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Tips on disassembling Arcola boiler.

We're radiant contractors in San Francisco area, home to quite a few hundred year old Arcola cast iron boilers. We have one to replace but its at the top of three flights of rickety stairs. Getting it down looks like danger. I've never tried to separate the sections on one of these and it doesn't look easy, but it might save lives. Anyone done it and do you have advice as to how to do so. There's no space between sections to get a pry bar in. Is a sledgehammer breakup the only way? Thanks...Bill


  • vaporvac
    vaporvac Member Posts: 1,520
    I used a sledghammer between sections and let them fall on an old tire. It worked beautifully. Colleen
    Two-pipe Trane vaporvacuum system; 1466 edr
    Twinned, staged Slantfin TR50s piped into 4" header with Riello G400 burners; 240K lead, 200K lag Btus. Controlled by Taco Relay and Honeywell RTH6580WF
  • Mark Eatherton
    Mark Eatherton Member Posts: 5,837

    Long time no see!

    If it is a sectional boiler (think loaves of sliced bread), use a wood splitting wedge and a sledge, and it will separate the sections off of the push nipples. As Colleen pointed out, you want to give it someplace soft to land (I used 3/4" plywood over a rubber tire). Stay clear as they start to fall, cause they have gravity on their side, and they won't wait for you to get out of the way.

    If its' the old solid fuel type (3 section barrel type), a sledge hammer AND a jack hammer and some good ear muffs and face shields will be your best friends. The tube section is a combination of steel and cast iron and can only be broken down so far. Use the jack hammer to establish a fault line on the cast iron, following the same line back and forth and back and forth, keeping the chisel moving at the line at all times..

    When it starts sounding dull or hollow, as opposed to a crisper bell sound, it's nearing its breaking point. Grab the sledge, and give it a couple of whacks and it should fall apart. Again, use tires to catch the big pieces as the turn into smaller pieces.

    I'd also hire a moving company to get the pieces down the stairs, and save your back for humping the new one up the stairs. If they screw up, they have insurance.

    If it were in the basement and was originally gravity, and it had a Honeywell #1 Heat Generator on it, be careful because there is mercury either in the #1, or possibly in the expansion tank, and YOU are responsible for its proper removal/recovery/disposal.

    Call me some time (RPA). Love to catch up with you.

    It's not so much a case of "You got what you paid for", as it is a matter of "You DIDN'T get what you DIDN'T pay for, and you're NOT going to get what you thought you were in the way of comfort". Borrowed from Heatboy.
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    I know you are in California.

    In New England where I worked, there were people that would come and take the boiler for the scrap. You might still have to pay them, but they provide their own manpower and the equipment to remove it. There might be some company that does it.
  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    How much of it is plate steel? A plasma cutter will make short work of that stuff.
  • Bill Clinton_6
    Bill Clinton_6 Member Posts: 35
    Thanks, all. We gonna give it hell...Bill
  • billtwocase
    billtwocase Member Posts: 2,385
    I am assuming by Arcola you mean American Standard Arcoliner? I would watch for asbestos that was use to seal between the sections on those. Like others said, it's like a loaf of bread. Hammer and chisel where the push nipples are located will do the trick.