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What is the safest way to move a boiler down basement stairs?

Dairon421 Member Posts: 39
Just moved boiler down stairs and almost got crushed. The way we do it is with a strap on dolly. We strap the boiler to the dolly. Then we have one person on top to guide the boiler and two people on bottom so the boiler dont tilt all the way over when moving step by step. But the problem is i slip and nearly killed myself. Is their a better way or should i use a mover company?


    HVACNUT Member Posts: 3,920
    A heavy duty hand truck with stair runners, a rope if needed, and some strapping young men. The big ones get the electric hand truck.
  • mikeg2015
    mikeg2015 Member Posts: 1,178
    I used an appliance dolly and did it myself. But boiler was not mounted on the base so CG was low and it only weighed 400lbs. Stairs were less than a 45 degree angle so with friction of the cart tracks and wheels it was only lowering about 100lbs each step. It was an outside concrete stairs leading to baseman though.

    The key it to use you legs and have good footing and bracing.

    Ideally 3 people with a 4th with a rope as a spotter is probably the safest way
  • Zman
    Zman Member Posts: 6,585
    An electric stair dolly is the trick. In some areas, you can rent them for <$100 a day.
    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
  • nibs
    nibs Member Posts: 462
    For safetys sake take a look at the stairs, will they handle the weight of the gear. boiler and the boys and girls needed to manoever the boiler.
    kflorySteve Minnich
  • Dave0176
    Dave0176 Member Posts: 1,171
    We use an Escalara stair cat 1200 lb capacity 66” tall. Their pricy however it’s a one man job to bring a boiler down a flight of stairs.
    DL Mechanical LLC Heating, Cooling and Plumbing 732-266-5386
    NJ Master HVACR Lic# 4630
    Specializing in Steam Heating, Serving the residents of New Jersey

    I cannot force people to spend money, I can only suggest how to spend it wisely.......
  • delta T
    delta T Member Posts: 844
    When I was 19 I broke my ankle taking a boiler out of a basement when it slipped out the persons hands as I was on the bottom. I recommend stair climbing dollys ;)
  • SlamDunk
    SlamDunk Member Posts: 1,009
    edited November 2019
    I only did it once, with my wife, who is every bit of 5'2". At 5'8-1/2", I'm not much bigger or stronger.

    I strapped the boiler to an appliance hand truck. Erected a gantry at the top of the stairs with a chain hoist hooked to hand truck. attached second chain hoist to doubled up ceiling joist in basement hooked to the bottom of the cart.

    Wife worked top chain hoist while I work the bottom.

    The 500 lb hunk of cast iron never touched a step. Neither of us broke a sweat or pulled a muscle. We did it with external cabinet attached and didnt even scratch it.
    MilanDvibert_cdelta TEdTheHeaterMan
  • psb75
    psb75 Member Posts: 369
    I pulled a Tarm woodboiler out of my parent's house by calling a tow truck. He could pull right up to the front door and got his boom in the front door. Cable down the basement stairs. Planks on stairs. Best idea and $120 I ever spent. Truck driver had fun with the challenge. Not many situations are configured for this solution.
  • delta T
    delta T Member Posts: 844
    @psb75 I had one similar to that recently, ordered a burnham IN12 in sections.....and they shipped me an assembled 850 lb block :s

    There were words.....however as there was a cold front 2 days out with -2 temps predicted.....we decided to go with it.

    Got the block up and strapped to a dolly, moved it to the mechanical room door, and used a good Warn winch attached to a truck to lower down the stairs.

    assembled the base, got two engine hoists and some nylon straps, lifted the block up rolled it over the base, got it positioned and lowered one side fully, disconnected the strap, used another strap connected to a nipple in the skim port to just give us enough pressure to gently slide the strap out from under the block, repeated the process on the other side, and we were done.

    All in all, I think it took about as long to do that as it would have to assemble the block, but I had to call in a lot of favors to get it done. So all in all wasn't too bad, but boy was I angry when that thing showed up!
  • vibert_c
    vibert_c Member Posts: 68
    This is my preferred tool for the job as I live in the country away from tow trucks.

