The average cost to replace a radiator is $1,500
Radiator replacement costs anywhere from $100 to $2,500 per unit or $1,500 on average, with cost factors boiling down to the capacity, type of unit, and labor. Even the most durable radiator can go on the fritz, turning your home into an icebox come winter. Here’s everything you need to know about radiator replacement costs to make the best decision for your home—and wallet.
|Low End||Average Cost||High End|
How Much Does It Cost to Replace a Radiator?
The cost to replace a radiator unit varies depending on the type of radiator, the material, the style, the size, labor costs, and whether you need a new boiler.
Type of Radiator
The type of radiator you choose plays one of the most prominent roles in the total price tag. Steam radiators fall on the highest point in the price range, while hot water radiators come in towards the lower end of the price range. Here’s a breakdown of the different types of radiators.
Hot Water Radiators
Hot water radiators range from $100 to $1,000 per unit. The large price range comes down to the size you’ll need, the amount of piping, and if you can retrofit your new heater’s piping with the old piping. If you don’t have piping installed, this will hike up the price toward the high end. You can choose either a one-pipe or two-pipe system. Two-pipe systems come in toward the upper price range while one-pipe systems fall on the lower end.
The price for an electric radiator ranges from $200 to $1,500 per unit. These units tend to be easier to install, as they generally just need an electrician to install and connect the wiring and thermostat. So, you might pay less in labor compared to steam radiators, which are more complex.
Steam radiators come in at the highest price point, ranging from $300 to $2,500 per unit. This is due to the number of pipes and valves needed to install the system. As with hot water radiators, steam radiators can come in one-pipe or two-pipe systems. Single-pipe steam radiators fall towards the lower end of the price range, while systems with two pipes cost the most. However, you’ll have a more efficient unit with a longer lifespan if you choose a two-pipe system.
Your radiator’s material also impacts the price, costing anywhere from $200 to $1,000. Conventional cast iron radiators generally cost less than stainless steel radiator systems.
Cast iron radiators: $200–$700
Stainless steel: $400–$1,000
Radiators come in an assortment of styles, with prices ranging from as little as $65 to as much as $1,500. Here’s a breakdown of the different price ranges by style.
|Radiator Style||Cost Range|
|Baseboard||$65 – $1,000|
|Single-panel||$80 – $300|
|Flat-panel||$80 – $300|
|Freestanding||$200 – $1,200|
|Column||$200 – $1,200|
|Towel rail||$200 – $1,200|
|Dual-panel||$300 – $1,500|
The cost of baseboard radiators ranges from $65 to $1,000 per heater. Hydronic baseboard radiators are slightly lower in price than electric baseboard radiators. Baseboard radiators don’t come in a steam option.
You’ll pay between $80 and $300 for single-panel radiators, with electric panels falling in the $80- to $150-range and plumbed radiators coming in a little more—between $100 and $300.
The price of a flat-panel radiator falls between $80 and $300. Hydronic flat-panel radiators cost between $100 and $300, while electric ones average between $80 and $150.
A freestanding radiator costs between $200 and $1,200 on average. Freestanding radiators that use a plumbing system are significantly lower in price, coming in on the $200- to $500-range compared to $300 to $1,200 for an electric freestanding radiator.
You’ll spend between $200 and $1,200 per column radiator. Plumbed radiators come in a little lower on the price range than electric columns at $200 to $1,000 and $300 to $1,200, respectively.
Towel Rail Radiators
This type of radiator heats—you guessed it—towels. It can also heat clothes or fabrics. You’ll spend between $200 and $1,200 for a hot water or convection heated towel rail, depending on the size.
A dual-panel radiator contains double the fins of a single-panel radiator and heats rooms more effectively than a single-panel. As such, it comes in higher on the price range, between $300 and $1,500. Plumbed dual-panel systems cost between $300 and $500 on average, while electric dual-panel radiators cost anywhere from $300 to $1,500.
The size of your radiator impacts the total price, with larger homes needing more radiators than smaller homes. Calculating the cost of a radiator by size depends on many factors, so here’s a breakdown of the costs by room size, BTUs, and watts.
Cost by Area in the Home
On average, adding radiators to three standard-sized rooms requires 10 to 15 radiators, which costs between $15,000 and $22,500. Most homeowners opt for heating key areas of their homes with a radiator rather than their whole house.
