An essential component of every home, radiators keep us warm in the cooler months and help our clothes dry if we’re without a tumble drier, a washing line—or simply just good weather.
Working by distributing the heat general by your boiler to the various rooms of your home, if and when your radiator stops working, the repercussions are felt straight away.
Our guide will explain:
- How much new and replacement radiators cost
- What affects the cost of new and replacement radiators
- How to save money on new and replacement radiators
- How to find and hire a plumber or heating engineer
For an experienced plumber or heating engineer, replacing a radiator is an easy job – it might even be a chance to update the style to better fit your home’s decor. Let’s get started.
How Much Does Replacing a Radiator Cost?
When undertaking any home renovation, your budget will always dictate the scope of your work. Researching costs beforehand will help you determine your essential needs and your nice-to-haves.
Before booking a professional to complete your radiator installation, it’s important to know the costs of installation, the product itself, and associated labour. This will prevent you from being overcharged, ensuring you get the best value for money.
If you want to upgrade your current central heating radiator, you can expect the following costs:
Upgrading your existing radiator to a more efficient version can make your room feel warmer and lower your heating bill. Choosing a different radiator style is also a good way to make a big change to your home for relatively little money.
A small radiator of 400 to 600 BTUs will cost between £20 to £40 for the supply cost only. The installation will cost around £150, taking around two to three hours to complete.
For a larger radiator of between 600 to 900 BTUs, the supply cost rises to £40 to £80, with a three- to four-hour installation period, costing £240 to £280 in total.
Large radiators of 900 to 1,400 BTUs command the highest prices, £85 to £120 for supply. They will take between four to five hours to install, costing £335 to £370 in total.
What’s the Cost of Adding an Extra Radiator?
Alternatively, if you want to add an extra central heating radiator into your home in an area where there wasn’t one before, you can expect the following costs:
On average, adding an extra radiator costs approximately £100 more than replacing an existing radiator.
In this case, labour costs are higher because each additional radiator requires extra pipework to connect them to the boiler. This requires more material (copper pipes and solder), takes more time, and it’s a job that can only be done by a qualified heating engineer.
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What Affects the Cost of a New Radiator?
Radiator prices can vary dramatically, so it’s good to know what affects the price of certain models and what makes some more affordable than others.
The Radiator Size and Output
Firstly, the size of the radiator is a key differentiator. Broadly speaking, the larger the appliance, the higher the cost—and vice versa. However, heating capacity also matters. Radiators with a higher heating output (measured in British Thermal Units or BTUs) are often more expensive.
Before you purchase a new radiator, it’s important to determine the heat output your rooms require in BTUs (British Thermal Units). Online calculators are available for this, or you can ask a Gas Safe Registered heating engineer for help.
Once you know the heat output you need, you’ll be able to buy the right size radiator so the room will be warm enough and you won’t spend more money than necessary.
The number of panels your radiator has will also impact the price you pay. While not immediately obvious from the outside, the insides of your radiators will show why there’s a price increase.
Single-panelled radiators are the most common as standard, comprised of one convector fin. Double-panelled radiators have two convector fins, while triple-panelled radiators have three fins.
Each extra convector helps to distribute heat around your home’s rooms, so the more fins, the better the heat distribution will be.
The Radiator Style You Choose
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to the style of radiators. Depending on the room or your home’s overall look, there are different styles to consider at different prices.
As we saw earlier, standard central heating radiators are among the most affordable, with prices ranging from £20 to £120 depending on the output.
Period cast iron radiators are beautiful and can add plenty of character to your home. These radiators vary considerably in price, from £150 to as much as £1,000 for highly ornate styles.
Column radiators mimic the period look of cast iron radiators. Since they’re made of steel, they’re also much more affordable, ranging from £100 to £500 on average.
Flat panel radiators are another good choice for homeowners on a budget. On average, they cost between £75 and £300 and can add a modern touch to any home.
Stainless steel radiators have also become increasingly popular among people seeking a modern, industrial look. These radiators are a bit dearer, ranging from £200 to up to £1,000.
Vertical radiators are a great choice if space is at a premium. Most often, these radiators cost anywhere from £100 to £1,000 for designer options.
Chrome towel radiators are a common sight in most British bathrooms these days. They keep your bathroom warm during the cold months whilst drying your towels at the same time! A simple towel radiator starts at £20 and costs up to £500, depending on the design and output.
With such an array of styles, it’s a good idea to create a mood board to suit the space you’re looking to renovate and see what style fits your vision.
Whether You Replace or Add a Radiator
When considering your budget for your radiator renovations, it’s good to note whether or not you’ll be replacing existing radiators with newer models, or if you’ll be installing brand new ones into walls where radiators haven’t been before.
