Archive for the 'Radiators' Category

The Great Radiator Reef

Sunday, September 26th, 2004

Our radiators look like they haven’t been cleaned in 30 years. In fact, there’s a good chance that they haven’t been cleaned in 50 years. Cleaning radiators this dirty is a four step process:

  • M. Sweeps under radiator and removes any large items (i.e. non-dust/dirt). M. Grabs a large shopping bag for this–what I’m sure is total overkill for the job at hand.
  • I don a particle mask and safety glasses and blow all the dust out of the radiators using the Shop Vac (in reverse).
  • M. Sweeps dirt and dust into small pile
  • I vacuum up small piles with Shop Vac (not in reverse).

Turns out that the large shopping bag was appropriately sized for the job at hand. M. discovered enough toys for us to open our own daycare center. She also found keys, a fake plant, half a dozen cat toys, a resume, a cough drop (stuck to the floor-ew ew ew) and a few pennies.

I managed to blow hundreds of golf-ball sized dust bunnies out of the radiators themselves, and I even found remnants of the green shag carpet that graced the floors downstairs for who-knows how many years.

In the living room I found a phone cord that went nowhere (Snip-snip gone) along with a pair of wires that had been cut in the basement (thank goodness–they were AC power wires that were cased in nothing but paper), but apparently used to provide juice to the outlets in the sun room. Snip-snip gone. Then on to the old doorbell wires. Snip-snip gone. Makes me kind of wish I had a holster for my diagonal cutters.

A Brief History Lesson

Friday, September 24th, 2004

One of my good friends from college (well, I went to school with her husband) came over tonight at our invitation to take a look at the house and give us any insights into its history. J. is getting a masters degree in architecture, and we were hoping that she could both tell us a little about the house and brainstorm about some of the things we can do to make good use of our spaces.

J. was pretty excited about the house, but wanted to see the basement first. Now our basement is pretty weird. The front half of it is concrete block–something extremely unusual for an old home. Architect pointed out that the concrete blocks (half-thickness) aren’t actually load-bearing, but instead, they sit in front of the foundation, and the block wall that divides the basement in two has no supports whatsoever. She noted that a good swift kick could probably knock half of the wall over. So the basement is actually encased in concrete block as opposed to “made of concrete block.” This is good news as far as I’m concerned, because I want to rip the block out at some point anyway (although it’s pretty darned low on the priority list at the moment).

Next, she pointed out that our house, while a brick house on the outside, is not entirely brick, but it’s actually a frame house with brick facing.

Oh, and our radiators, which are hot water (as opposed to the typical steam heat), are not original, but were likely installed in the 30’s or 40’s. Radiators from our house’s era (it was built in 1912) were ornate and decorative since they were out in the open. These radiators are plain and were always meant to have radiator covers on them.