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The big score

FranklinD
FranklinD Member Posts: 399
Well, last November I posted on The Wall about a store here in my city that is condemned and being torn down. I had contacted the guy who was in charge of auctioning off various things in the building about some of the radiators (there are probably 30-40 total -- 3 buildings all connected to each other, 1 large boiler). I was told I could bid on them but that they were "worth thousands of dollars since they're so rare and unique". Oh well, worth a shot.

Fast forward to now. I met the building owner through a mutual friend, and it turns out that he is a 'radiator nut' like me! I just returned from spending 2 hours with him, carefully making our way through all the rooms and looking at each radiator. He told me that I could take whatever I want except for a few that he wants for his collection.

So, I brought home a nice 42" 3 column 4 section plain arco (matches the ones in my house), and an 11 section 42" that is more ornate. Tomorrow I will go back and meet him to load up a 23 section 2 column 42" for my large basement room. Perfect for 120* water.

I've been looking and looking locally for 3 years now and haven't found anything, unless it was listed for hundreds of dollars. My new friend just doesn't want to see them scrapped, and I feel the same way. Today was a great day for me! I'll post more pics tomorrow.

- Andy
Ford Master Technician, "Tinkerer of Terror"
Police & Fire Equipment Lead Mechanic, NW WI
Lover of Old Homes & Gravity Hot Water Systems
GreenGeneNew England SteamWorksSteve Minnich

Comments

  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 15,033
    Yes you did score! Hard to beat the price. maybe the rest of them will find a new home also.
    Any exotics? Circular, pantry, cabinet style?
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
    FranklinD
  • FranklinD
    FranklinD Member Posts: 399
    There was a pantry style with 3 "shelves" that was heavily damaged unfortunately. Part of the building was used for a police substation back in the 30's and 40's....and someone ran out with the door left open at 20 below zero and several of the radiators froze and cracked (this is the story I was told).

    Otherwise it seems to be a mix of standard 3 column round-top ARCO's and very ornate scrolled-top units (also ARCO?), but a whole lot of different sizes, from 22" to 42" tall and 4 sections wide to 24 sections. Also several thin-tube (6 tubes deep) that were added in the 40's or 50's. Grand total across all 3 'buildings' is at least 47 radiators, with more in areas upstairs that we don't dare tread -- the roof over part of the place has been leaking for 20 years and the hardwood floors look like hills and valleys over the joists.

    I'll be heading back today for another load of radiators, I'll try to snap some more pictures. I can't believe this place...12' ceilings in the apartments on the second floor, transom windows above every 9' tall door, and the plasterwork that survived the leaky roof (not much) is amazing.

    The owner stuck half a million in this building over the last 10 years trying to bring it up to code, but the city engineer decided it would need a whole new foundation (after all the other work was done) and it's just not feasible. There was some underhanded-ness in how it all happened...this city is not kind to historical buildings. It's a shame.
    Ford Master Technician, "Tinkerer of Terror"
    Police & Fire Equipment Lead Mechanic, NW WI
    Lover of Old Homes & Gravity Hot Water Systems
  • Solid_Fuel_Man
    Solid_Fuel_Man Member Posts: 2,307
    Wow, nice score indeed. I was just in a 1920s doctor's house that has been condemned. All Arco rads but not a single one I found had not split open what a shame...

    SFM
    Serving Northern Maine HVAC & Controls. I burn wood, it smells good!
    FranklinD
  • FranklinD
    FranklinD Member Posts: 399
    So far I've been lucky. They actually kept the building heated all last winter and the owner just drained the system 2 weeks ago so he knows they all held water (and of course I'll be doing pressure testing before I start the refinishing process). Considering the -20 temps we usually get for a few weeks every winter and the likely sparse insulation in the walls and ceilings, he's probably lucky he didn't lose any recently.
    Ford Master Technician, "Tinkerer of Terror"
    Police & Fire Equipment Lead Mechanic, NW WI
    Lover of Old Homes & Gravity Hot Water Systems
  • FranklinD
    FranklinD Member Posts: 399
    Went through the last part of the building today... There are five 38" tall 3 column 20 section ornate ARCO's that the owner wants me to take. 2 are sunken through the floorboards and resting on the floor joists...they will be a challenge. At least they're all on the first floor.

