6 Steps to Replacing a Steam Heat Radiator

What You'll Need
Teflon tape
Thick cloth
Pipe wrench

The steam heat radiator is a convenient and relatively cheap means to keep our homes warm and cozy. Its simple but solid construction gives it longevity which typically surpasses that of the houses where the radiator has been installed. However, a time may come when you will decide to replace your old radiator with a new one in order to improve the efficiency of your heating system, make the room interior more pleasant, save some extra space, or for some other reason. In the present guide, you will find the steps necessary to carry out this task.

 Step 1 – Consider Repairing the Radiator

If the reason you want to replace your radiator is that it seems to malfunction, check first whether you can not repair it. If, for example, the radiator is whistling too loud or leaking from the valve, you can try to change the air vent or replace the valve rod gasket. These are easy to perform operations, which you will be able to do in no time. You just need a good wrench and some teflon tape (as an aside, only leaks that do not come from the valve or vent necessitate the replacement of the radiator).

 Step 2 – Switch Off the Boiler

If you are perfectly sure you want to change the radiator, go to the basement, or the room where the boiler is, and switch it off. The boiler should not be working during the replacement operations.

Step 3 – Turn off the Valve

Turn off the valve to the radiator (usually, it is situated near the floor). Be careful - the valve may still be hot. Use a thick cloth if necessary.

Step 4 – Disconnect the Radiator

Take a large pipe wrench and with counter-clockwise movements unscrew the nut which connects the radiator and the valve. Keep unscrewing until the nut is fully released from the coupler. Lift the radiator if needed and pull it away from the valve.

Step 5 – Purchase Radiator

Now you are ready to mount the new radiator. Before you proceed, however, a precious piece of advice may be worth considering. When steam is produced in the boiler, it is simultaneously distributed to the radiators. So, to achieve optimal performance of the heating system, all radiators in the room must be of equal size proportionate to the room dimensions. In other words, the new radiator must have similar, if not the same, proportions to the other radiators in the room where it will be installed.'

Furthermore, avoid purchasing small radiators as they tend to retain condensate (i.e. water from cooled steam) in themselves, which obstructs the free movement of the steam.

 Step 6 – Position and Connect the New Radiator

Position the new radiator correctly, the coupler pointing straight up. You may want to set the radiator at an angle towards the valve so that in the future, when condensate is formed, it will be able to return easily to the furnace. Screw the nut with your hand until the threads are aligned and tightening correctly. Then take the pipe wrench and fix the nut securely with clockwise movements. You can now turn the valve on and check if the new radiator functions properly.