
|Cost to replace a heating programmer||£180|
|New combi or system boiler installation – like for like replacement||£500|
|Cost to fit thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs)||£94|
|Cost to fit smart heating controls||£100|
|Cost to fit a radiator||£80|
|Boiler service cost||£90|
|Boiler repair costs (e.g. pump, diverter valve or heat exchanger)||£333|