Replacing a radiator is often more cost-effective than adding an extra radiator. This is because plumbers can replace existing radiators, but only heating engineers can fit the pipework necessary for an additional radiator.
Whether You Add Thermostatic Radiator Valves (TRVs)
Thermostatic valves (TRVs) are control valves fitted on each radiator to control the flow of hot water to the radiator. Once you set the temperature required, the TRV operates the valve to allow hot water to heat the room and switches it off when it achieves that temperature.
Plumbers recommend TRVs because these valves allow better control of the heating system by setting different rooms to different temperatures. Better temperature control saves you money on heating bills, as your boiler no longer has to provide heat for the entire house.
Whether You Need to Replace Your Boiler
Occasionally, you may want to replace or add an extra radiator and find that you need an entirely new boiler as well.
Most boilers have a lifespan of up to 15 years. If you’ve maintained your boiler and have it serviced every year, it’s unlikely you’ll need to replace it simply because you’re changing a radiator or two.
However, if your boiler is coming to the end of its life, it may be worth considering whether it’s time to replace it with your radiators.
Replacing a boiler isn’t cheap but doing both jobs simultaneously is convenient, especially if you’re planning to upgrade more than one radiator. This is because your heating system may need to be drained if you’re replacing multiple radiators at once.
If you’re planning to exchange your current radiator for a much more powerful version or add multiple new radiators to your house, check that your boiler can handle the extra demand.
If you don’t know whether your boiler can cope with new radiators, it’s best to ask a boiler or heating engineer for advice. Use our guide to learn more about how you can save money on a combi boiler for your home.
Making Good and Decorating
If you plan to remove an existing radiator and replace it with something else, it’s a great chance to decorate those hard-to-reach areas behind the appliance while off the wall.
Replacing a radiator may cause some minor damage if new brackets are required, so you may need to plaster and paint afterward.
Adding a new radiator may involve lifting carpet and floorboards to run new pipes, so be sure to factor these costs into your budget.
How Can I Save Money on a New Radiator?
Comparing quotes is a great way to potentially reduce the cost of your radiator replacement project. HouseholdQuotes can help you get quotes from multiple heating engineers near you, so that you can find someone that suits your budget.
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A great way to save money is to consider upgrading your current radiator. This is usually cheaper than adding or moving radiators since no new pipework is needed.
The trick doesn’t always lie in more radiators equalling better heat distribution. Choosing a radiator with a suitable output ensures your room is adequately heated.
Whilst it can be tempting to save money by buying a reclaimed or second-hand radiator, a used radiator could have micro-fractures that cause leaks or be filled with rust or sludge that could severely damage the rest of your heating system.
If you purchase a used radiator, be sure to get the opinion of a qualified plumber or heating engineer before connecting it, so you can be confident it’s safe and fit for purpose.
How Do I Know if New Radiators Are Right for Me?
Having brand new radiators installed in your home may seem like an inviting prospect if your home doesn’t seem to be heating up like it once did, but there are a few troubleshooting options that should be explored first before this step is taken. Let’s look at the key pros and cons of having your radiators replaced.
|Can update old, tired interiors and give a modern feel||Might not always be necessary if bleeding is the solution instead|
|Usually improves energy-efficiency, especially in older properties||Can cost a lot of money, and cause a lot of mess|
|Can help to reduce annual heating bills as heat is being properly distributed||If your home isn’t well insulated or has single glazed windows, this change might not be as impactful as you may have hoped|
The main advantage is that you are upgrading your heating system – which, for those with older properties and outdated heating systems, can substantially help with energy efficiency and likely reduce annual heating bills as the heat is being distributed evenly instead of being stuck in places or not heating up. It can also help to improve the aesthetic of your home, giving a dated space an entirely new look and feel.
The disadvantages are the potential upheaval the change can cause – pausing your heating for a while, and leading to potential mess and debris to clear up. It might not also be totally necessary if you are just experiencing noisy radiators or cold spots – bleeding your radiators might just be the fix you need, instead of brand new heating appliances.
What’s Involved in Replacing or Adding a Radiator?
Radiators are simple to replace if you are making a like-for-like replacement. The main thing to remember is to purchase a new radiator the same size as the one you’re removing.
Your heating engineer will first drain the old radiator and remove it, and will then get started on changing the pipework (depending on the style of the new radiator). The new radiator will then be hung onto the wall brackets, with the valves connected to the adaptors.
Once complete, your engineer will then open the valves, and fill the radiator. A temperature check of the radiators will then be undertaken, and any necessary bleeding will be done.
