No its not easy the fittings are rusted , it is realy not a good idea to
do this to make painting easy, first you need to drain the boiler, then
refill and bleed the system, then get it fully hot for maybe 24 hrs to
boil- cook out the oxygen in the water, or over the summer alot of rust
will occur, and maybe in fall,you will have leaks when you turn the
You've assumed the radiators have two pipes and the heating system is closed
loop like most modern baseboard heating systems.
If the boiler were for a steam system either one pipe or two pipes but open
loop (not pressurized, open to atmosphere) then the radiators would
basically be empty when not in use and thus may be removed.
Not knowing what kind of radiators the OP has I can't say it can be done but
the possibility exists. I wouldn't really recommend it because those things
can be heavy and the fittings are often already caked with paint or rust as
to make reassembly difficult.
As for painting behind, get the small foam paint rollers. the ones with 1"
diameter should fit in most cases. You can mask the radiator itself with
that wide brown paper often used to protect floors (paint department)
We had steam heat in one of the dorms I lived in in college. We'd just
acquired it from George Williams college, so over winter vacation,
they wanted to do maintenance or something. They took out all the
radiators, did something, then put them back, but in one room they
didn't put it back. When the kid got back, his warddrobe walls were
swollen to 3 times their normal thickness and it couldn't be opened.
The desk and dresser drawers couldn't be opened. Eventually (that
day?) everything had to be destroyed so he could get his things out.
This requires some ability with plumbing. In my case, I have steam
two-pipe radiators, and I am removing wall paper from behind radiators
to remove, baseboard wood to strip and stain, and then stripping the old
paint from the radiators and repainting them. Our radiators are cast
iron, of course. I have taken to using Rustoleum for the radiators, and
find that to work very nicely.
I REMOVE the radiators, although the original return traps sometimes
need to be replaced because the threads like to strip. Valves have
already been replaced many years ago.
If your plumbing connections are good, and if you have appropriate
wrenches and ability, you should REMOVE the radiators. If on the other
hand, you are just trying to paint, AND IF you can protect the radiators
and reach the area you want to paint, just do that.
Maybe this gives you some ideas in addition to what others have
Phil Munro Dept of Electrical & Computer Engin
mailto: firstname.lastname@example.org Youngstown State University
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