Cost of Moving a Radiator

Last updated 8th September 2021

This article will look at the average cost of moving radiators from one position to another in a property. This will include the material and labour costs as well as the timeframes that are involved.

Tradesperson moving a radiator

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How Much Does Moving a Radiator Cost?

The cost to move a radiator from one location to another within a property will typically be mostly labour costs will some material costs. As there is no need to purchase a new radiator, these material costs should be minimal.

The labour cost will be determined by several factors such as how many radiators you wish to move, the size and type of radiator and where in the UK you live.

Moving a single traditional radiator from one wall in a room to another should take no more than a couple of hours providing there are no problems.

If you live in London, the average cost to hire a plumber for this job will be around £100-£135 per hour and £45-£65 for every subsequent half hour. For a heating engineer, the price will be slightly higher at approximately £110-£160 per hour and £50-£75 per next half hour after that.

For other parts of the UK, the average cost of a plumber will be in the region of £30-£70 per hour while a heating engineer on average will cost around £40-£90 per hour. However, it is probably not necessary to hire a fully qualified heating engineer for the task of moving a radiator.

More than one radiator will obviously take more time and labour, and this will affect your budget. The amount of work involved may include moving pipework, lifting floorboards, or drilling through walls.

The cost of changing a radiator that is heavy such as cast iron or a designer model may take more time, manpower and work so you should budget for this.

Moving Radiator Prices

The labour cost to move a radiator from one place to another within a property will depend on the size, type, and number of radiators to be moved. The location of the property will also play a part in the moving radiator cost. The below table is an average cost to move a single radiator.

Type Duration London Rest of UK
Convector radiator 1-2 hours £115-£230 £50-£100
Column radiator 2-4 hours £230-£460 £100-£200
Panel radiator 1-2 hours £115-£230 £50-£100
Cast iron radiator 2-4 hours £230-£460 £100-£200
Towel rail 2-3 hours £230-£345 £100-£150
Electric radiator 1-2 hours £70-£100 £60-£90


Supply Only Costs

If you want to move a radiator but wish to change the size, type, or simply upgrade there are several options available for every budget. Below are some average radiator prices.

Type of Radiator Size Average Cost
Single convection radiator 600mm x 1200mm £60-£75
Column radiator 1800mm x 340mm £200-£250
Single panel radiator 600mm x 800mm £150-£200
Cast iron radiator 350mm x 718mm £400-£450
Towel rail 1200mm x 500mm £100-£200
Electric radiator 400mm x 1180mm £200-£250


Additional Costs

If you decide to move your radiator to a different position or location, you may also consider upgrading or changing your radiator. The cost of changing a radiator will be in the region of £200-£250, but this will depend on the size and design of the radiator.

The build-up of sludge in the central heating system will adversely affect its performance, so if you are considering moving a radiator, it may be the opportune moment to also carry out a power flush. Particles which are dislodged when a radiator is moved or replaced can travel to the boiler and cause problems, so a power flush is a worthwhile investment. Expect to pay on average between £300-£500 for this service.

If your central heating system is more than ten years old, it may be time to invest in a new boiler. The average cost to install a new boiler with a thermostat is approximately £2,000-£3,000. Replacing a boiler is not cheap, but an inefficient boiler will cost more in heating bills overall.

Cost Breakdown Calculator

Individual costs to move a single convector radiator - Total Cost: £160

20%

Materials
£30

80%

Tradesmen
£130

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Waste
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Labour Costs and Time Frames

The main cost of moving a radiator will be in the labour costs. If the radiator is being retained and just repositioned then, there will be no need to purchase a new radiator. However, there may be a need for some additional pipework and connections.

Who you decide to hire will also affect the labour costs, and the average cost of moving radiators does depend on whether you hire a plumber or heating engineer.

If you hire a heating engineer to do the work, the price will be between £110-£160 per hour for the first hour and approximately £50-£75 for every subsequent half hour thereafter. These are the prices you will pay if you live in London or the surrounding areas.

For the rest of the UK, a heating engineer will charge an average of £40-£80 per hour depending on the area.

If you hire a plumber to move a radiator and you live in London then expect to pay £100-£135 per hour for the first hour and around £45-£65 for every subsequent half hour. In other parts of the UK, this price will be around £30-£70 per hour.

A plumber or heating engineer will be able to move a single radiator in less than a couple of hours providing there are no significant obstacles or problems. Of course, it does depend on the type of radiator, the size, and the accessibility to the pipework.