How Do I Find and Hire Someone to Fit a Radiator?
Finding the right heating engineer can be challenging. At HouseholdQuotes, we can connect you to heating engineers in your area.
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When sourcing tradesmen for your job, it’s important to note the distinction between plumbers and heating engineers.
Plumbers can replace or add radiators and thermostatic valves, but only Gas Safe Registered engineers can add or repair the pipes that connect the radiator to the boiler.
Finding a reputable tradesman can seem like an uphill battle, but getting recommendations from friends, family, or neighbours can be a great place to start.
Before you hire a plumber or heating engineer, be sure to ask for a written quote. Any reputable tradesperson should be happy to give you a quote on paper or by email.
Ideally, the quote should include the cost of materials and labour.
Next, it’s a good idea to ask about their experience. Specifically, ask if the plumber has experience adding or replacing radiators and valves and if the heating engineer is Gas Safe Registered.
You can also ask if the plumber or heating engineer offers any guarantee on parts or labour.
Finally, you may also ask to see examples of their previous work and testimonials from previous customers. That way, you can see if they’re a good fit for you and your needs.
Final Checklist and Conclusion
Replacing the existing radiators in your home can be a great way of improving heat efficiency, reducing your bills, and upgrading your room’s look.
Here are our key takeaways:
- If your room is cold, try bleeding your radiators first
- If you need to replace a radiator or add another, calculate the heat output required for your room (in BTUs)
- Shop around for a style of radiator you like
- Check that your new radiator is powerful enough for the job, and that your boiler can handle a new or extra radiator
Use HouseholdQuotes to find local heating engineers and potentially save money on your radiator replacement project.
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Frequently Asked Questions
My Radiator Is Noisy. Do I Need to Replace It?
A noisy radiator usually means there is air trapped inside your heating system. It can also signal that sludge or limescale has built up inside the appliance, so it’s best to have a professional flush the system and bleed the radiator to examine any issues.
A noisy radiator doesn’t need replacing as a first solution. Still, if the cause is sludge build-up from years of use, it might be a good final option if you’re battling against noise and bad heat efficiency.
What’s the Difference Between a Manual and a Thermostatic Valve?
A manual valve is operated by you and will only turn off the heat flow if you turn it to the off position.
A thermostatic valve is automatic and will click off once your room reaches the desired temperature, needing no input.
Where Is the Best Place to Put a Radiator?
The best place for a radiator is the coldest area of your room. Commonly, you’ll find radiators under windows as the cold air from their panes will hit the heat from the radiator, which will then mix and rise to heat up your entire room.
In newer homes with insulated windows, this practice isn’t entirely necessary, meaning you have a lot more freedom over the exact placement of your radiator, depending on where your pipework is situated.
How Do I Know if I Need a New Radiator?
Generally speaking, your radiator should last somewhere between 15 and 20 years.
As soon as they approach that mark, it’s best to have a plumber or heating engineer evaluate your heating system to see how the radiators perform and whether it’s time to replace them.
You may also need to replace your radiator because of a build-up of sludge. Sludge ultimately causes rust to form inside the radiator, which corrodes the metal and causes leaks.
During your next boiler service (which should happen every year), ask your plumber or heating engineer to check your radiators so you can identify any issues before it’s too late.
Should I Add an Extra Radiator?
If your current radiator isn’t keeping your room warm enough, adding an extra radiator can be a great solution.
Before you rush to purchase a new one, it’s a good idea to ‘bleed’ your existing radiators to rid them of any cold spots to see if this makes a difference to their heating output. Cold spots are caused by a build-up of air bubbles in the system’s pipework, affecting your heating system’s efficiency.
This reduces the surface area available to emit heat into your home, which means you’ll be running your boiler for longer periods of time to get the required heat – which ultimately leads to higher fuel bills.
How Do I Bleed a Radiator?
Bleeding radiators is a very simple task, and with the right tool (often just a flathead screwdriver will do) you can bleed all your radiators in under an hour. However, if you would rather spend an hour of your time on something else, you can always call in a heating engineer or plumber to do the work for you.
The plumber will turn the heating system on so that all radiators come on. Next, they will inspect all radiators to see if there are any cold spots.
Then, they’ll shut the system down to prevent the pump from sucking air into the radiator when the bleeding valves are opened – each valve on every radiator is then operated in turn until a small amount of water escapes. Once all the radiators have been bled, the plumber will check the water levels in the system, which may need topping up.
Bleeding radiators shouldn’t cost more than £75 in northern England, Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland. In London, the South West, and the South East, you may pay up to £150 for this service.
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