How Much Does Radiator Replacement Cost?

Older homes are often heated with radiators, which can break down over time. The average radiator replacement cost falls within a typical range of $100 to $2,500, costing an average of $1,500.
Visual 1 - HomeAdvisor - Radiator Replacement Cost - Cost Range + Average - January 2024


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  • The typical range for radiator replacement cost is $100 to $2,500 with a national average of $1,500.
  • Cost factors for this project include the heat source, radiator size, type, material, brand, orientation, labor, location, and removal of the old unit.
  • Radiators may need to be replaced if they are showing internal rust, experiencing water leaks, or need frequent repairs. Additional reasons for replacement are if the home’s heating needs have increased or if homeowners want to upgrade their unit.
  • Radiator replacement is generally not a DIY project. Professionals can ensure that the unit is installed correctly and will run at peak efficiency.

A radiator heating system offers a unique set of benefits to homeowners. With radiator heating, warmth fills a room without the assistance of blowing air. This can help a room feel warmer at a lower temperature. Radiator heating is also quiet and offers improved air quality, as it doesn’t circulate dust, dander, or other allergens like furnaces can.

But just like any other home appliance, radiator systems can begin to show signs of wear and tear. Eventually, a home’s radiator heating may need to be replaced. The price to replace radiator heating varies, though according to Angi, homeowners can expect the final cost to fall within a typical range of $100 to $2,500, with an average cost of $1,500. Factors like heat source, radiator size, labor, and customizations can all impact replacement cost.

This guide will help homeowners estimate new radiator cost and learn how to recognize signs of a worn-out heating system as well as offer tips on how to save money during a replacement.

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Radiator Replacement Cost

Factors in Calculating Radiator Replacement Cost

There’s no one-size-fits-all cost when it comes to home radiator replacement. Instead, several factors influence the final price, including radiator material, brand, and even the location of the unit inside a home. For homeowners up against a radiator replacement project, the following insights into different price-influencing factors can help with estimates and budget planning.

Heat Source

Not all radiators use the same heat source. In fact, there are three main types: hot water, steam, and electric. A new hot water radiator can be as little as $100, though some units can cost up to $1,000. Steam radiators offer a “fresher” heat than forced air systems, with a typical replacement cost range of $300 to $2,500. Electric radiators offer 100 percent efficiency and accurate control of temperature, both of which can save homeowners money in energy costs after replacement. Electric radiator replacement cost ranges from $200 to $1,500.

Radiator Size

Radiators come in a few different sizes. Plumbed radiators (radiators that are hooked up to an HVAC system) are measured in BTUs (British thermal units), while electric radiators are measured in watts. Generally speaking, the larger the radiator, the more it will cost to replace. The following costs are for materials only; labor to install the radiator will add to the total project cost.

  • A small radiator with an output of 3,000 BTUs costs between $200 and $500.
  • A medium-size radiator with an output of 7,000 BTUs costs between $500 and $700.
  • A large radiator with a BTU output of 12,000 has a typical cost range of $600 to $1,200.
Radiator Size in BTUsAverage Cost (Materials Only)
3,000$200 to $500
4,000$250 to $350
5,000$350 to $500
6,000$400 to $600
7,000$500 to $700
8,000$500 to $800
9,000$500 to $900
10,000$600 to $1,000
12,000$600 to $1,200

Electric radiator costs follow a similar pattern. The following are some examples of electric radiator costs, not including labor:

  • Small 400-watt radiators cost between $100 and $500.
  • Medium-size radiators with 700 watts of heating power cost between $500 and $900.
  • Large 1,000-watt radiators cost between $900 and $1,500.
Radiator Size in WattsAverage Cost (Materials Only)
400$100 to $500
500$200 to $600
600$300 to $700
700$500 to $900
800$600 to $1,000
900$800 to $1,200
1,000$900 to $1,500

Radiator Type

There are multiple types and styles of home radiators. From their method of installation to their different sizes, finishes, and materials, there’s a seemingly endless list of radiator combinations, and with each combination comes a unique price range. The following are some examples of common radiator types (including both plumbed and electric units) and their prices.