If there is more than one radiator to be moved, then the work will obviously take longer. It may also be necessary to have more than one person working on the project, and a plumber or heating engineer may have an apprentice or labourer to help. This may add another £10-£12 per hour to the labour charges.

Moving a radiator will invariably involve pulling up floorboards to re-route or insert pipework, and the extent of this work may have an effect on the timescale of the work. Difficulties with accessibility or suitability of the new location for the radiator may also add to the timeframe.

How to Move a Radiator

Moving a radiator should be planned in detail before any work is begun. This will help to avoid any issues with pipework, available space, or accessibility.

Step by Step Guide to Moving a Radiator

Preparation

  • The central heating system needs to be drained down, and the bleed valve on the radiator should be opened.
  • Turn the electricity supply for the boiler off to stop it firing up while the system is draining, which could cause severe damage.
  • Turn off the TRV and close the lock shield valve on the radiator and wait for it to cool down.
  • Floor coverings such as carpet or laminate flooring should be taken up with care to avoid damage.
Hand turning valve on the side of the radiator

Access

  • To access pipework feeding the radiator, it will be necessary to take up some floorboards. To cut boards, a multi-tool is best. Care should be taken not to cut too deeply risking damage to pipes or wiring running underneath.
  • A flat bolster chisel is best to use as a lever rather than a screwdriver which tends to break the boards.
  • The pipework should now be visible and accessible.
  • Ascertain which pipes are the flow and return to decide where to fit the TRV when the radiator is moved. There are universal TRVs which can be fitted to either end but if an existing TRV is being re-used is helpful to know which end to fit it. Although the difference will be minimal, a lot of plumbers prefer to fit the TRV to the flow pipe so once this is established, it should be marked. An easy way to determine is to switch on the heating and see which pipe heats first; this will be the flow pipe.

Removing the Radiator

  • The radiator can now be disconnected from the pipework with an adjustable wrench and lifted off the wall bracket. Have a container underneath the valves in case there is excess water inside and close the bleed valve.
  • If the radiator is being moved to another wall in the same room, it is possible to measure the height of the brackets from the top of the skirting board to the bottom of the bracket. This allows the radiator to be put back at the same level in its new location.
  • The old pipework should then be capped off.

New Location

  • The floorboards in the new location will need to be lifted to access the pipework and to reveal the location of floor joists which may impede the pipework to the radiator valve.
  • When lifting boards, they should be cut where they are fixed to a joist so that they can be re-fixed firmly after the work is complete. Joists can be located by finding the nails on the floorboards, and this is where the board can be cut.
  • To ensure the brackets are adequately fitted a level should be used on the wall and a line marked with a pencil. By measuring from the centre of one bracket to the centre of the other, an accurate measurement for fitting them in their new location can be taken. The bracket screw holes can be marked with a pencil.

Fitting the Radiator

  • These holes are then drilled making sure that the correct depth is kept and there is no damage to the other side of the wall. Rawlplugs should be inserted into the holes, and the bracket then screwed into place.
  • When the first bracket is in place, a level can be used to mark the height of the second. After the second bracket is fitted, the level should be rechecked. The brackets come with a sliding opening for screws which can be loosely fitted, the level checked and adjusted if necessary. Once it is level, the screws can be tightened in place. Additional screws can be added for extra security.
  • The radiator can then be lifted onto the brackets. A final check with a level can also be taken.
  • The TRV and lock shield can be inserted onto the ends of the radiator. This will determine where the pipework should be located in the floor
  • Holes will need to be drilled into the floorboards on either side of the radiator for the pipework that connects to it.
  • New pipework can be copper or plastic, and there are fittings and connections for all types and even for plastic to copper.
  • The new pipework from the radiator can be connected by cutting into the existing pipework and creating a new joint. Connections can be made by soldering, push-fit or compression joint fittings.

Final Checks

  • Once all the connections have been tightened, the inhibitor can be added to the system, and you can begin to refill it.
  • The electricity supply can be turned back on, and you can monitor the boiler to make sure it is getting back up to pressure.
  • Check for any leaks and release air from the system regularly by going round all the radiators with a radiator key.
  • Test that the new radiator is heating up.
  • When all checks have been carried out, and the installation is complete, the floorboards and floor covering can be replaced.
  • You may need to do some making good on the wall where the radiator was originally sited. This can be done with some filler for the fitting holes and redecorating the area.
Multiple radiators

Cost Affecting Factors of Moving a Radiator

There are several factors which will influence the cost to move a radiator.

