A Castle in the Sky

In March 2013, after years of talking about it we eventually sell up and move out of the city with our 2 year old, Gracie. We both grew up in the countryside and this is what we want for our daughter. So we swap a 2 bed flat in London for a small country pile on the west coast of Scotland that needs a lot of work. I've done a bit of interior design and my partner, Ed has a good knowledge of the outdoors – but we're on a tight budget and we've both got a lot to learn. It's a life time's project and this is a record of our adventure…

Adding up radiators (Jul 16)

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We have a mishmash of radiators here and as part of our heating overhaul we’ve worked out that some of them (all the ones from the 50’s) have either no impact because they’re not big enough or they’re rusty and leaking.  We need to replace just over a dozen.

However the handful of Victorian cast iron ‘column’ radiators we have, work well and look lovely.  So our plan is to get more – as cheaply as possible.

Working out what sizes we need has involved a mind-blowing set of sums;    I’ve had to work out the heat output (in kilowatts) we need in each room based on the room’s dimensions.   I’ve then had to deduct the heat supplied by any existing radiators to establish what’s missing.   All my kilowatt figures then have to be converted to old fashioned BTU’s – as this how the heat output is measured in old cast iron radiators.  Once I know what heat output I need I then have to find the right size of radiator with the right dimensions so that it will fit into the space (often under a window). At this point my eyes are squinting as there’s a number of options depending on how the columns in each radiator are arranged  –  from tall and thin to short and fat…Much like the 2 different plumbers who reneged on doing the calculations for me.

It’s all going to be worth it though as I’ve worked out that reconditioned salvage is going to cost us at least half the price of new (a whole other set of calculations) – and hunting around for them is obviously much more fun.

So I’ve been scouring ebay, gumtree and the local flea markets and I even found a farmer nearby who sells stuff that’s been thrown out of old farmhouses.  I’ve found 4 on our list this way.  But the most obvious place is salvage yards and as there are two near here we headed over today with my copious notes in hand.


Several hours later and I’d ticked off another 8.   So we’re nearly there.  They will all need to be sent off to be pressure tested, sandblasted and painted (colour still to choose) and given that this is a 6 week turn around (with a round trip to Edinburgh) they should arrive in time to coincide with the installation of the new boiler…

Surely this can’t all go to plan….


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