Things To Consider When Replacing Old Radiators with Cast Iron Radiators

There are many reasons to consider updating your existing radiators to cast iron radiators. In a period property, choosing cast iron radiators can help you to achieve a specific style and aesthetic. You might also be considering an upgrade for purely practical reasons, because cast iron radiators offer an energy efficient way to heat your home.

Whatever your reasons for upgrading your heating system, we recommend a carefully planned approach. Cast iron radiators have some distinct features that make them slightly different to the usual metal panel radiators that fix to your walls. With this in mind, we’re sharing our top tips to help streamline your upgrade when you replace old radiators with cast iron radiators.

How to replace old radiators with cast iron radiators

Switching from panel radiators to cast iron radiators isn’t always a direct switch. You’re going to need to bring in the professionals to make sure everything is compatible and your radiators are installed safely and properly secured.

The biggest difference you’ll notice is that your old radiators were likely wall-mounted, whereas your cast iron radiators are free-standing and are secured to the wall using a wall stay. This means the pipework will need to be adjusted to meet your new radiators.

replacing old rads with cast iron radiators

Read on to learn the simple steps you’ll need to take to make the switch from panel radiators to traditional cast iron radiators.

Check your boiler is compatible

Cast iron radiators are very similar to panel radiators, so if the number of radiators in your home isn’t increasing, your current boiler should be able to power your radiator upgrade. One point to make is that our cast iron radiators will probably hold slightly more water than standard panel radiators. Most normal central heating systems are compatible with cast iron radiators so always worth checking with your plumber.

Our cast iron radiators can be used with sealed/pressurised systems and open/valved systems alike. However, the maintenance will be different for each system, so it’s vital that you know which one you have.

Every heating system is unique, so we will provide comprehensive installation instructions that will work for you when you take delivery of your cast iron radiators.

Calculate your BTU

The BTU is a measure of how much energy is required to heat a space. Every room will be different and many factors can influence the BTU. We have this handy guide for calculating your BTU, and an interactive BTU calculator.

The BTU will determine the size of radiator you need to heat each room. Large spaces might warrant more than one radiator to meet the BTU requirements. Remember that you can achieve different BTU outputs with different size configurations. So, a tall and thin radiator could achieve the same as a short and long radiator.

replacing old rads with cast iron radiators

Order your radiators

Now comes the fun part. Once you know the BTU requirements for each room, you can then choose a radiator height and length that works for your needs. We share our thoughts on choosing the ideal radiator size for your home in this blog post.

You’ll also need to choose the style and colour finish for your radiators. Arguably, this is the most fun part of replacing old radiators with cast iron radiators. If you’re not sure which colour is right for your home, we recently shared our thoughts on the best colours for traditional cast iron radiators.

Handle your radiators with care

When you take delivery of your cast iron radiators, it is vital that you handle them correctly to prevent damage. We have provided a comprehensive guide to help minimise the risk of damage. In short, you should always carry your radiators vertically and avoid holding them flat, as this could cause damage to the connections between the sections.

Hire a plumber

We recommend hiring a professional to ensure your cast iron radiators are installed correctly. This will avoid the risk of over tightening a valve which could lead to a leak in your system.

We always recommend waiting until your radiators arrive on site before installing any pipework. This is because every radiator is unique and the length could vary once the sections of your bespoke radiator are put together. If you place pipework before knowing the length of your radiator, your pipe centres could be out of alignment.

We do offer a guide to calculating your pipe centres, but this should be used strictly as a guide only. Bear in mind there could be slight differences in the finished product when they arrive.

Learn the basic care tips

Once you have your new radiators installed, it’s time to learn some basic maintenance tips. While they are very similar to panel radiators, there are some features to be aware of so you can make the most of the upgrade.

You’ll need to learn how to bleed your cast iron radiators so they can work as efficiently as possible year after year. We also recommend including your radiators in your annual boiler service, particularly if you want to keep your warranty intact.

Cast iron radiators are incredibly durable, but you may wish to dust them periodically to keep them looking beautiful. Certain paint colours require less maintenance than others, but being prepared for little touch ups is always a good idea.

Final thoughts

Making the switch from unsightly panel radiators to traditional cast iron radiators can give your period property and instant style upgrade. Cast iron radiators look the part but they are also incredibly effective for creating a warm and inviting environment in your home.

If you’re on the fence about making the switch, we hope this guide has helped to clear up a few of your questions. And if you are still confused about any stage of the process, we’d love to hear from you. Our knowledgeable team can help to clear up any confusion so you can move forward with your radiator upgrade with complete confidence.

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Cast Iron Radiator Centre
(a Division of Mossmead Ltd)
241 Torrington Avenue
(Corner of Padstow Road)
Coventry, West Midlands
0800 294 8603 / 024 7630 3999
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