Number

Of course, if you have more than one radiator to be moved this will involve more work and therefore be more expensive in terms of labour cost. Depending on how many radiators are involved it may take a whole day, and you should be aware that the day rate for a heating engineer in London can be between £400-£500 per day while a plumber will be £350-£450.

Other parts of the UK will be cheaper with heating engineers charging around £200-£300 per day and plumbers £200-£250 per day.

Size

The size of the radiator that you are moving may have an impact on the labour costs. If it is a small and easy to handle radiator, then it should only require one person to move. However, if it is a large or heavy radiator, it might be necessary to have two people on-site to do the work.

If a plumber or heating engineer has a labourer or more likely, an apprentice, then this may add another £10-£12 per hour.

Type

The type of radiator to be moved may also affect the price paid for the work. Some radiators such as cast iron are tricky for one person to carry on their own and may require another person to help. Not only may this add to the cost of labour but also mean that the work may take slightly longer.

Extra Plumbing Work

Moving a radiator will involve cutting and adding pipework, but the extent of this will depend on the new location of the radiator. Typically, the radiator will be fed by new pipework from the existing system underneath the floor, but sometimes it may be necessary to channel pipework through walls.

This will be additional time and labour and may add to the overall cost of the job. Occasionally there may be no pipework available for the radiator, and a new run may need to be installed, again this will add to the labour cost and timeframe of the job.

Location of Property

The location of your home will affect the cost of moving a radiator. Labour costs in London and the southeast of the UK are much higher than in other parts of the country with plumbers and heating engineers charging between £300-£500 per day.

This is due to the higher cost of living, including things like insurance premiums and transport costs. In other regions of the UK, the daily rate of a heating engineer or plumber is slightly cheaper at around £200-£300 per day.

Ease of Access

Problems with access to pipework may add to the timeframe of the work and may mean that the project takes longer to complete. This will have an impact on the cost of the labour overall. Planning prior to moving the radiator will help to mitigate such problems before they occur and avoid unnecessary expense.

DIY Moving a Radiator

Doing It Yourself

Moving a radiator can be done as a DIY job but with some basic plumbing knowledge and skills. It will be necessary to drain down the system to move the radiator, and full understanding of how this is done will be necessary to avoid problems. The floor covering and floorboards will also need to be removed so confidence in doing this part of the job will also be needed.

Hiring a Professional

If you are not confident of how to move a radiator whether it is draining the system, pulling up the floor, or adding new pipework it may be advisable to hire a professional. A mistake with the plumbing could result in a leak which may prove more expensive than paying for a plumber or heating engineer to carry out the work.

Unless you are replacing your entire heating system, there are no notifiable works involved in moving a radiator, and it will not need to be signed off by a professional.

If you want to do some of the work yourself and leave the plumbing to a professional, then you could prepare the area by removing the floor covering and the floorboards. Once the radiator has been moved, you can replace the floorboards and floor covering yourself. This should save some money on labour costs.

DIY Dangers

Doing any kind of DIY in your home comes with specific hazards or dangers, and safety should always be the top priority. Injury from a power tool can be mitigated by working methodically and not rushing the job.

Observing acceptable safety practices such as wearing gloves, safety goggles and boots when necessary, will hopefully reduce the risk of injury.

A typical DIY hazard is cutting through pipes or wiring or drilling too deeply through a stud wall and penetrating the opposite side. You can avoid these dangers by being thorough in your survey of the work area to detect wires and pipes.

This can be done visually by lifting floorboards or by using a device that detects them electronically. Careful measurements and drill bit selection can avert the mistake of drilling too far into a wall.

Types of Radiator

There are numerous types of radiators on the market to suit every taste and budget. The cost of changing a radiator will depend on which type you choose.

Moving a Single Convection Radiator

Single convection radiators are basically a hot water container that radiates heat out into a room. The convector fins at the back increase the total surface area for air to come into contact with, be heated and circulated around the room.

These radiators are relatively straightforward for a plumber to move and will likely only require one person to carry out the work. A plumber will charge around £100 per hour in London or between £30-£70 in other parts of the country.

White single convection radiator

Pros of a single convection radiator:

✔ Can fit in confined spaces and relatively easy to move.

✔ Standard radiator, familiar to most plumbers and heating engineers.

✔ Reasonably priced and widely available.

Cons of a single convection radiator:

✖ Will not give out as much heat as a double convection radiator.

✖ Tend to protrude quite a lot into the room.

✖ Not suitable to provide heat for a large room.

