Sunday, October 4, 2015

House Post: Radiators Part Two

Previously, on part one: I sent two of my old steam radiators out to get sandblasted.

They came back, of course, two days before we had to leave for the wedding. I had dire warnings from everyone not to let them sit around - to get them painted ASAP, since they were cast iron and would rust immediately. Of course, it was damp and rainy outside. Sigh.

So I drove the truck the whole half-mile to the sandblaster and picked them up and got a few more pictures of the place at the same time. Typically, they sandblast tombstones. (The city we moved to bills itself as the "granite center of the world" and has several major quarries and dozens of granite sheds for all manner of granite products.)

Total price for sandblasting two radiators? $70. BARGAIN.

I fell in love with them immediately, oohing and aahing over the pretty bare metal that had been revealed. SO much better than the bland paint. The guy who did them said they should be much more efficient now, without the heat having to work through all that paint to get to the surface.

Of course, it was drizzly. And they had to get painted that night. So...on went the respirator and googles, open went all the windows in the weird back room, and then I put a fan in the window for the rest of the night to get the fumes out. It was not my best decision ever, I admit this. There is a fine silvery mist over many things in that room now and the chemical smell was unbearable for the rest of the night. It's a room that will be gutted this winter, so that's not a crisis, but still, dumb move.

Not a huge difference post-painting from the bare metal, which is a-okay by me! A bit lighter, a bit shinier. I used about 2.5 cans of spray paint. I'm not sure whether I could have used less or whether I needed more. I tried to get coverage without too much thickness.

The paint in question: Rustoleum's High Heat Enamel in Silver. It goes up to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, and is meant for grills and fireplaces. Hopefully the radiators will never get anywhere near that...


And finally, the reinstall: drumroll please.

Remember what it looked like before?


This was a bigger investment in time and muscle than it was in money. Moving these things was a complete pain in the ass, even once I invested in some moving straps to get them back in place. The straps made a tremendous difference, but it still sucked an awful lot. Especially the stairs.

Total cost was about $85, between the sandblasting and the paint. I also had to buy some thread sealant for $10, but it is a container that should last through all the rest of the radiators. I already had plumber's tape on hand. The moving straps were $20 but we will use them for nearly everything we haul from now on, so their investment for this project is minimal.

Worth every penny. I am so besotted with them. I don't want to say I can't wait for heating season, because wow am I not looking forward to those bills, but still, siiiiiiiiiigh. <3


  1. What are those nubbin/plug things the radiators are connected to? (I'm not familiar with radiators, they aren't especially common on the West Coast or in Australia)

    1. This is a steam radiator system, which means the furnace in the basement heats water to steam and then sends the steam through a system of pipes throughout the house, ending in the radiators. The large pipe you see them connected to - coming out of the floor - is where the steam enters and the condensed water drips back down. There's also a plug-like piece on the other side of that that's really hard to see in these pictures that is a steam regulator; it lets air out of the system or not according to how we've adjusted the regulator to account mostly for how far away from the furnace the radiator is.


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