    [Search domain]

  • Voyager
    Voyager Member Posts: 265
    Heavy duty hand truck with stair treads and a block and tackle. A “come-a-long” ratchet winch works in place of block and tackle, but is much slower on a long flight of stairs.
  • psb75
    psb75 Member Posts: 369
    I also have used the Warn Pullz-all hand winch for placing and removing heavy stuff down planks on stairs. Its like an electric come-along only speedier. It has a 13' cable. Setting up a solid anchor point can be a challenge sometimes.
    It is critical to be aware of friction on surfaces OR the-lack-thereof! Using rollers, slippery plastic, or cardboard is--an "art form." Be safe!
  • Grallert
    Grallert Member Posts: 516
    edited November 2019
    I want to repeat what Jamie said. Never get under that load. That's a good way to get really hurt. If you are not practiced at using a mechanical dolly they can be just as dangerous as a loose boiler. In that case hire a moving contractor. Money well spent. Better safe than sorry.
  • wxfield
    wxfield Member Posts: 3
    When my Dad was towards the end of his career he hired a moving company that specialized in moving machine tools. He always said that he wished he had hired them much earlier in his career.
  • inthewind
    inthewind Member Posts: 2
    As a fitter I installed many a commercial packaged boiler, cast iron sectional boiler.Safest way to move it is to hire professional movers to move it in place and have it priced into the job.That way your insured you can enjoy going home to your loved ones, not injured and continue working in a well paid trade.And the company can be insured of no costly compensation claims!
  • pitman44
    pitman44 Member Posts: 18
    We bought a used electric stair climber. Worth its weight in gold. You need decent stairs though. We have had jobs where we required the homeowner have their stairs rebuilt before we started.
  • donaldmc
    donaldmc Member Posts: 34
    A few years ago we put in a MegaSteam in a basement with an old rickety stairway! I screwed some 2X10s on the face of the stairs and under both stringers. Slid the 800 pounds down the stairs with a block and tackle on a gantry braced at the top of the stairs.
    Moved the boiler to the back of the basement and on to a concrete platform using an automotive engine lift. It worked!
    To be safe, like everyone said, nobody should stand beneath the load!
  • Roger
    Roger Member Posts: 184
    One our dealers, Gregg of First Choice Installations in New Hampshire, uses a Track-O Twin-Track 66 to move boilers up and down stairs and on and off of trucks. Even though our boilers are low mass, it's looks like a low risk way to stay safe and productive for both installing and removing. Not trying to plug anything, I just liked this thread and thought I'd share...

    Energy Kinetics, Inc.
    rick in Alaska
  • mvickers
    mvickers Member Posts: 6
    edited November 2019
    Guys - Work smart, not hard or dangerous.
    $70 at Harbor Freight, $49.99 on membership sale for a 2500lb, 12vdc winch w/remote. Strapped dolly, 3/4" plywood or not on the stairs, or just ply & slide with winch
  • On my Christmas list-I want one!!--NBC

  • FCI
    FCI Member Posts: 1
    Been running my tracko for the last 12 years. Its the only way to move boilers. Have done many 8+ section boilers in one piece with just the push of a button. Not only is it great on stairs but it also will climb up the biggest hills in customers yards and it also loads the boiler into the box truck with ease. It is also unstoppable in the snow 2+ feet not a problem. I once even used it to pull my box truck out of a ditch in a snow storm. Escalera and other hand carts are toys compared to tracko. Worth every penny.
  • PRR
    PRR Member Posts: 41
    A friend got his ankle mangled taking something down a cellar, just before he planned to help me.

    Don't have anybody's body parts below the load!!

    Fortunately my 120lb scorched-air furnace I already got down my rebuilt stairs on a good hand-truck (something I used to do weekly with big speakers). So he just had to gimp around and work the wrenches.

    I had an oil tank taken out. I humped it out with help from a hoist in the joists. I rigged skids and rope handles. My friend knew two football players who comfortably walked it up the stairs (with adult supervision).
  • Danny_Jr
    Danny_Jr Member Posts: 6
    We use a two strap good grade appliance cart with stair runners. 4 men Two at the top two below. Heavy rope. One end tied to one handle The other end tied to the other handle Two guys at the top each grab a rope. Leaning the boiler back and start down the steps the two guys below control the descent until the cart is laid fully back on the steps. Now the two guys at the top are braced at the door frame. At this point all four guys can control the descent. Of course you need to make sure the steps can support the weight. We have braced more than one stair case. Removing the old boiler using the process in reverse is
    Dan Wood Jr.

