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Susan and I ordered a pellet stove in July, figuring on the most expensive heating oil ever this winter. While that’s looking less likely to be true, we still have a pellet stove coming this month, and part of the installation involved the removal of a cast iron steam radiator that sat where the pellet stove ultimately will. We had a plumber disconnect it a couple of months ago, but we’ve been waffling about what to do with it until recently. We decided to save it for the day when the house is sold in case the new owners want to install it in one of the rooms rather than selling it off to a scrap dealer. The only problems were it was too heavy for Susan and I to move, and the basement stairs were rickety to the point where we were afraid anyone trying to cart it into the basement would end up going through the stairs with it.
The first problem was easy enough to solve: we hired a moving company. The second problem we put me on, though I’m no carpenter. We picked up about 40′ of 2×4 on Saturday, and I spent the afternoon bracing the staircase. The end result looks a bit ramshackle, but the stairs are definitely sturdier than they were.
Our plan when the movers arrived was to have them slide the radiator into the basement on a skid plate, using a rope to control the descent, because while the stairs were much stronger structurally after my bracing them, some of the individual steps are still pretty rickety. The movers came, took a look at our plan, seemed to agree with us, then appeared around the corner with the radiator in hand and lumbered down the stairs before Susan and I could say boo about it. I sort of quietly freaked. I was sure they were going to plunge through, but all went well in the end, me at the top of the stairs like a nervous nellie encouraging them not to step in the center of the stairs. Now I think we could have gotten away with me doing absolutely nothing, but oh well. At least the stairs will be stronger when someone is looking to cart that radiator back up out of the basement.