No, this won’t be live because it’s impossible to operate a pipe wrench and take a photo without doing grave bodily harm. It’s hard simply to operate the pipe wrench.
Fortunately, destruction is the goal, here in phase one, which we’ll call OPERATION DEE-FEE: I’m determined to get rid of 3000-4000 pounds of iron (Fe) that for decades have manufactured and distributed steam to heat my 1918 home.
First task is to re-home three of these cute covers. One of them fit one of a client’s radiators. Two of them are still on my front porch.
Now it’s time to detach the radiators from the iron pipes that feed them under the floor. The massive pipe wrench showed promise at first but most of the giant nuts were stuck tight, and would not budge. One did. It was satisfying.
Then my husband informed me that they make Sawzall blades that cut metal. The pace picked up markedly. My friend Mikey got involved. We’ve both been working through some heavy emotional baggage, and I must say, the Sawzall has extreme therapeutic value. The blades (“bi-metal,” with a high “teeth per inch” rating) are $20 a package, but that’s a fraction of what I pay to see my psychiatrist.
We got so carried away that I took no pictures. But imagine Mikey in the fetal position on the floor, growling obscenities, and muscling that Sawzall blade through an iron pipe. He’s wearing safety glasses, because bits of white-hot metal fly everywhere.
We descend below-decks, and attack the steam pipes. They criss-cross the basement ceiling, and meet in a massive octopus tangle at the (dead) boiler. One blade, in our amateur and shaking hands, can gnash about 500 pounds of Fe into sections that we can haul out of the basement. Performed correctly, your work should look like this. Note that three of the five blades snapped at the base; one is MIA completely. In hindsight, it’s remarkable that we did not accidentally Sawzall the following: a gas line; a water line; an electric wire; each other.
Left to my own devices, I maneuvered the smallest of my radiators onto a blanket and dragged them out of the house. The tide of pride was running strong in my veins until these guys came to haul away the Fe pile. Big Mike (green shirt) picked up the small radiators and carried them to the truck as though they were little puppies. They used a dolly and a crane for the big ones and for the dead boiler.
And that was that. I waved goodbye to the age of steam heat. One hundred years those radiators served this house. And they went down fighting.
Tune in next week for the actual installation of the heat pumps.
And for OPERATION HOLE PLUG. You’ll often see these steam scars in old houses, plugged in various ways, with varying aesthetic results. The floor has been refinished around the radiator feet, which will add to the challenge.
CALL KENNY AND MIKE for all your heavy metal needs: