the saga of the tank.

21Mar11

While it seems like it’s impossible for anything to go slower than our renovation project, the reality is that there’s one thing slower: my telling of the saga in blog form. Therefore, I return to the story of the solar thermal system (thereby reminding myself yet again how much bloody work we’ve put into this place).  As I mentioned in an earlier post, we purchased a used stainless steel tank for this project. Getting this tank into place in our basement was a feat in itself.

After a generous amount of time moldering away in the field behind the house of our friend, Kent, it was resurrected and brought to our property where it sat on the back porch for quite a while, waiting for rehabilitation.

Here is Luke, hanging out inside the tank.  Those of you related to Luke on the Dutton side may note that this photo has a rather Cebah-like air about it. Or at least it seems that way to me… though Cebah would likely have a more mischievous look in her eye if she were peeking out of the top of a huge steel tank.  Perhaps the photo above just sort of reminds me of the one below, taken in June 2008:

Anyway, we had this stainless tank sitting around on our back porch for a while. Luke installed all the fittings, and then filled it with water before we lowered it into the basement.  Since our basement lacks a floor drain, and is lower than the sewer, we would have been less-than-thrilled if we had gotten it down there and found that it leaked.  And since he had a large-ish body of water in his own backyard, Luke chose to take a little dip.  Don’t ask me why.  It didn’t last very long, as our water comes out of the tap very very cold.

After satisfying ourselves that the tank wouldn’t leak, we commenced cutting a hole in the floor of our mudroom to get the tank into the basement.  The current method of getting into the basement involves a poorly-built stairway which will not allow admission to an extremely large and heavy tank.  So, in our relentless pursuit to leave no piece of this property unchanged, we brought out the sawzall.

Eventually, we plan to demolish the current stair down to the basement, and turn this into a trap door/ steep stair combo.  This is unfortunate, as I am not a big fan of trap doors, having grown up in a house with a trap door that was always extremely inconvenient.  However, we’re not awash in choices on this one, and I worked really hard to try to find a location where it wouldn’t interrupt the circulation in the house too much, and wouldn’t constantly be in the way. We’ll see.  For the moment, we’ve got a big hole in the floor which, as it happens, is only very slightly larger than our tank.

After framing the opening, Luke’s cousin, Dave, very generously built us a special low-profile dolly to move the tank around on.  This was a necessary annoyance because the ceiling in the basement is rather low– too low to allow the tank to be moved around on our regular dolly.  You can see the dolly (below), under the tank. (Incidentally, it was made out of some high-quality casters that were rescued from the dump, and freed from the obnoxious steel contraption that could only be described as a student welding project gone-awry.)

Then, sometime last fall, when my parents were visiting, we decided to give them a little thrill and “let” them help us get the tank into the basement.  We removed the (temporarily installed) back door,  wheeled the tank into the mudroom, and maneuvered it near the hole (which was covered with a sheet of plywood).

Luke hooked a chain-fall to the nearest rafter, and my Dad helped him test it out. We got a strap around the tank, and hung it over the hole.

We removed the plywood and lowered the tank into the hole.

The tank makes its way into the basement. The low-profile dolly is on the floor, ready to receive its tank.

We discover that the wood spacer used to keep the top edges of the tank spread apart is too long to fit through the hole, so Luke cuts it off, while my Mom looks worried.

The tank disappears into the basement.

So there you have it.  An afternoon spent moving extremely heavy things, without anyone throwing out their back or getting a hernia. Next up: the mechanical room work.



One Response to “the saga of the tank.”

  1. 1 buzzardroost

    Scrap Dolly! You can’t buy that in a store.


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