Moving a Column Radiator

Column radiators are formed by joining tubular sections together to a required length and can be made from steel, cast iron or aluminium. They have the advantage of being adaptable to many sizes and for transportation where they can be assembled on site.

Moving a column radiator will require two people to prevent injury or damage to the radiator. A column radiator should be carried in an upright position and not in a flat position; this is to avoid tension on the joints between sections.

The cost of labour for a plumber and apprentice or labourer will be in the region of £110-£145 per hour in London. In other parts of the country, a team of two like this would cost between £40-£80 per hour.

Pros of column radiators:

✔ Suitable in both modern and traditional homes.

✔ Rooms are heated quicker due to larger surface areas.

✔ Can be hung horizontally or vertically.

Cons of column radiators:

✖ Can look cumbersome and obstructive in smaller rooms.

✖ Cast iron column radiators can take a long time to heat up.

✖ Dusting between the columns can be a fiddly task.

Moving an Electric Radiator

Electric radiators are usually wall-mounted and relatively easy to move as a DIY project if they are a simple plug-in model. This would mean moving it to a location where there is an existing wall socket. If the radiator is hard wired into a spur, then it will need to be moved by a qualified electrician.

The cost to hire an electrician in London is between £40-£60 per hour and in the rest of the UK around £30-£40 per hour.

White electric radiator

Pros of an electric radiator:

✔ Can be used independently of a main central heating system.

✔ Suitable for properties that are not connected to mains gas supply.

✔ Can be controlled with an app on a smartphone or tablet.

Cons of an electric radiator:

✖ Cost more to run than central heating radiators.

✖ Not a lot of variety of styles and designs.

✖ One electric radiator may not be enough to heat a large room.

Where can I move a radiator to?

New Position

A radiator can be moved to any location in a home where the wall is strong enough, and there is pipework nearby to connect it to. If there is no pipework, it may be necessary to add a new run of pipe for the new location, but this will involve taking up more flooring, so choose the new position with care.

Reasons for Moving a Radiator

There are many reasons for wanting to move a radiator. An existing radiator may be poorly situated in a room and take up valuable furniture space. This would be particularly true of a small room with limited space for a bed or other furniture.

You may want to redecorate and redesign a room, and the current location of a radiator may be an obstacle to your vision for the space. Or you may have a designer radiator that you want to put in a more prominent place.

A change of use for a room may mean that the radiator is in the wrong place to suit the new function and furniture.

Things to Consider

When you decide to move a radiator, you should ensure that the new location has adequate space not only for the radiator but also for access to the TRV (thermostatic radiator valve). If the radiator is squeezed into a tight space, it may be difficult or impossible to access the valve effectively.

It is also essential to make sure that the radiator is in a position where it will adequately heat the room it is in.

Typically, a radiator is located underneath a window as this is usually the coolest places in a room. The incoming air is warmed by the radiator and circulated around the room but if it is not possible to put the radiator under the window, try to locate it where it will give maximum efficiency.

Radiators should not be placed above electrical sockets, so try to avoid this if at all possible. If there is nowhere else for the radiator to go, you should have the socket moved instead.

Building Regulations and Planning Permission for Moving a Radiator

There are no Building Regulations that apply to moving a radiator from one location in your home to another. It also does not need to be signed off by anyone, and there is no application to building control.

However, if you install a new central heating system and boiler at the same time, this is classed as notifiable works and must follow Building Regulations.

Further details are available on the planning portal. The guidelines to be followed in the installation of a new heating system are contained in Approved Document J.

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Removing a Radiator Cost

Whether you want to move a radiator to renovate a room or just don’t like its current location, the job should take no more than a couple of hours. However, it does depend on the type of radiator and the complexity of the repositioning.

If you decide to hire a plumber or heating engineer the cost to move a single radiator will be between £50-£200 in most parts of the country. In London, the price will be much higher and cost around £100-£450 depending on the style of radiator and local variances in charges.

Suppose you decide to do the work yourself to save the cost of hiring a professional. In that case, it is crucial that you have a good understanding of basic plumbing and understand what you need to do to carry out the work safely and effectively.

A leak can be a costly mistake, so only undertake DIY tasks that you are confident of doing and ensure that you understand all aspects of the work involved.

Tradesperson removing radiator off the wall

Disposing of an Old Radiator

Some recycling centres will take old radiators, but it is worth checking with your local authority before you make the trip.

There are also recycling companies who will collect scrap metal and take them to a processing facility. You should check what they will charge before agreeing to anything.

You could also take your radiator to a scrap metal dealer, but unless it is made of copper, it is unlikely to be worth very much.

