In general, home radiators are generally less expensive and require less frequent repair and replacement than most home appliances. On a budget, however, any cost can be significant. The cost to replace a radiator will depend on various factors, including the heat source, type, size, location, material, and brand of the radiator system. On average, replacing a radiator costs $1,500 but can be as low as $500 or as high as $3,500.
Home radiators are critical parts of some central heating units, providing warmth to large spaces. They are, therefore, necessary during those cold winter months. However, if you have been living in your home for several years and have noticed a change in the room’s ability to heat up, or maybe if you’re looking to renovate a new home, you might wonder how much it costs to replace your home radiator system. At the end of the day, a home radiator is just like any other home appliance or car part — it needs maintenance, repair, and, eventually, replacement.
Knowing when to replace a home radiator and what associated costs to expect are critical for your comfort and safety during cold months. Learn more below to avoid overpaying when it comes time to replace your radiator.
How do I know it’s time to replace a radiator?
If you’re reading this article, your radiator might already show signs that it needs replacing. Perhaps the radiator is producing too much or too little heat, leaking, or vibrating. Age is another critical factor. According to Mark Buskuhl, home renovation expert and founder and CEO of Ninebird Properties, radiators can last for several decades, which is great for saving money on replacements but also means that we might be unsure how much life it has left. He offers the following advice on how to know when it is time to replace a radiator:
At a certain point, radiator repair costs can start to add up, and if your radiator is reaching the end of its lifespan, it might be worth considering a replacement.
How much does it cost to replace your home radiator?
Radiators act as the heat source for individual rooms in a home. As such, the cost of replacing a radiator depends on the size of the room, the location of the radiator in the room, and the type of radiator system in your home. Let’s dive into the specific factors contributing to radiator replacement costs.
Radiators use thermal energy to heat your home, rather than furnaces or air pumps, which force air through ducts. Three main energy types make up the radiator systems found in the United States, and the heat source of your radiator might be the difference between a $200 and a $1,500 replacement.
An electric radiator replacement can range from $200 to $1,500, but these radiators are typically the most budget-friendly in the long term, with minimal installation costs. While hiring a plumber is recommended, the process is more straightforward than the other heat source types and might be as simple as plugging in the new unit.
Hot water radiators
Hot water radiators are typically the cheapest type to replace, at around $100 to $1,000, depending on the design of your current system. To minimize labor costs during installation, replace your hot water radiator with a new one that has the same design.
Steam radiators are normally the most expensive to replace, coming in at $300 to $2,500. As with hot water radiators, you will need to hire a plumber to install your steam radiator, so expect some installation costs on top of the price of the replacement unit.
As a rule of thumb, the larger the radiator, the more expensive it is to replace. The size of the radiator is measured in output. Radiators hooked up to an HVAC system are measured in British thermal units (BTUs), while electric radiators are measured in watts. Smaller systems with smaller outputs (up to 3,000 BTUs or 400 watts) can cost up to $500 to replace. Medium- and larger-sized systems with larger outputs (up to 12,000 BTUs or 1,000 watts) might cost anywhere from $500 to $1,500 to replace. Confirm your radiator size with your plumber to get a better cost estimate.
|Size (BTUs)||Size (watts)||Low cost||High cost|
The radiator type refers to the design of the radiator and how it affects a room. You might choose a particular radiator type to match your room’s style, take up less space, or meet a specific need.
- Baseboard radiators run along the baseboard. The cost of the unit is anywhere from $50 to $1,100.
- Flat panel radiators aim to take up as little space as possible. Their minimalist design is usually cheap to replace, ranging from $80 to $300.
- Freestanding radiators are either column or dual-panel design. Column radiators consist of vertical tubes that can be freestanding or mounted on the wall and often function as towel radiators. Dual panel radiators have double the amount of panels as column radiators to produce more heat per inch. These styles come in at $200 to $1,500 to replace.