    Any advice for moving big radiators?
    Ford Master Technician, "Tinkerer of Terror"
    Police & Fire Equipment Lead Mechanic, NW WI
    Lover of Old Homes & Gravity Hot Water Systems
  • FranklinD
    FranklinD Member Posts: 399
    The only bummer there is that the floors are... Well, REALLY awful. It's been raining in this building for almost 20 years on and off, and everything is pretty spongey. The big 20 section rads will have to travel at least 15 feet and at most 60 feet through the building on these bad floors. The door through which they'll have to be removed has a sill that is now 18" above the sunken floor boards, though the owner suggested cutting it down to ground level with a chainsaw if I wanted to. Hmm.

    The two in the storefront area are perched on a ledge above an 18' drop straight down into the cellar...as long as we can move it straight back we should be alright, but the missing floor in that spot eliminates the possibility of using the front door which opens right out to the concrete sidewalk and street. That was disappointing to realize.

    I'll let you know how it goes down...plan is to attack it on Tuesday evening with 5 guys and some welded-up cart contraptions complete with hydraulic jacks for lifting. Should be interesting at the least.

    - Andy
    Ford Master Technician, "Tinkerer of Terror"
    Police & Fire Equipment Lead Mechanic, NW WI
    Lover of Old Homes & Gravity Hot Water Systems
  • Solid_Fuel_Man
    Solid_Fuel_Man Member Posts: 2,307
    Sheets of plywood/Osb are your friends here so as not to have dolly wheels or worse fall through. I've also found some 3/4 black pipe to be helpful as it can be slid between the sections and have a guy at each side of the radiator to lift. Saves on back pain some. Rebar also works well if the pipe won't fit.

    I use 1/2 Rachel extensions wrapped generously with electrical/duct tape to set the radiators in place. Two pieces between the sections, makes 4 lifting points. How I got my Arco's and WM radiators upstairs.

    SFM
    Serving Northern Maine HVAC & Controls. I burn wood, it smells good!
  • Gordo
    Gordo Member Posts: 764
    edited July 2016
    @Solid_Fuel_Man
    Please, what are "Rachel extensions"? Do you have a picture?

    I would use proper plywood and not osb if there are any "inconsistencies" in the flooring. Our experiences with moving heavy loads using osb and dollies over uneven spaces with hollows underneath have not been pleasant.

    Osb has its place in carefully controlled conditions/new construction. From what the OP is describing, this isn't it.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/all-steamed-up-inc

  • Often wrong, never in doubt.
  • FranklinD
    FranklinD Member Posts: 399
    Yep, no osb for me. 3/4 plywood if nothing else. There is a *slight* chance that when the demo starts, I can get the excavator operator to knock a few openings and lift a few of the rads out with straps...and deposit them right onto a trailer.

    That would be best case scenario.
    Ford Master Technician, "Tinkerer of Terror"
    Police & Fire Equipment Lead Mechanic, NW WI
    Lover of Old Homes & Gravity Hot Water Systems
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,974

    FranklinD said:

    Went through the last part of the building today... There are five 38" tall 3 column 20 section ornate ARCO's that the owner wants me to take. 2 are sunken through the floorboards and resting on the floor joists...they will be a challenge. At least they're all on the first floor.



    Any advice for moving big radiators?

    8' 2x4 for leverage to lift. A small dolly beneath each end.

    May need some 1/2" plywood for floor protection and/or ramps.

    2 x 8's or 2 x 10's as ramps for the truck.
    Personally, I'd only recommend using 2x10 scaffold planks.
    They cost more, but are far safer in applications such as this.

    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 8,949
    V-belts have saved many backaches for me. The long ones that a rider mower use, even used they still have a lot of strength left.

