Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Bunny Suits vs. Hercules. Who Will Win that Battle?

Last week was pretty exciting, we said goodbye to Hercules.  Hercules is a 1200 pound boiler by Sears Roebuck that started life burning coal in the basement (more about that later) and then got upgraded to oil at some point in its history.  Getting Hercules up the steps and out of the basement is truly a Herculean task, so we needed professional help.  Because you see, we could also see bits of asbestos around the edges and knew it needed to be properly disposed of.

Wait, wait, you say.  Didn't you already do asbestos remediation in the house?  Why yes, yes we did.  On week one of the project, we learned that the flooring in the kitchen and back bedroom had asbestos, So we had a remediation team come in and remove it.

And then you say, wouldn't it have been simpler and cheaper to have it all done at once??  Why yes, yes it would have been.  BUT, we needed Hercules to keep the house warm until the gas boiler could be installed.'s a much more expensive proposition, but we're doing it right.

And doing it right is a big undertaking.  The team from Safe Environmental Solutions arrived and got to work.  First step, installing the decontamination chamber and containment unit next to Hercules.

The area was walled off from the rest of the house, with a special negative air machine that ensures any nasty fibers released in the containment chamber stay there due to the lower air pressure.

Once they started pulling Hercules apart (dressed in bunny suits and respirators of course), the real fun started.  To leave the chamber, everyone enters the dirty unit to remove the bunny suit, enters the shower unit to wash down and then the clean chamber to get dressed again (oh and they have special waterproof cell phone cases that have to be washed down too!)!!

And what did they find? Well just pulling it apart was an adventure.  They had to constantly spray the asbestos with a surfactant infused water (they call it 'wetter water' - catchy name, don't you think?) to keep it from becoming 'friable' - the term for the fibers becoming airborne.  And separating the different chambers was a big task.  This thing has been a single unit for 90 years and it didn't want to come apart.

They were shocked at the amount of asbestos.  The entire unit was wrapped in asbestos blocks, with additional asbestos between each chamber.

It was the most asbestos in one boiler any of them had ever seen - and they do this all the time!!  In addition, they discovered lots of coal soot, which meant they were covered with both white and black sludge.  Thank heavens the bunny suits are tough!
Solid blocks of asbestos
Once they're done, the air purifier runs for awhile and then a 3rd party tester comes in to do air sample tests.  We came out clean as a whistle - so they could pull the whole thing down.  Elapsed time was 3 days, so a big job!

Now we can start making that basement a bit prettier!  Stay tuned for updates! Pin It


  1. OMG! You must have nerves of steel. What a Major undertaking.

  2. Ok, remind me to run if I ever see one of those things. Good lesson.

  3. I just simply adore your style and your ambition to turn old homes into small, cozy dream dwellings! I cannot thank you enough for sharing your talent and gifts with us! One day, I hope to purchase an old, small house to fix up.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...