FAQs

As long as the fixings for the radiator are attached to the studs and not to the plasterboard, then there is no reason why you cannot put a radiator on a stud wall.

You should, however, check the weight of the radiator and ensure that it won’t be too heavy even for the studs.
Most radiators will be located underneath a window. This is usually because it is the coldest part of the room, and the radiator will warm any air coming through the window or frame.

This air then circulates around the room by convection, which means warm air displaces cold air. Another reason for putting a radiator underneath a window is that it is often ‘dead space’ which means that it is infrequently used for other purposes.

Having said that there is no absolute rule for where radiators can be located, and the best place is where it will deliver optimum heat.
After a radiator move when the system has been drained down, it is possible for air to get trapped in the radiator.

This prevents the water from filling the radiator completely, and therefore it cannot get hot over its entire surface. Bleeding the radiator means that you release the trapped air, and the hot water takes its place, making the whole radiator warm.
It is possible to use flexible pipework for a radiator, and this often makes moving a radiator a lot easier, especially when feeding pipes under floorboards.
You do not need to switch off the water supply before moving a radiator, but you must remember to switch off the heating system and drain it down.

How to Find & Hire a Contractor to Move a Radiator

Many people will be able to move a radiator with some basic plumbing knowledge. Still, a lot of people will either not know how to do this or would prefer to hire an experienced professional to do it instead.

What to Look for When Hiring a Plumber or Heating Engineer?

One of the most important things to look for in a tradesperson that will be working in your home is a good reputation. Someone can be the best plumber or heating engineer in the world, but if they arrive late, do not respect a client’s home or are generally inconsiderate, then this will affect their reputation. Word of mouth is still highly regarded in terms of recommendation and should be considered when looking for a contractor to work on your home.

Qualifications

It may seem an obvious thing to say, but a plumber or heating engineer should be qualified to carry out the work that they will be undertaking. Making sure that this is the case is in your best interest and should be done before any work begins. Asking for or checking qualifications such as Gas Safe registration if work on your boiler will be undertaken is vital to the safety of you, your family, and your property.

Experience

Most plumbers learn their trade with a combination of apprenticeship work on the job and a college course. The combination of the two is an invaluable way for a young person to learn a trade such as plumbing or heat engineering and has trained these trades for decades. An apprenticeship usually lasts four years, so there is a good foundation of knowledge before a plumber is qualified. You can enquire about how much experience a plumber or heating engineer has before hiring them.

Accreditation

Anyone who works on a gas boiler must be registered as Gas Safe, and it is possible to check this for yourself on their website. For plumbing work other than working with gas, there is no formal qualification required. Still, someone who is a member of the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE) has been recognised as being competent in their field. This is a good indication of reliability and experience.

Insurance

All contractors and tradespeople should have adequate insurance for working in client’s homes, and you can ask for proof of this. Public liability insurance is critical as it protects against damage to property or injury to people as a result of work done poorly or incorrectly.

References

If you are not hiring someone you know or who has been personally recommended to you, it may be a good idea to ask for references from previous clients. Most professionals will have no problem providing references for you to check.

Proof of Previous Work

As with references, unless you know the contractor, you are going to hire, or they have been recommended it is a good idea to ask for proof of previous similar work. If the plumber or heating engineer has come on personal recommendation from someone you know, then it may even be possible to see the work yourself.

Getting Quotations

With any work to be done by contractors or tradespeople in your property, it is advisable to obtain three or four quotations before hiring. This ensures that you are paying a fair price, and it will also allow you to get an idea of what is involved.

Sometimes there may be aspects of a job that you have not considered and getting several quotations will allow you to see what is necessary.

Shop Around

On top of getting several quotations, there are other considerations when hiring a contractor, so do not be tempted to hire the first person who quotes for you. Comparisons are essential not just in terms of the price that you will pay but also in the way that a tradesperson will treat your home while they are working in it.

It is also good to have a clear conversation with a contractor before the work is begun so that you understand what will happen and you do not end up asking questions while the work is in progress. This is generally not appreciated, so finding someone that you also have a good rapport with is important.

Sources

https://www.mpmoran.co.uk/
https://www.tradeplumbing.co.uk/
https://www.onlyradiators.co.uk/
https://www.victorianplumbing.co.uk/
https://www.simplybusiness.co.uk/
https://www.plumbworld.co.uk/
https://www.ciphe.org.uk/
https://www.designerradiatorsdirect.co.uk/
https://www.bishopplumbing.co.uk/

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