Below is a chart to help you calculate the number of radiators you’ll need to effectively heat areas of your home.
|Room||Number of Radiators||Total Price Range|
|Living room||5||$500 – $12,500|
|Dining room||5||$500 – $12,500|
|Kitchen||3||$300 – $7,500|
|Bedroom||4||$400 – $10,000|
|Bathroom||1||$100 – $2,500|
|Office space||3||$300 – $7,500|
Cost by BTUs
Calculating the right size radiator is a little on the complicated side— different types of radiators use different units to determine the correct size. Plumbed radiators, like hot water and steam radiators, use the British thermal unit (BTU) to indicate their heating capacities. Here’s how to determine the right-sized unit for systems using BTUs.
|Plumbed Radiator Size (BTUs)||Price Range Per Unit|
|3,000 BTUs||$200 – $350|
|5,000 BTUs||$350 – $500|
|7,000 BTUs||$500 – $700|
|10,000 BTUs||$600 – $1,000|
|12,000 BTUs||$600 – $1,200|
Cost by Watts
Electric radiators use watts to determine the correct sizing for your home. Here’s a breakdown of new electric radiator costs by watts.
|Electric Radiator Size (watts)||Price Range Per Unit|
|400 Watts||$100 – $500|
|600 Watts||$300 – $700|
|800 Watts||$600 – $1,000|
|1,000 Watts||$900 – $1,500|
HVAC labor costs to install a radiator typically range between $100 and $150 per hour. Because installing a new radiator can be a complicated process, it requires the skills of an HVAC specialist.
New Boiler Costs
If you’re installing a new radiator system or need to replace your current system completely, you’ll potentially have to purchase a new boiler as well. Boilers range from $580 on the low end to $12,000 on the high end.
Boiler Installation Costs
Labor costs to install a boiler typically range between $1,500 and $2,500, depending on where you live. If you choose to fix your boiler instead of replacing it, the cost to hire a boiler installer near you to repair a boiler can range between $200 and $600.
Cost to Install a Radiator Yourself
Plumbed and electric radiator systems require the expertise of a professional to do the job correctly. Unless you have experience installing radiators, you shouldn’t attempt to DIY it. If you do have experience, you’d only have to pay for the cost of the radiator itself. So your cost will vary based on the number of radiators you need, as well as the style and material. You’ll likely pay between $65 on the lowest end to DIY, and $1,500 on the high end.
Cost to Install It Yourself vs. Hiring a Contractor
You’ll save between $100 and $800 on installation costs if you install a radiator yourself. Plumbed radiators take around three to four hours to install, while electric units take around two to three. You’ll end up spending anywhere from $200 to $800 to have a pro install a plumbed system and $100 to $600 to install an electric radiator.
Again, it’s best to leave the installation to the pros. An HVAC technician near you has the skills needed to handle the potentially hazardous installation.
Replacing vs. Repairing a Radiator
Most radiators last at least eight years. If your radiator is only a few years old, you should consider repairing it instead of replacing the entire unit. The cost to repair a radiator is between $100 and $500, which saves you $1,000 to $1,400 if the cost to replace your unit is the average price of $1,500.
Here are the most common radiator repair problems and their estimated costs.
Bleeding the Radiator
If your radiator feels cold at the top and warm at the bottom, you may need to bleed the radiator. This costs around $100 to $200.
Sloping the Radiator
If your radiator makes banging or loud gurgling sounds while running, it may have the wrong slope. Radiators should slope at an angle. You might be able to fix this issue with a simple 1/4-inch wood plank, which will cost you just a few dollars.
If you notice water leaking around the radiator, there may be a valve leak at hand. While some leaks are as simple as tightening the nuts with a wrench, others require a pro to come in and identify the source. This will cost anywhere from $150 to $600.
A clogged radiator costs between $200 and $450 to repair. If your radiator has debris built up inside it, you may notice it won’t heat fully. If it’s too corroded, you’ll need to replace the unit entirely.
If your radiator becomes cracked, you’ll need to chip in $175 to $400 to repair it. If the radiator’s crack causes a large leak, your pro may recommend investing in a new radiator.
Frequently Asked Questions
Fixing a radiator is worth it because it costs less than fully replacing it. Sometimes, a little troubleshooting can go a long way. The issue could be as simple as a blown fuse, a malfunctioning thermostat, or a loose valve. Plus, your daily life wouldn’t be too comfortable without a functioning radiator. If you’ve tried troubleshooting your radiator system, however, you may want to invest in a brand-new radiator.
A home radiator works by using radiation and convection to transfer heat throughout your home. Electric radiators use metal to conduct heat and warm the air, which then rises to warm the room. Steam and hot water radiators work with a boiler and piping system to pump thermal energy throughout the home. Hot water radiators use a boiler to heat the water before circulating it to the radiator, while steam heating radiator systems convert the heated water to steam before circulating it out. When the water or steam cools, it travels back to the boiler to be heated again.
A home radiator lasts anywhere from 15 to 20 years with proper maintenance. If your unit is approaching the 15-year mark, it’s a good idea to inspect your system and consider upgrading the radiator to a new one. Older models are less efficient over time compared to newer, energy-efficient radiators.