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Silly question on radiator removal...

I'm renovating a bathroom and need to remove the steam radiator (one pipe) from the room to redo the flooring and drywall behind it. There are plenty of videos online on how to remove a cast iron radiator... but how about a newer fin type radiator with a metal cover:

Is it the larger hex "union" in the middle that I need to get the pipe wrench on and break free? I spent a good 10 minutes with a 14" pipe wrench with no luck. Either I need a breaker bar, they are steam welded together, or I'm wrenching on the wrong nut...

Any help is appreciated. Sorry in advance for the stupidity...


  • Larry Weingarten
    Larry Weingarten Member Posts: 3,338
    Hello, Search the term "pipe union" and have a look for a photo of a disassembled union. You'll want one wrench on the big nut and another on the threaded part of the union, with wrenches facing in the opposite directions. With both wrenches in place pull on one and push on the other, and/or use a bar to pry between them. I can't tell for sure which direction the big nut should unscrew from the photo. You might want to make sure the system is off first! Another photo from higher up will let us know more about how that union is installed, and what direction to turn the large nut to loosen it.

    Yours, Larry
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,635
    Remove cover.
    Take union apart (with boiler off) as @Larry Weingarten mentioned. get some scrap pipe to put over wrench handles for more leverage. Use 2 wrenches. Some penetrating oil on the union may help. Then you can remove the convector and the sheet metal back plate.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,458
    I might add that, as @Larry Weingarten implied, it is not always immediately obvious as to which way a union should unscrew (one of the things I learned early on in the game!). If it helps, remember that if you imagine yourself looking down on the piece which has threads on it, then the big nut will unscrew counterclockwise as you are looking down... (you may have to imagine yourself standing on your head and looking up...). And hold the piece with the threads on it with your backup wrench. The last thing you want is for it to unscrew from the pipe below it...
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,079
    edited January 2018
    Go to a hardware store plumbing section.
    Find a union like you have......take it apart. It has 3 parts.
    Study how the large nut tightens and what it looks like when together. You have to look for the large open side of the nut and remember how it tightens or loosens.
    Hands on is so much easier than explaining.

    Always use 2 pipe wrenches....you might buy an 18" to go with your 14". Economy priced would be ok for your use.
  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,578
    Good advice-Jugne!!
    Maybe you can work around the radiator without removing it, for your refinishing efforts. After all, the cover will prevent people from seeing the small parts you couldn’t do.
    Getting the union apart-moderately difficult-getting it back together, and sealing-difficult.—NBC
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,079
    Is this a wintertime (heating season) project?
    You will have to cap/plug the steam pipe........don't turn the pipe coming up thru the floor.....it may leak below the floor.