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How easy is it to change a radiator yourself?

(11 Posts)
Chumhum Fri 28-Nov-14 18:25:44

I'm redecorating and have a heating system that is fairly ancient. We know the boiler isn't going to live much longer, but while it's still functioning we're not going to replace it unless the lottery comes up. The radiators are all the single type and look like they've been painted with porridge so I'd like to replace just the two in the area we are redecorating. I think that they'll look terrible especially as we're having the walls re skimmed so it should look great when done.

I noticed that you can buy radiators in B&Q and it got me wondering if DH and I could just buy a couple of new ones the same size as the existing ones and replace them. We will probably have to take them down for the plasterers anyway, is it as simple a job as just putting a new one back on?

Also - is B&Q the best place to go?

PigletJohn Fri 28-Nov-14 18:33:11

if it is exactly the same size it is fairly easy.

If not, you have to expect to cut and alter the pipework. You can't solder wet pipe, and it is very difficult to dry pipe that has water in it.

If the pipes come up through a concrete floor, so they can't be moved, it will be a hard and depressing job.

MoreBeta Fri 28-Nov-14 18:34:34

Personally I would wait until boiler pack in and replace it and all the rads in one go. I strongly suspect you will end up doing it anyway. The entire system will need a complete overhaul, not just a boiler but new valves, magnetic cleaner, pump etc.

We did it last year. You need good quality rads that last for 20 years and I would advise get a good plumber. They are heavy full of sludge and your plumber will get good ones at trade prices.

Chumhum Fri 28-Nov-14 18:38:20

You are probably right MoreBeta but I can't but want the finished thing to look great especially as its the hall so very public. The floors are timber, I bet the radiators available won't quite be the same size - I'll have a look.

PigletJohn Fri 28-Nov-14 18:42:55

usually get new ones that are bigger, too. People like more warmth now, and modern condensing boilers generally run cooler than old iron boilers, so need bigger rads to put out the same amount of heat. And fit TRVs and new lockshields.

Lambstales Fri 28-Nov-14 18:55:16

I had a similar problem a couple of years ago with burst radiators, we couldn't match our 'oldish' radiators and our singles became double convector type rads. Luckily we have wooden floors.

Piglet John what do you mean when you say that a condensing boiler runs cooler?

Screw fix is worth looking at for plumbing 'stuff'.

MoreBeta Fri 28-Nov-14 19:00:30

Our plumber said the same as you PigletJohn.

Double rads with a new condensing boiler. It wasn't just a matter of putting in a new boiler. The rads were also slightly different size to our old ones. We needed new wall brackets too.

PigletJohn Fri 28-Nov-14 19:23:21


condensing boilers run at their most efficient about 60C. Also, they try to tick over at low flame size, if that's enough to keep the house warm. Old iron boilers often run at 80C and the radiators were sized on that assumption.

A big, warm radiator keeps the room at a more even temperature that a small, very hot one.

Lambstales Fri 28-Nov-14 19:28:18

Thank you PJ, I didn't realise that.
As OP says, I don't think our Potterton will last much longer sad and am always looking for little bits of information about a replacement.

specialsubject Fri 28-Nov-14 20:22:35

I'm on oil heating but same principle - as PJ notes the new boiler runs at a much lower temperature. It also wastes a LOT less heat, so the utility room no longer dries clothes quickly but the oil consumption has plummeted!

also as noted; drying out pipe to solder it is very very hard. You don't find that the joint is leaking until you've refilled the system...

there are online tools to help you calculate radiator sizes needed for rooms and hence boiler sizing. Will help you see if your tradesmen are talking sense. Radiator specs also give you a fairly good idea of output heat.

mineofuselessinformation Fri 28-Nov-14 20:26:07

How about buying a radiator cover for the one in the hall?
There was nothing wrong with my rads, but the one in the hall looked so ugly as it was the first thing you saw... A nice cover looked much better and was a handy place to have a clock etc. smile

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