Radiator TypeAverage Cost (Materials Only)
Baseboard$35 to $1,000
Column$200 to $1,200
Dual panel$300 to $1,500
Flat panel$80 to $300
Freestanding$200 to $1,200
Single panel$80 to $300
Towel$200 to $1,200

Radiator Material

Cast iron is a common material used for radiators and can be plumbed for steam or hot water. Cast-iron radiators hold heat better than steel and have a longer lifespan. A plumbed cast-iron radiator has a typical price range of $200 to $700. Cast iron can also be used in electric radiators; this style and material combination has a slightly higher price range at $400 to $1,000.

Stainless steel is another popular material choice for radiators. It’s a more versatile option and offers more in style than cast iron. It’s also lighter, making installation easier, and available in a variety of colors to give homeowners more design choices. Plumbed stainless steel radiators cost between $200 and $1,000. Electric steel radiators cost just a bit more at $200 to $1,200.

Radiator Brand

There’s no shortage of reliable manufacturers when it comes to steam, hot water, and electric radiators. While some may specialize in one type, others offer a wide range of radiator types and models for consumers to choose from. The brand a homeowner chooses for their radiator replacement project has a direct effect on the total price.

Radiator BrandAverage Cost (Materials Only)
Amaze Heater$150 to $400
Buderus$200 to $600
Ecostyle$300 to $1,000
Hudson Reed$300 to $1,400
Runtal$700 to $5,000

Radiator Orientation

While some radiators (such as baseboard style) must be horizontal, others can be configured to fit a room’s available space and style. A radiator’s cost is heavily dependent on its size, but its orientation is also a consideration for homeowners to keep in mind when pricing out a project.

For example, a horizontal plumbed unit costs between $100 and $1,000, while a vertical plumbed unit costs just a bit more with a range of $300 to $1,200. The price difference between horizontal and vertical radiators is a bit more noticeable when it comes to electric units. A horizontal electric unit has a price range of $300 to $1,200, while a vertical unit can cost as much as $2,000.


For most HVAC specialists, radiator replacement labor cost is between $100 and $150 per hour. Changing out a radiator is a fairly quick process and isn’t likely to take more than 2 to 4 hours, as long as there aren’t extensive repairs in the surrounding areas.

For example, replacing a radiator that leaked could also involve repairing flooring or drywall surrounding the unit before a new radiator is installed. This could also require the service of more than one contractor, depending on the range and extent of issues. Labor costs can also depend on a contractor’s experience. The longer a professional has been in the field, the higher their labor costs tend to be. The difficulty of the job can also impact labor.

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Installation Location

A home heated by a radiator system will feature radiators throughout the house. While a specific type of room may not have a major influence on replacement costs, it can affect the size of a unit. For example, a bathroom is more likely to have a smaller radiator than a main living space.

Size is one of the largest factors in radiator replacement cost, which is why installation location is still an important consideration for homeowners estimating the cost of a radiator replacement project. For example, a bathroom radiator replacement has a price range of $400 to $1,100, while a hallway radiator replacement costs between $400 and $1,400.

A kitchen radiator replacement has a higher price range at $800 to $1,700. A bedroom radiator can be a bit more expensive, with an average replacement cost of $800 to $1,900. A radiator in a basement is the most expensive to replace, costing an average of $1,200 to $2,000.

Installation Location Average Cost (Materials and Labor)
Basement$1,200 to $2,000
Bathroom$400 to $1,100
Bedroom$800 to $1,900
Hallway$400 to $1,400
Kitchen$800 to $1,700

Old Unit Removal

When homeowners are replacing a radiator, the old unit must be removed. This creates a wider price range than a homeowner might think.

The good news is that it’s common for the cost of radiator removal simply to be rolled into the overall quote for a replacement project, meaning it’s a cost a homeowner rarely has to consider. But for the homeowner who is paying only to have a unit removed, or who wants to know how each step in a replacement project is priced out, a removal cost between $75 and $400 can be expected.

Radiator Replacement Cost

Additional Costs and Considerations

Homeowners can sometimes come across additional costs and considerations that affect their final cost of radiator replacement. While not all of the following situations fit into every scenario, they still provide useful insight into the radiator replacement process.

