I'm trying to replace a (rusted through) leaky radiator. I ordered and
received a Stelrad K1 (single) radiator and I'm confused about fitting
the 'radiator valve tails'.
The instructions just say - prepare the radiator valve tails with PTFE tape
(no problem) and fit to the radiator connections - the radiator connections
are sealed with some sort of plug which would take an enormous phillips
screwdriver or similar. Do I need a special tool to get these out? Do they
actually unscrew? I've tried a bodged tool on them but they don't move
easily and I don't want to damage anything.
Help please - Alan
In the past I've found that these plugs will undo with a large
Once you get them started you'll find that they come out quite
The Screwfix double rads I used had 4 plugs - the two top ones needed
replacing with the supplied chromed plugs, one of which had a bleed
valve in it. The two plugs at the base of the rad were replaced with
Hope this helps
Yes, these fittings are a nuisance.
They do require removal (unscrewing) with "the equivalent of" a large
Recommend you score around the edge of the insert with a stanley knife or
similar - I've had these bring paint off before now.
Then get something flat that will positively engage one "leg" of the philips
cross and turn this with a shifter (obviously the rad must be sat somewhere
When the plugs are out, check the threads are clean before trying to fit the
rad tails. I've had some rads with gunk in the threads which will stop the
tails from screwing fully home.
Stelrad radiators ain't what they used to be from a quality perpective
I've got them out - using a bicycle bottom bracket spanner - don't ask!
Surely they could come up with something that didn't need me to go hunting
round the workshop and bringing in a whole pile of odd shaped bits of
To follow up other comments about Stelrad not being what they once were,
I found the threads on mine were a bit rough, causing the PTFE tape to
tear and in a few cases cause leaks. For those I remade the joints using
specialist thread jointing compound, I use Dow Corning Plumba Thread but
Fernox do something similar. For extra security either add on an extra
couple of turns of the PTFE or use the compound instead.
If you're replacing a lot of rads - or fitting new tails to old rads which
have had Boss White rather than PTFE tape on the threads - it may be a good
idea to invest in a 1/2" BSP tap, to clean up the threads before screwing
the tails in.
 As in tap and die for thread cutting, not the sort for turning water
flow on and off! <g>
The only leaks I had in my last installation were from these wretched
taper threaded joints. I tried PTFE wrapped round in every variation
from a couple of turns to so much that you could barely see that it was
threaded, and still the damned things wept. Is it really too much to
think that, by now, a standard valve connection which wasn't based on
steam engineering practice from the 19th century, could have been
devised? Not to mention brackets that cope with walls which aren't
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It's going to depend on the make of valves and radiators, but
I started with 10 turns of PTFE on the tails. If they either
didn't seem to tighten before getting near the end of the
thread, or if they leaked air when pressurised (easy to spot
with gas leak detector spray), then they got redone with 15
turns. None leaked at the point, nor have any leaked in the
6 years they've been installed.
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I don't see what the problem is .Why did you need odd shaped bits of
The rads I got from Screwfix had similar plugs ...obviously put in
prior to it being painted .....but I used a flat screwdriver with a
large blade and that turned it with no problem .....
That was the first thing I tried - the largest flat screwdiver I own. Ok so
there are probably larger blades on the market but in the past half century
I've never needed a blade bigger! When I tried to turn it it slipped and
started to damage the inside surface of the stopper. At that point I got
onto this ng just in case there was something weird about Stelrad rads.
Perhaps if I could have seen a join between the plug and the rad I'd have
been more optimistic.
You could be forgiven for not seeing the join as it would be covered
with the paint . I spose the manfrs just assume that the user knows
that something has to go in it's place they also know the plug HAS to
come out .
You'll be wiser the next time . :-) I spose an alternative would be
to use a screwdriver held on to the edge of the plug and tap it in the
correct direction with a hammer . I can't recall if the plugs are
round or hex shaped .
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