Cost Of Moving a Radiator
A guide on how to move a radiator, how much it costs to hire a professional and what to do if you DIY.
This article will outline the work required to move an existing radiator and to fit it in a new position. This is a medium-sized task that many amateur DIY enthusiasts should be able to tackle without too much trouble. Advanced DIYers will find it relatively easy to carry out this task. Moving a radiator can help you carry out other DIY or building tasks such as moving walls, replacing windows or adding a new door to a room, that may necessitate this kind of removal. You may also wish to move a radiator as part of an overall decorating task.
Costs involved with relocating a radiator
On average, to move a radiator costs approximately £100-£150 for a plumber to complete. This does depend on how long the job takes, type of radiator, and how large it is. It may cost around £40 for materials and fittings on top of the labour charges. The price will also depend on the condition of the current wall and the wall the radiator is moving to.
What moving a radiator entails
The task of moving an existing radiator will entail determining the flow and return to the radiator, and the shutting off of flow water to the device, the proper draining of it to prevent water contained from leaking out uncontrollably and making changes to the water feed and outlet. Once moved, the task will also involve the refilling of the entire radiator system, leak checking, bleeding, and pressure checking the whole system to ensure that it is fit to use. It will mean measuring the position of the new radiator and ensuring that it is located firmly and safely on the wall.
Other jobs to tackle
While the radiator system is undergoing flushing and refilling, it is also a good time to give it a thorough clean using a magnetic filter trap. This is a fairly simple product that can be used to really clean the system. It doesn’t have any moving parts and uses a powerful magnet to attract the metal debris in the heating circuit. A heating system which includes steel radiators always corrodes as it’s water and metal combining and the consequence is small particles of metal that accumulate (called sludge). This sludge builds up in the radiators and limits heat output and circulation. Furthermore, because radiators are generally steel or cast iron (though aluminium versions are available), metal debris also gets stuck in the boiler, or central heating pump, and causes a malfunction.
You should use an inhibitor to protect the system against corrosion, some metal accumulations can occur and a magnetic filter can help remove these. Magnetic filters have the function of removing the metal debris by attracting it to the powerful magnet while storing it safely in a plastic container. If you use one of these when emptying the system, refilling it with clean water and an inhibitor will ensure that the system is clean and metal-fragment free.
General advice when moving a radiator
To carry out the task of moving a radiator, you will need at least the following tools to complete the job:
- 2 x adjustable spanners
- Drip tray or paint roller tray
- Radiator bleed key or a flat-head screwdriver
- Cup or small container when bleeding the radiator
- Lengths of appropriately sized water pipe
- Water pipe fixings and/or solder and soldering torch
- Multi-purpose digital detector
- Hammer drill or drill driver
- A masonry drill bit suitable for use with the wall plug
- Steel wool
- Cloths for mopping up
Start by draining the whole system, allowing time for all of the water to flow out before undoing pipe connections. Once the system is free of water, use the two spanners to loosen the pipe connections on either side of the radiator that you are moving. Be careful as there may still be some water in the system, so protect the area with cloths.
With the connections removed unbolt the radiator from the wall and put it to one side. You will then need to remove the brackets from the wall and move them to the new position, ensuring that you maintain the correct distance between them so that the radiator fits again. If the bracket has become damaged it would be best to completely replace it. With the radiator now securely fitted to its new position, you will need to deal with the pipework, which can be a major job.
It is best to use new lengths of pipe rather than lengthening and shortening existing pipe, so take accurate measurements of pipe length – with some extra length to allow for expansion – and attach them to the radiators at both sides using new fittings. Once the fittings are in place, refill the system with water and check for leaks at every point where you have interfered with the piping and deal with them. If you cannot find any leaks, restart the boiler system and systematically use the bleed plugs to remove air from the system, starting at the radiator nearest the boiler and working outwards.
Here is a list of commonly asked questions regarding relocating a radiator.
Q How long will it take to move a radiator?
This will depend on how much extra piping you need to fit, but generally, you should be able to complete the removal and fitting of your radiator within a day.
Q Where is the best place to position a radiator?
It’s best to place a radiator in a cooler part of a room, such as on an outside wall or under a window. If you haven't got enough space for the size of the radiator where you want to refit it, you could consider two smaller radiators in the same room.
Q Why is my radiator hot at the bottom but cold at the top?
This is usually caused by trapped air inside the radiator. To fix it, turn off the heating system - but not the radiator valves - and let the system to cool down. Then, if there’s a Manual air vent installed, use a radiator key, or a flat screwdriver, to loosen the centre screw of the air vent and you should start to hear air flowing from the small hole in the air vent.
Once the air stops and is exchanged by water coming through the small hole, tighten up the centre screw. Turn the heating system on, and your radiator should be heating as normal. Use a cloth to catch any squirts of water from the air vent to avoid staining walls or carpets.
Q My radiator is heating unevenly or has hot and cold patches?
This is usually known as a ‘balancing’ problem and indicates that there’s not enough hot water getting to the radiator to let it heat up completely, normally affecting the last radiator in the line most. Fix this by opening the air bleed screw on the radiator nearest the boiler – with the boiler on – releasing any trapped air, and closing the valve before moving on to the next one. By the time you get to the last one, they should be balanced.
Q How often do I need to bleed my radiators?
It’s recommended you check your radiators at least once a year when you switch on your heating again after the summer.