Repair vs. Replacement

There aren’t a lot of components inside a radiator. This leaves very little to maintain or adjust during a repair. And in most cases where a crack or leak has developed, repair isn’t really an option. So in most scenarios, when a radiator starts to show signs of deterioration, it’s time to replace it rather than consider a repair. Radiator leak repair costs are the most expensive, reaching up to $600.

The good news is that radiators are designed to last for decades. And when issues do arise, they’re typically due to the boiler and not the radiator itself. For homeowners who want to learn more about the cost of radiator repairs and replacement, the following examples can be helpful to keep in mind. Sometimes the cost of a radiator repair will be the more affordable option, but in some cases, replacing a component rather than merely repairing it can make more sense. Upgrading a radiator to a more efficient unit can actually save money in the long run, despite the higher up-front cost.

Radiator RepairAverage Cost (Materials and Labor)
Bleeding the radiator$100 to $200
Clog repair$200 to $450
Crack repair$175 to $400
Sloping the radiatorDIY
Valve leak repair$150 to $600

Boiler Replacement

Both hot water and steam radiators use a boiler. With a steam radiator, a boiler provides steam that is distributed via pipes to the radiator. With a hot water radiator, a boiler provides hot water for baseboard radiators or even radiant floor systems. Whether a homeowner is budgeting for radiant floor heating costs or just radiator replacement, boiler upgrades may be inevitable.

Just like any other appliance, boilers can start to show signs of wear and tear over time or even stop working entirely. Once a boiler starts making strange gurgling, banging, or whistling noises; leaking; experiencing low pressure; or not responding to the thermostat, a replacement could be in the near future. On average, a new boiler costs between $580 and $12,000, with installation costs ranging from $1,500 to $2,500.

Radiator Cover

Older radiators typically have a cover, especially if they’re freestanding. Modern radiators are designed to complement a space, but older units may benefit from a cover to help them blend with a room’s style. There’s a surprising number of radiator cover ideas to choose from, all designed to improve a room’s aesthetic.

As their name suggests, adjustable covers can be adjusted for size. They cost between $75 and $300 installed and can work with small and large radiators. An under-window cover also costs between $75 and $300, including installation. Some covers offer storage, but at an additional cost, while others include a shelf on top, making a radiator seem like a piece of furniture that matches a room’s decor. Both types cost between $200 and $300. Finally, there are custom radiator covers that can be customized for a specific shape or size; these cost between $200 and $500, depending on materials, size, and style.

Cover TypeAverage Cost (Materials and Labor)
Adjustable$75 to $300
Cover with storage$200 to $300
Custom$200 to $500
Under window$75 to $300

Thermostat Installation

Replacing a radiator often requires installing a new thermostat. This can be especially true when the old unit is quite outdated or when homeowners are switching brands. Though it’s an additional expense, a new thermostat can offer better zoned temperature control and improved energy efficiency. If homeowners are replacing a radiator for style purposes, it can make sense to update the thermostat for aesthetics as well.

It’s also true that some thermostats are compatible with multiple models, so a replacement may not be necessary. If it’s time for a new thermostat, though, a homeowner can expect to pay between $140 and $350 for both parts and labor during a thermostat installation. A smart thermostat may cost up to $500.

Add-Ons and Customizations

Generally speaking, the more a radiator replacement project is customized, the more the final price tag will be. Professional painters offer radiator painting for $20 to $50 per unit. A homeowner may also consider learning how to paint a radiator, in which case the price will be limited to the cost of painting supplies. Another option to consider is investing in decorative valves to turn the unit into a statement piece, with valves costing $10 to $30 apiece.

Central heating inhibitor is a liquid designed to clear buildup and debris from inside a radiator pipe. It’s run through the boiler system and helps to prevent rust in old cast-iron radiators. Since rust leads to leaks (which then lead to replacement), this is an important maintenance step that is best not overlooked. Central heating inhibitor is sold by the bottle and costs between $40 and $100.

Warranty Coverage

Depending on the age of the old radiator and the reason it is being replaced, some or all of the replacement may be covered by the manufacturer’s warranty. Most brands offer a warranty of 1 to 3 years, while high-end brands may offer up to a 10-year warranty. Electric radiators tend to come with a longer warranty than plumbed units.