    Loop under legs at four points and you have a handle about waist high. If leg won't lift to get under, then loop belt thru itself around the leg. Have helped move 1000 gal dairy tanks in and out of barns etc. FWIW
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,974

    ChrisJ said:

    FranklinD said:

    Went through the last part of the building today... There are five 38" tall 3 column 20 section ornate ARCO's that the owner wants me to take. 2 are sunken through the floorboards and resting on the floor joists...they will be a challenge. At least they're all on the first floor.



    Any advice for moving big radiators?

    8' 2x4 for leverage to lift. A small dolly beneath each end.

    May need some 1/2" plywood for floor protection and/or ramps.

    2 x 8's or 2 x 10's as ramps for the truck.
    Personally, I'd only recommend using 2x10 scaffold planks.
    They cost more, but are far safer in applications such as this.

    I never told you about the time I loaded the Starfire IV into the back of the van, by myself, using a hand truck on a pair of 2" x 10's?

    Yep, that was a bit ridiculous and dangerous.

    We were doing the install the next day and I had nothing better around................and no help.
    My dad taught me to always keep some scaffold planks on hand.
    They don't snap without warning like a normal 2x10.


    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,974

    ChrisJ said:

    ChrisJ said:

    FranklinD said:

    Went through the last part of the building today... There are five 38" tall 3 column 20 section ornate ARCO's that the owner wants me to take. 2 are sunken through the floorboards and resting on the floor joists...they will be a challenge. At least they're all on the first floor.



    Any advice for moving big radiators?

    8' 2x4 for leverage to lift. A small dolly beneath each end.

    May need some 1/2" plywood for floor protection and/or ramps.

    2 x 8's or 2 x 10's as ramps for the truck.
    Personally, I'd only recommend using 2x10 scaffold planks.
    They cost more, but are far safer in applications such as this.

    I never told you about the time I loaded the Starfire IV into the back of the van, by myself, using a hand truck on a pair of 2" x 10's?

    Yep, that was a bit ridiculous and dangerous.

    We were doing the install the next day and I had nothing better around................and no help.
    My dad taught me to always keep some scaffold planks on hand.
    They don't snap without warning like a normal 2x10.


    I had no fear of the 2 x 10's snapping. The problem was the load (about 350 lb) causing bending and the bending wasn't symmetrical side to side due to the position of the boiler on the hand truck. I also had to push it uphill while walking between the two planks. Really wasn't a good situation.
    Once again.
    A proper, Southern Yellow Pine OSHA certified scaffold plank would have also sagged much less than a typical 2x10. Southern Yellow Pine is a hardwood.

    You could have ended up in the hospital.

    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,228
    When I was a bit younger we had a good salvage yard in town. Boat owners would go there for any timbers they needed to block up boats for winter storage.

    They had full 3X12 old growth hemlock joists that came from the old 19th century mills. That was like iron and you could get it dirt cheap.

    Bob
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 8,949
    Hat, worse yet, you could have cracked the radiator.....that is what Chris really meant but didn't want to say. >:)
    ChrisJSteve Minnich
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,974
    JUGHNE said:

    Hat, worse yet, you could have cracked the radiator.....that is what Chris really meant but didn't want to say. >:)

    In this case, yes. :)

    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • FranklinD
    FranklinD Member Posts: 399
    Update: unfortunately, I'm going to have to pass on the majority of the radiators. Lack of storage space on my end is a factor, although that could be overcome. Sort of.

    What it comes down to is a lack of time and help. Despite the promise of copious amounts of cold beer and future car repairs I have been unable to line up enough help within the next two days to get them out before the place is boarded and padlocked until demolition.

    It all ended up being terrible timing...we had a storm late last week that produced 100mph straight-line winds that took down hundreds of trees, fences, and power poles. There are many areas here that aren't predicted to get power back until Thursday at the earliest (7 days later), and cleanup has been ongoing...still trying to wrangle a truck and trailer but it's not looking good. So I'm down to what I can haul in the 'ol family truckster (minivan).

