The Cost to Replace a Radiator

All you need to know about the costs of replacing a radiator including materials, labour and time frames.

Replace Radiator

What the job entails

This article contains quotes, prices and advice from plumbers and gas engineers, on replacing radiators. Whether removing and replacing a radiator for access, simply replacing a radiator with a new one, or installing an additional radiator. This article assumes standard gas central heating type radiators as commonly used in the UK and electric storage heaters etc are not discussed. Radiators often need to be dropped/removed when you want to tile/decorate the wall behind, this is a quick job but a plumber can test the radiator afterwards and carry out any minor repairs needed if there are any leaks. You need to remember that when it comes to removing radiators, the general rule of thumb is that the older the radiator the more likely it will leak if it is disturbed!

To remove and replace a radiator you first of all have to drain the water by turning off the valves then unscrewing the cap-nut while holding a bowl under the joint. Then open the bleed valve to let the water drain out slowly until empty. Then lift the radiator free from its wall brackets and if you have thermostatic radiator valves make sure you cap them off. Replacing the radiator is simply the opposite of removal, plus you will need to bleed any air from the radiator. In modern homes, radiators are best placed in the coldest part of the room, which is usually under a window.

When replacing a radiator, you should think about the boiler capacity and efficiency, if the boiler is more than 10 years old it will probably be worth replacing the boiler too. Another related job is fitting TRV valves for more efficient control of room/radiator temperature. Thermostatic Radiator Valves (TRV) control the radiators temperature by sensing the room air temperature and automatically opening and closing the water flow to the radiator to maintain a preset temperature. TRV’s are now a requirement as part of Building regulations in homes, but many older properties still do not have them. check with your installer to make sure you have the correct valves. Finally, there is no point having efficient radiators if your house is poorly insulated. Insulate the loft to at least 150mm of modern insulation and look into double glazing if you do not have it already fitted.

There are a number of situations when we would need to remove a radiator. Decorating is the most common, followed by replacing the floor or skirting boards, flushing the central heating system, cleaning, adding silver foil reflectors, and of course replacing a radiator with a new one. It’s not a difficult job as long as you have patience and take sensible precautions. But there are things that can go wrong, the most common being the radiator leaks when fitted/refitted. To find and repair radiator leaks first of all put some towels on the floor around the radiator and then completely dry the surface of the radiator to find the source of any leak. Once the radiator is dry you should be able to see the source of the leak easily. But if not then take some toilet tissue or kitchen roll and systematically check every union on the radiator.

Radiator leaks come from one of three places the body of the radiator itself (if old and rusted), the bleed point, the valve or the water pipe leading to the radiator. if you have just replaced/refitted a radiator, the joins between pipes, valves and the radiator itself are the most likely culprits. If the radiators are hot at the top and cold at the bottom, this usually means that the radiator is receiving an insufficient flow of water, this can be caused by a number of things including a blockage in the radiator and faulty or incorrectly specified water pump in the central heating system, best to call a heating engineer for further investigations.

Cost to Replace a Radiator

The average cost to replace a radiator is typically around £200 for a traditional double panel radiator. The price varies depending on quality and size of the radiator and also whether or not any brackets need changing and how much pipework is required. The overall time to complete the job will be around 2-3 hours, with the heating engineer usually carrying out tests on the radiator to ensure no minor repairs are required as well as fixing any minor leakage.

Most heating engineers work in pairs for safety reasons and usually charge around £300 per day for the pair. If the job is small then quite often only one tradesmen is required so you can expect a cost of around £150-£200 per day in labour.

Below are some estimated costs for supplying & installing/replacing radiators:

Job Type Avg. Cost Duration
Replace a Radiator £200 1-2 hours
Drop/Remove Radiator £100 1-2 hours
Install Additional Radiator £300 3-4 hours
Bleed a Radiator £100 30-60 mins
Replace all Radiators in 3-Bed House £1300 1-2 days


Cost Breakdown

Individual costs to replace a single double panel radiator - Total Cost: £200

40%

Materials
£80

60%

Tradesmen
£120

0%

Waste Removal
£0

FAQ's

To drop a radiator for access to decorate and then refit afterwards will typically cost around £100 and will include checks post fitting to ensure all is well. To replace a faulty or damaged radiator, like-for-like, with a TRV valve installed, you are looking at prices around £200.

If you decide to install an additional radiator if a room is too cold then your plumber may need to lift up the carpet/flooring and floorboards, plus extra pipework will be needed so this will be more expensive. Budget for around £230, though you will have to check that your existing boiler can cope with an extra radiator. Most boilers will be able to cope with one or two extra radiators but you need to consult a heating engineer/plumber to make sure.
Bleeding the radiators is a task that should be done every year or so and is simple enough for do yourself without calling a plumber. Central heating systems can collect air bubbles or throughout the system which create cold spots which will prevent the radiators reaching their full temperature. This means you have to turn up the temperature or keep the heating on for longer to get the same room temperature which costs a lot more in fuel.

To begin bleeding the radiator first of all turn off the heating to avoid burning yourself, then using a radiator key and a cloth, simply turn the valve slowly until a small amount of water (and probably air) comes out, once water starts coming out without spluttering or bubbles, close/tighten the valve and move onto the next radiator in turn working your way around the house.

Once done, check the water pressure in the central heating system, it may need topping up. Now switch the central heating back on and check all the radiators for cold spots, repeating the process as necessary for any radiators that still have cold spots. If all of this sounds like too much work, a plumber would typically charge around £120 to bleed the radiators in a typical 3-bed semi-detached house.