Unlike manufacturers’ warranties and home insurance policies, home warranties provide coverage for normal wear and tear to heating systems. Those who have a home warranty from one of the best home warranty companies like American Home Shield or AFC Home Club will want to check their policies to see if they have coverage for home radiator replacement costs.

Radiator Replacement Cost

Replacement Costs by Type of Radiator

There are a few different ways of distributing heat in a radiator system. Depending on how a radiator is powered, a replacement cost may fall into a price range unique to the radiator type. The following are three common radiator systems used to heat homes and the ways their unique qualities affect pricing.

Radiator TypeAverage Cost (Materials Only)
Electric$200 to $1,500
Hot water$100 to $1,000
Steam$300 to $2,500


Electric radiators work just like central heating radiators, except they don’t utilize a network of plumbing to warm a home. Instead, they operate as stand-alone units and are filled with materials that heat up and transfer warmth to the surrounding area.

Electric radiators offer a variety of benefits. First, they offer 100 percent efficiency by converting every watt of electricity into usable heat. They also offer accurate temperature control and zoned heating. Installation is quick and easy, and maintenance is almost nonexistent. There are also zero carbon monoxide risks. Electric heaters are relatively affordable to replace, ranging from just $200 to $1,500 per unit.

Hot Water

Hot water radiator heating systems use hot water from a central boiler. Water continuously runs through them either through a loop in a one-pipe system or up and back down a two-pipe system. Hot water radiators can be freestanding or located in the baseboard. They require minimal maintenance and are generally less noisy than steam radiators, in addition to being more energy efficient. However, they don’t add humidity to the air, which can make it more difficult for a home to reach an ideal humidity level for health and comfort.

Hot water radiators are generally the most inexpensive type to replace. Homeowners can expect to pay between $100 and $1,000 for a new hot water radiator unit.

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Like hot water radiators, steam radiators also come in one- or two-pipe systems. Steam is created in a furnace and travels through the supply pipes and into the radiators. Steam radiators are available only in standing models and typically require more maintenance than other radiator types. They can also be noisy and less energy efficient than other types, though they do add humidity to a home’s air.

Steam radiators are more common in homes built before 1950. In fact, it’s rare for a new home to include a steam radiator system. However, when it comes to replacement, it’s typically easiest to replace an existing steam system with an upgraded model than change to a different type of radiator, which is why plenty of steam radiator systems are still in use today.

Steam radiators are the most expensive, costing as much as $2,500 per unit. However, savvy homeowners may be able to snag a model that meets their needs for as little as $300.

Do I need radiator replacement?

Routine maintenance is the best way to extend the lifespan of a radiator. Even with proper care, however, a radiator can begin to show signs of wear and tear over time. Eventually, a malfunction can leave the unit inoperative. The following are some common signs that it’s time to schedule radiator repair.

Internal Rust

When a home’s heating system involves water and steel, rust development over time is a natural occurrence. Performing routine maintenance, like flushing or treating the system with a corrosion inhibitor, can certainly help prevent rust, but once it’s present, it can be difficult to remedy. The main issue with rust is that when it develops, it’s only a matter of time before it begins to eat tiny holes in the radiator and cause leaks. If the rust is caught early, it’s possible to recondition a radiator, but if too much damage is done, a replacement is likely necessary.

Water Leaks

In most types of radiators, water leaks are often caused by age, corrosion, or cracks. Ignoring a radiator leak is strongly discouraged, as it will only get worse with time, and this can happen very quickly. A leaking radiator can cause water damage to floors and even lead to mold growth on nearby walls. A radiator’s material can help determine the diagnosis. A copper radiator will never rust, so a leak is most likely the result of a loose fitting that can be repaired or replaced. But a cast-iron radiator that is leaking is likely rusting internally, leading to holes in the radiator that cannot be repaired. In this scenario, a replacement is the only way to stop the leaks.

Frequent Repair Needs

Whenever an appliance in a home is undergoing frequent repairs, homeowners will want to consider a replacement. This is true for radiators as well. Homeowners can learn how to bleed a radiator or adjust radiator valves to maintain their radiator unit on their own. But if homeowners are constantly paying for someone to fix radiator noises or other issues, it could be time to replace the unit entirely. If the radiator replacement cost is the concern, homeowners will want to consider how much repairs and services are adding up. In some cases, replacement can end up being the more cost-effective option.