    I'm happy with what I have and the other 3 that I know will fit in the van. I'll grab those tomorrow night: two 2-column arcos, one is 23 sections and the other is 12, and then one more modern 6 thin-tube 8 section (not sure on the manufacturer).

    On the upside, I pressure-tested the two I already picked up and they passed no problem. Thank goodness. Time to start stripping some paint.

    I'll post some pictures as I progress...maybe someone will come through and I'll be able to nab a few of the bigger ones too.

    I knew I never should've sold my old bomber pickup truck...but I won't tell my wife "I told you so". Ha.

    - Andy
    Ford Master Technician, "Tinkerer of Terror"
    Police & Fire Equipment Lead Mechanic, NW WI
    Lover of Old Homes & Gravity Hot Water Systems
  • FranklinD
    FranklinD Member Posts: 399
    Cripes these things are heavy! Like I need to remind any of you. Ha.

    Anyway, while waiting for the opportunity to get back into the building for the 2 column rads, I stripped paint on my new bathroom radiator. The outer coats came of rather easily with some Zinsser paint spray-on stripper and a putty knife.

    The very first coat, though...it did not want to let go of the cast. I ended up hauling the rad to work and hit it with our industrial power washer set at a temp just shy of making steam. That seemed to work very well. I also took the opportunity to flush out the inside...surprisingly, not much of anything came out.

    Sandpaper, steel wool, and little brass wire brushes got 90% of the rest of the paint off of the edges and interior. After another quick bath (with "stripper wash" - a product I can't help but giggle at) and then soapy water and air dry, I used a Rustoleum "ultimate adhesion" primer. I decided to paint it the same way I did my current bathroom radiator, as two years later it still looks like the day I sprayed it.

    The detailing on the bottom, around the spuds, say "Peerless". It's interesting to me that I can see the casting defects left by the molds on each section, like little tiny dots in 6 places on each side. Anyway...it's coming along! The first coat of primer is on and dry.

    Andy
    Ford Master Technician, "Tinkerer of Terror"
    Police & Fire Equipment Lead Mechanic, NW WI
    Lover of Old Homes & Gravity Hot Water Systems
    SWEICanuckerNew England SteamWorks
  • FranklinD
    FranklinD Member Posts: 399
    Managed to lug out one of the two column radiators...holy crap it was way heavier than I expected, even for a tall 16 section. It'll work perfectly for my basement. Assuming I can get it down there without killing myself.
    Ford Master Technician, "Tinkerer of Terror"
    Police & Fire Equipment Lead Mechanic, NW WI
    Lover of Old Homes & Gravity Hot Water Systems
    Canucker
  • FranklinD
    FranklinD Member Posts: 399
    So if my chart is correct, the 2 column is approximately 80 EDR. This one should be perfect for my large basement 'office' that I'm slowly working on. Last winter I added 2.5" foam board to the block foundation walls and tied it (thermally) to the underside of the first floor by sealing and insulating all around the sill plates and joist ends. Even with my typically low average water temps in the winter, it should make a sizable dent in the chilly-ness down there. Now I just have to refinish it and get it down the steps. Ugh. I had it on pressure test for the last 4 days and it passed no problem. Thank goodness. I'd hate to think all that effort to move it was wasted.

    On another note, I'm finally finished with my little 20 EDR bathroom radiator. I went with a gloss coating on it, as I did when I painted the current bathroom radiator, since it seems like it helps all the loose hair and dust slide right thru to the floor underneath. Just waiting for a 3/4 union elbow and a 3/4 valve with union to arrive so I can install it.


    Andy
    Ford Master Technician, "Tinkerer of Terror"
    Police & Fire Equipment Lead Mechanic, NW WI
    Lover of Old Homes & Gravity Hot Water Systems
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,518
    Very nice!
  • Solid_Fuel_Man
    Solid_Fuel_Man Member Posts: 2,307
    Love the American iron!
    Serving Northern Maine HVAC & Controls. I burn wood, it smells good!