View Full Version : How to temporily remove cast iron radiators?

08-18-2007, 01:07 PM
Our house has 1942-vintage cast iron radiators with a hot-water boiler.

I will need to temporarily remove a radiator while tiling our bathroom floor, but am worried that I may crack the 65-year old joints when torquing on them.

Is there a "trick" to getting these out in one piece so that they can be easily reinstalled?

I've worked a lot with copper, but threaded black iron pipe is new to me.

Appreciate any tips.


08-18-2007, 01:39 PM
Working in NYC, I've done a number of these...

I used to call in a plumber, but he eventually started answering me with "I'm busy, you can do this yourself, I showed you how..." which was a bit of a joke, since he's one of the strongest men I've ever met, and I weigh all of 140.

Where I'm going with this, is that I've never seen a fitting get broken, but I've often had a pretty hard time applying enough force to loosen the nut. It takes a LOT of force to get things moving.

Get yourself a long (5-6ft) pieces of black pipe to fit over your wrench handle - you'll need the extra leverage.

The pen is pointing to the part you need to turn - in this case, I'd need to crank up.

How are you planning to deal with getting the rad back in place, when your floor is higher?

master plumber mark
08-18-2007, 02:56 PM
Those will rupture you if you are not careful

the worst thing that might happen to you is
not takeing out the 600lb registers....

its trying to put them back in again and getting them
to line up with each other....

thats when the real crying begins.....

REMEMBER when you add 3/4 inch of tile you have raised the height of the registers 3/4 an inch too...
and they wont line up anymore with those nipples....

you better be sure that you can get access to those
steam feed pipes from under the floor and
you can get them to raise up that criticle 3/4 inches
before you put the tile down

or you will be screwed , screwed , screwed...

before I messed with those I would almost seriousley
consider just tileing around them and sealing around
the legs with grout to clean it up better

08-18-2007, 03:31 PM
The underside of the floor is totally exposed.

The black iron hot water pipes have some play in them, so should be able to rise up 3/4". Of course, those could be famous last words... :eek:

If I really had to, I could leave this radiator out (i.e. not reinstall it) and use a small electric baseboard in its place to supplement the electric heating mat that I hope to install with the new floor.

1) Do I need to use two opposing wrenches when trying to remove this radiator? Or just one?

2) When I re-install it, how do I prevent leaks? Pipe dope? This is a hot water system.


08-18-2007, 07:10 PM
You don't need another wrench, it's a nut that pulls the two fitting together.

And yes, pipe dope; the old hard pipe dope is why it's so hard to loosen the thing to get it off...

If it turns out that there isn't enough slack in the pipe for the lift, at least you have access to the riser underneath, to replace things if needed...

08-27-2007, 06:11 PM
.... electric heating mat that I hope to install with the new floor....infloor heat sounds good, feels good, is good. Do it. Put the electric heat cables close enough together that you won't need the radiator.