Increased Heating Needs

Whether due to a renovation, addition, or poor design, sometimes a home’s current heating system cannot keep up with residents’ heating needs. Some radiators just aren’t big enough to supply the heat a room or space needs. If this is the case, the only real option is to replace the current radiator with a larger model (though purchasing one of the best space heaters can be a temporary solution). Since larger radiators feature a bigger heat-emitting surface area, they can deliver much more heat than smaller units. Homeowners considering an upgrade in size will benefit from keeping in mind that if a radiator is too big for a space, it will not only cut into a room’s living area but also emit too much heat. Having a professional come out and evaluate a space can provide a homeowner with an accurate suggestion for a radiator size.

Radiator Upgrade

For many homeowners, replacing an old radiator with a newer model is more about style than functionality. For example, replacing radiators with baseboard heat is more about getting a certain look that freestanding radiators can’t provide. Homeowners have more choices than ever when it comes to radiator styles. Some radiators are even designed to look more like wall art than a heating apparatus, with a flat-panel design that blends right into everyday decor. While replacing with a like-for-like model can keep labor costs down, this is the perfect opportunity for an upgrade in size if possible. A professional can make sure that a radiator upgrade meets both the style and functional needs of a home while avoiding the high cost to replace radiator heat with forced air.

Radiator Replacement: DIY vs. Hiring a Professional 

If a homeowner knows how to replace a radiator, they may be capable of completing the project themselves. With a bit of plumbing experience, the right tools, and a bit of instruction, it’s certainly not impossible for someone to DIY a radiator replacement. But that doesn’t make it the best decision. This is because bringing minimal experience and knowledge to the project can result in mistakes or even injury. Also, simple plumbing mistakes or carpentry mishaps can have expensive do-over pricing that can quickly raise DIY replacement costs.

While there are single-pipe hot water boiler systems that can be easily replaced with an identical unit, more complicated systems require plumbing experience and, in some cases, carpentry knowledge as well. DIY replacement can also be more difficult if a new radiator style is being installed. For example, switching from a cast-iron floor radiator to a modern wall unit can require additional plumbing and carpentry work.

Changing out a radiator can be done DIY-style with the correct tools and proper precautions. But because it’s not the most expensive home project, it’s often more beneficial to leave it to a pro, especially since a radiator is a crucial part of a home’s operational system. An experienced contractor or a technician from one of the best plumbing services like Mr. Rooter or Roto-Rooter can ensure a radiator is replaced quickly, safely, and cost-effectively.

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Radiator Replacement Cost

How to Save Money on Radiator Replacement Cost

The cost to replace a radiator can be hard to pinpoint. With so many variables to consider, there’s always the chance that a replacement project may go over budget. To improve the likelihood of an affordable radiator replacement cost, homeowners will want to keep the following money-saving tips in mind.

  • Repair instead of replace. While this may not always be an option, choosing to repair a radiator over replacing it can save quite a bit of cash upfront. Repair should be considered only if the unit is young and not expected to require multiple additional or repeated repairs in the near future.
  • Choose a like-for-like replacement. This means finding a radiator unit that’s the same size and type as the old unit. Finding an exact match avoids the need for lifting floor boards to access pipework or dealing with pipe dimension changes, all which come with additional labor and material costs.
  • Keep up with routine maintenance. The best way to save money on a radiator replacement is to avoid it in the first place. With proper care, a radiator can last decades, so it’s wise to keep up with regular examinations for leaks or cracks in the pipes, annual bleeding of hot water heaters, and routine air vent cleaning.
  • Get multiple replacement quotes. Hiring the first or cheapest radiator contractor can result in an inadequate replacement. Reach out to multiple contractors, and compare quotes based on experience and value rather than price alone.
  • Spend more now to save more later. If a replacement is inevitable, it can be wise to consider an energy-efficient unit over a standard model. While it will cost more up front, an energy-efficient radiator can save on heating costs over the years and essentially pay for itself over time. Radiators are incredibly efficient heating systems as is, so take the time to crunch the numbers before assuming which model will save in the long run.

