15 September 2012

Painting: radiators again

It turns out that painting a radiator without taking it down off the wall isn't that hard to do at all. I finally got back to the one I had primed back in July (was it June?) and finished painting it yesterday. I didn't use a special brush, but just a couple of small ones that would fit easily between the ribs of the radiator.

I'll be the first to admit that this one was easy mostly because I painted it exactly the same color as the wall it hangs on, using exactly the same paint. So I didn't have to worry about getting paint on the wall behind the radiator. And I was painting it basically the same color it already was, so if the brush missed a few spots inside the radiator, nobody will ever notice.

That's a map of San Francisco, where we used to live, on the wall above the radiator.

And the fact is that it needs another coat of paint, as I can see when I examine it closely. I'll give it one, and then I'll move on to painting at least three other radiators in the house that really need "refreshing." If I get one more done before we have to turn the heat on, I'll be pleased with myself.

Yesterday, Walt started cutting firewood for the winter. As he does his lumberjack thing, I'll play the role of house painter. I wonder how many of you who read this blog live in a house or apartment that uses radiators for heat. Dites-moi tout...


  1. You could have underfloor like us.... but then you would have to destroy that wonderful mosaic... and that would be a shame.
    We will have radiators over in the longere [supplied from above, though, so as not to destroy the floors... and it will be cheaper and easier, too.]

  2. As you know, no radiators here. But good for you for taking on the project. Happy it is going well.

  3. We have cast iron radiators, for the most part.
    Underfloor is rare in France. They installed it in public housing projects in the 60s, but for some reason, it was deemed unhealthy. Something to do with blood circulation. Since then, there has been a plethora of reruns of UK home remodeling programs, so all of a sudden, underfloor heating has become all the rage.
    Most recent (since the 70s) housing has electric radiators because EDF made it very cheap to install and use. Past tense is important because electricity is no longer cheap to use, especially in poorly insulted homes. If you have a fuel or gas heating system (coal is long gone), then you have radiators. Of course, fuel is not cheap, either these days, nor is gas.
    Our house was built in 1927. It started out with coal, then they switched to fuel, and when we bought it in 1984, we switched to gas. We chose gas, because it was cheaper than fuel and you don't run out of it. We were also afraid of electricity strikes, which still occurred in the 80s.

  4. I like the heat that the radiators produce. But I don't like burning fuel oil. Don't know what to do about it though.

    Cheryl, I put another coat of paint on that radiator this morning. In person, it looks a lot better. In a photo, it would look the same. Next: the ugly bathroom radiator.

  5. We got radiators with a Chaudiere that is hooked onto city gas.
    I had the plumber come out this week to let all the air out and give them a test run after all the renovations over the summer. All went fine.

    This will be our first fall and winter season in Jarnac. We are set in case of another cold spell.

  6. We don't have piped-in gas, so LPG is about our only alternative to fuel oil. Or maybe we could burn wood pellets. Don't know where we would store them though.

    No more cold spells like that last one, please.

  7. We had big cast iron radiators in our 1907 house in the city (that we just sold last February, after it was in Elliot's family since the 1920s). Our boiler was gas-heated, fortunately. The radiator heat was great, but a little difficult to regulate, and our old boiler was expensive because it was pretty inefficient.

  8. We have radiators with thermostat knobs so they can be regulated separately in each room all hooked up to a gas-boiler/hot water system which draws from the citerne which is buried out in the garden.
    Filled it up in August last year & think we'll need to re-fill this Nov/Dec. [we also cook on gas]
    Mostly we use a woodburner for heat though and only used the radiators to "top up" like during the cold spell last winter.

  9. Judy, did you two ever paint the radiators in that house? I'm starting on another one now. The ones I painted before were ones I took down off the wall. Now I'm trying to paint them in place.

    Hi Ellen, have you ever repainted your radiators? I know what you mean about fuel oil, especially when there's no gauge to tell you how much is left in the tank. We have to open it up and stick a long wooden pole down into it to see what the depth is. Right now, with the US dollar plummeting agan, heating oil will be even more expensive for us.

  10. Hi A and N, we also burn a lot of wood, but we usually turn the heat on every morning. At one point, somebody (a boiler maintenance man?) asked us how much fuel oil we burn in a season. When we told him, he said that wasn't possible — we couldn't heat a house this size on that little bit of oil. But then we told him about burning wood. Our upstairs radiators have thermostatic knobs, but not the old ones downstairs. Hasn't been a problem for us though.

  11. No radiators here, I have ceiling heat (not especially efficient but that's what was popular back in the 70's).

    At least I don't have to paint radiators! Yours look nice and refreshed.

  12. No radiateurs .
    Forced air using heat pump.

  13. Are heat pumps an option in France then? or are you somewhere else?

  14. I keep hearing about heat pumps (pompe à chaleur) here in France, but no we don't have one. I don't know how it would work, anyway, because there are no ducts in the house for forced air heat or AC.

  15. Ken,
    Just so long as I can rest my behind on them when it's cold outside, I don't care if they're painted or not! :)

  16. Cheryl, you might get the seat of your pants dirty on some of them!

  17. Ken, the heat pumps you are hearing about are connected to the hot water, not forced air. Provided you can get the pipework for the heat exchange into the ground, you can get a grant against tax for the material [but not the work] In a garden as attractive as yours, the answer would be to go straight down.
    But, be warned. There is no tax rebate on the air/eau though as it has proved too inefficient.

    The wood pellet method is fine... but you need a room roughly the size of a bureau to house the silo for the pellets [same for plaquettes]; we went Logs. But with all three, there is a need to get rid of the ash each clean out... despite the efficiency of burn, there is still ash! And the garden, especially on limey soil, can only take so much!

    And none of the options are cheap!! Our set up for both buildings from one boiler cost more than 20K€s... but we got 4K€ back! [23.5% of the material... including pipework, etc.]

    Cheapest option is a solar hot water panel to augment what you have... outlay around 3K€s... works well in winter, supplying about a third of its normal output on a sunny day.

  18. We have water filled radiators and a oil fuelled boiler. Since we don't visit between October and April we have to drain the system down in October and refill when we arrive for Easter.

    Tim now has this job down to a fine art, so t isn't too bothersome.


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