    Remember, when you find yourself between a rock and a hard spot, that's where diamonds are made!
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 15,950
    Got to say, @Danny_Jr , I can't possibly recommend or endorse your procedure. Sorry about that. That object -- boiler or whatever -- on that cart, is a suspended load even though part of the weight is on the stairs or stair runners.

    Even if the OSHA regulations permitted it -- which they don't -- never, ever, have someone positioned below a suspended load.

    There is an additional caution which I neglected to mention above: also be quite certain if you are using a rope or suchlike with any stretch to it (even wire rope) that no one is standing in a location within the whip radius of the rope, should it break (anywhere along its length). This is much easier said than done in many situations, but it's worth at least trying to be safe and do it.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 9,104
    edited May 27
    Some times it is not possible to not be below the load. The twisting stairs etc. I have cut holes in plaster ceilings drilled a 1/2" hole through a joist large enough for a 1/4" or 3/8" wire rope to put a come along or chain fall on. Then patch ceiling . Too bad if the customer doesn't like it.

    Common sense. I have seen guys show up at a job and struggle with 3-4 guys to move a boiler because they just showed up, no come along, no planks no dollies etc, yet I have done the same job by myself or with 1 other helper if you do the planning.

    It's amazing how much weight you can move if set up right.

    Sometimes my planning was based on how many sections I had to move (commercial). If there was only maybe one you bring enough people and lug it in. If you have a lot of sections fewer people and set up rigging.

    Last big job was Smith 28s back section is around 900#. We had 42 sections to move for 8 boilers

    Every job is different, what works on one is NG on another
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 14,797
    It's amazing what one man can do when no one is watching :)
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
    GrallertCanuckerLarry Weingartenrick in Alaska
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,612
    Dave0176 said:

    We use an Escalara stair cat 1200 lb capacity 66” tall. Their pricy however it’s a one man job to bring a boiler down a flight of stairs.

    I just looked one up and compared to a hospital bill, or worse, funeral, it seems very cheap.

    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
    Larry Weingarten
  • retiredguy
    retiredguy Member Posts: 419
    Before I retired, I took the long drive to the job when Smith 28's were the boiler to be installed. Other than that the young guys wanted to do the job quickly but I always wanted to do it safely.
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 9,104

    Agree. Fast = someone gets hurt
  • Grallert
    Grallert Member Posts: 516
    I've moved boilers in and out of cellars in many different way. From sending them crashing through bulkhead stairs at one end of the spectrum to calling a mover at the other end. My favorite way is to call the mover. Maybe expensive but safe. I have a friend in the moving biz says he can take a white couch out of your house through the chimney and not get it dirty but it'll be a really expensive job.
  • dopey27177
    dopey27177 Member Posts: 540
    Many of the suggestions are good.
    I personally used an appliance had truck and placed 2 2x6" planks on the stairs and used a rope tied to the hand truck. The rope was secured to two studs at the wall above the stairs.
    Two men at the top holding the rope so the boiler would not decide to go it alone.
    Set the boiler and hand truck on the planks and let the load slide down the stairs slowly.

    Never did a boiler without help.

    A one man boiler drop is a sure way to get hurt.

  • HomerJSmith
    HomerJSmith Member Posts: 1,304
    As one who moved furniture, when going to college, I can tell you that you need a furniture dolly, sometimes called an appliance dolly. Sometimes they are not the same.

    A furniture dolly is made to go up & down stairs. Many hands make light work.

    I just used a furniture dolly last week to move a Burnham cast monolith out of a building, it was level with only a 6" drop out the patio door. Thank, God, I didn't have to go up stairs, I couldn't do it without a lot of help. It pays to have friends.
  • sunlight33
    sunlight33 Member Posts: 330
    Reminds me that video someone in rural India climbing a ladder with a car engine strapped to his back.
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 3,019
    edited May 28
    Let the wife do it!

    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 8,368
    edited May 28
    Paul, I have been meaning to say this since you first posted your install should change your Avatar on your postings.
    The first picture with the "helper" in it is much more pleasing than a PB sliding down planks....... :) We get to see boilers every day.
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 3,019
    :lol: She's not the helper, she's the boss!
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
    Erin Holohan Haskell
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 8,368
    Yes, I assumed that much.
    The boss should get top billing.
    The cropping came out good....kind of a pick a boo shot.
  • jad3675
    jad3675 Member Posts: 35
    Ugh. This remind me - I have a Dunkirk XEB-4 (300-ish lbs) that I need to get out of the basement. It's only a 5 step staircase, at least...

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