If the radiator replacement is urgent but it isn’t possible to pay for this project outright, homeowners can choose from several payment and financing options. For those who have built up an emergency fund, this may be a worthy reason to dip into savings. Another option is to take out a personal loan or one of the best home improvement loans. For those with good credit, many lenders will approve loan applications relatively quickly. However, if radiator replacement is not the only project being done or multiple units are being replaced, it may be necessary to tap into the home’s equity to receive sufficient funds. In this case, it may be worth looking into the best home equity loans from lenders such as U.S. Bank or Flagstar. One of the best HELOC lenders, such as Bank of America, may also be a suitable choice.

Questions to Ask About Radiator Replacement

Radiator replacement is a home project best left to a professional, but finding a contractor who fits the bill—especially when time is of the essence during a cold snap—can be an overwhelming process. Homeowners can use the following list of questions to help narrow down a list of potential candidates.

  • Are you a licensed and insured contractor?
  • How much experience do you have working on and replacing radiators?
  • Are you familiar with working on historic homes?*
  • Do I need to repair or replace my radiator?
  • Is radiator heat the best option for my home?
  • Do you provide free quotes, and if so, what’s included in the quoted price?
  • Do you complete the work yourself, with a team, or through subcontractors?
  • How is your crew trained?
  • Do you have access to wholesale pricing for parts or new units?
  • How long until the replacement can start?
  • How long does it take to replace a radiator?
  • Do you recommend repairing or replacing anything else, like the boiler?
  • Do you anticipate any challenges or issues with this replacement that could extend the timeline or push the project over budget?
  • What type of maintenance routine do you recommend to increase the lifespan of my new radiator?
  • Do you offer any warranties or guarantees on the replacement unit or your work?
  • What’s your typical payment schedule?
  • How do I handle any potential issues after the replacement is complete?

* Many older homes feature radiator systems, which may require unique experience that not all contractors may have.


Replacing a radiator may not be the most exciting home improvement project, but for the functionality and safety of a home, it’s a necessity. The average radiator replacement cost has a wide range, falling somewhere between $100 and $2,500. For the homeowner nervous about what the final price tag may look like when replacing a radiator, the following FAQs may help.

Q. Should I repair my radiator, or should I replace it?

When homeowners are deciding whether to repair or replace a radiator, the main factors to consider are cost and age of the unit. If a repair cost is high for an older unit, replacing it may make more financial sense, but if a unit is fairly new, repairing it can be more affordable and possibly extend its lifespan. As a rule of thumb, replacement may be practical if repair costs are expected to exceed $1,000.

Q. Are broken radiators dangerous?

Whenever a radiator is not functioning properly, homeowners and family members should steer clear until a professional can examine the unit. Because of the heated metal and hot steam, it doesn’t take much for an injury (and, in very rare cases, death) to take place.

Q. How long do radiators last?

Radiators have long lifespans. A traditional cast-iron hot water radiator can last for several decades. If properly maintained, this type of unit can even last for more than a century. Modern electric units tend to last for around 20 years. The best way to extend the lifespan of a radiator is to keep up on routine maintenance.

Q. How do I check if my radiator is working?

The most obvious sign that a radiator isn’t working is the radiator not heating up despite the thermostat being turned up. If a homeowner notices that the radiator doesn’t seem to be performing properly, they can check the boiler to make sure it’s at the right setting. They can also check the heat pump or look for signs of air in the system. Seized valves and low water pressure are other issues to check for if a radiator isn’t working.

Q. When replacing a radiator, what else should be replaced?

In most cases, a new boiler will need to be installed when a homeowner is replacing a radiator system. Boilers can cost anywhere from $580 to $12,000, with labor running an additional $1,500 to $2,500. However, some boilers can be repaired instead of replaced. This has a cost range of $200 to $600.

Q. Can I replace my radiator myself?

Replacing a radiator is a job best left to the professionals. While radiators are incredibly safe overall, especially compared to other heating appliances, there is a lot that goes into understanding the operations of a radiator. To prevent injury or error, a homeowner should not replace their own radiator and should instead call a technician for assistance.

Sources: Angi, Fixr, HomeGuide