Location in the home
Different areas of your home require different quantities of radiators. Larger rooms, like living rooms, might require multiple radiators, while smaller bathrooms might only need one. The cost associated with replacing a radiator will depend on where the radiator is and the capacity of the radiators in that room.
|Room type||Number of radiators||Price range|
|Living or dining room||5||$500–$12,500|
Data source: Angi 2022
Additional factors to consider
As you have seen, the combination of radiator heat source, size, location, and type are endless and contribute to a unique overall cost. There are a few additional factors to consider when estimating the cost of replacing your radiator, although these may not be as significant as the ones mentioned so far.
The radiator material often goes hand-in-hand with the heat source. Cast iron radiators and stainless steel radiators are the two most common types, with cast iron materials being slightly cheaper than stainless steel.
Radiators can be horizontally or vertically oriented, depending on your style preferences. Horizontal radiators are more common and run approximately $150 to $800, less expensive than vertical radiators.
Unless you are a heating engineer or plumber, it’s best to call a professional to replace plumbed radiators. While the process should be relatively quick and under 3 hours, most specialists charge $50 to $100 per hour depending on the radiator type and heat source, so you should consider this added cost in your budget.
Old unit removal
Most installation companies will factor in the cost of removing and recycling the unit into the quoted replacement cost. However, if you want to remove the unit without replacing it, it will cost from $25 to $75.
Best place to buy a new radiator system
After all these recommendations, you may be wondering where to shop for your new plumbed radiator system. After all, there are many options to choose from, and they often require the help of a specialist. We contacted Sebastian Jania, a real estate specialist and the owner and founder of Manitoba Property Buyers, and he recommended starting at factory outlets. He says,
How much does it cost to replace a radiator in your house?
The cost associated with replacing a radiator will depend on the many factors discussed above, including its heat source, type, location, and size. You should expect to pay anywhere from $500 to $3,500 to replace it.
How much will a plumber charge to replace a radiator?
The cost of replacing a radiator will depend on the type of system and heat source. However, our estimates find that the hourly rate for a plumber to replace a radiator is around $50–$100 per hour.
Is replacing radiators worth it?
While a radiator repair instead of a replacement might be cheaper, there will come a time when replacement is necessary for your health and safety during the colder months.
How often do house radiators need to be replaced?
The lifespan of home radiators varies by make and model, but radiators typically last between 15 and 20 years.
Can I replace my radiator myself?
With some types of radiators, like electric ones, you may be able to replace them yourself. However, hiring a plumber is recommended for other types and for your general safety.
How long do radiators usually last?
Radiators last up to 20 years, depending on the brand, heat source, and type of radiator.
- Replace your radiator with one of a similar make. By keeping your new radiator’s heat source and type the same as those of your old radiator, you ensure a more straightforward installation. This means less need for pipe work that can tack on extra material and labor costs.
- Opt for smaller and fewer units when possible, as well as units with horizontal and electric heat sources. These characteristics generally mean a lower price tag, though your options will depend on the room size.
- Upgrade to energy-efficient units. While replacing a radiator with a newer, more efficient unit might cost more in the short term, it can come with major long-term savings on heating costs over the radiator’s lifespan.
View Article Sources
- Background articles from Angi and Forbes Home, and from home improvement and home improvement finance sites — Various
- Heat Distribution Systems — U.S. Department of Energy
- Home Heating Systems — U.S. Department of Energy
- Home Repair and Energy Efficiency Assistance — USA.Gov
- Gutter Replacement Costs – Everything You Need to Know in 2023 — SuperMoney
- How Much Does It Cost to Replace an Alternator? — SuperMoney
- The Definitive Guide to Roof Replacement Costs — SuperMoney
- What is a Home Equity Loan and How Does it Work? — SuperMoney
- What is a Rehab Loan and How Does It Work? — SuperMoney
In addition to these sources, readers may find additional helpful links in the article above.