Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Beast

Last year when we first started looking for a bigger house to accommodate our quickly-growing family, we knew that our dream house was something old in the College Hill area. There was an open house just two blocks from our friends' place, and it was in our price range, so we thought that was an obvious place to start.

There were several problems with this house (just one example: we referred to it as "the Cat Pee House" during the rest of our house search), but we found the big deal-breaker in the basement:

The Beast

This thing scared the crap out of us. I didn't know anything about boilers or radiators or steam heat; all I saw was this ancient monstrosity that was sure to break down, or worse, blow up at any minute. The previous owner said that it was the original boiler, installed when the house was built. But we suspected that it was, in fact, older than the house. It was probably sitting there since the beginning of time in a largish hole that would eventually become a basement, and some clever developer in the early 1900s walked by and said, "Hey, let's build a house around that thing!"

In the end, through reading posts on the Old House Web forums and talking to people who have had steam heat, we realized that maybe the old boiler wasn't such a bad thing. Eventually, the steam heat went from a major drawback to one of our favorite features.

As far as I can tell from a little research, the size designation below means that it's a 28" round boiler, which (I think) means it puts out around 225,000 BTUs. I've been told that our house probably requires around 150,000 BTUs. We do love overkill.

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