From the Forum – Removing Radiators and Smelling Trash from Fort Totten Transfer Station

Photo by PoPville flickr user dullshick

Temporarily removing 100 yr old cast iron radiators:

“I need to paint behind my 100 yr old radiators as well as fix some cracking plaster. Is this something i should attempt on my own or would i be better off getting a plumber?”

Any smell from Fort Totten Transfer Station?

“Greetings all – We are considering buying in the Pleasant Hill area, immediately north of Catholic U and west of Brookland. Some have told us that the smell from the transfer station can get pretty intense, while others have said you’ll never notice it.

Does Popville have any current residents who can share their experiences, good and bad, as near neighbors of the dump? Thanks!”

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11 Comment

  • We live south of Michigan, and on certain summer days if the combination of trash volume waiting to be transferred and wind are just right there can be a steady stench that kind of permeates the area. It’s definitely noticeable.

  • If you’re just disconnecting the radiators to move them and then later reconnect you should be able to do it yourself if you know how to use a large pipe wrench. However, if your shut-off valves are also 100 years old (as mine were until this fall), I’d recommend disconnecting them yourself and then calling a plumber (Stevens does a good job) to replace the valve and reconnect them. You’ll be guaranteed a proper re-installation and you’ll have better functioning shut-off valves!

  • Let’s just say they call it Fort Rotten for a reason!

  • If you’re asking whether the job of disconnecting/reconnecting the radiators is doable, then I think you should call a plumber.

    With the right knowledge, it’s a very easy job but like another commented, you might have to replace some parts that have deteriorated with age. Also, radiators are HEAVY. You’ll need handtrucks/moving dolleys/lots of muscle to move them.

  • We live a few houses north of Riggs and we’ve never smelled the transfer station (knock on wood).

  • We live in Fort Totten (just north of Pleasant Hill). I would say that we can faintly smell trash a few times a year in the early morning. Doesn’t really bother me because it’s rare and not at all overpowering.

  • I live in that neighborhood and have never smelled anything coming from the transfer station. However, I don’t like the fact that the liquor store on Hawaii Ave has been robbed by armed thugs twice in the last month with no arrests. You can see the videos on MPD’s YouTube page. Other than that, I haven’t had any issues.

    On a related note, I think the neighborhood really is one of the true hidden gems in the city. It’s between Brookland and Petworth but prices are more than $100K less than either of those two. You can take the H8 to connect to other parts of the city or take a beautiful 15-20 min walk through CUA’s campus to the metro. And with all the stuff opening up in Brookland this year, it’s even more of a good deal. Of course, it’s a small area, so homes don’t go on sale that often.

  • We have radiators and have followed instructions online to remove them for major renovations – you have to do things in order, but it’s doable by someone fairly handy. For general painting behind them (or wallpaper removal in our case), I’m not sure I’d bother though. They’re old so you’ll never know what surprises you might find – you’ll never even notice what’s behind there. Plus they weigh a tonne.

    Something to consider – if you’ve insulated the walls and have double glazed windows, ask yourself if you even need all of them. We insulated our walls and added underfloor heating (dead easy) when renovating our kitchen and bathroom, so did away with the radiators in those rooms completely. We’ve never missed them and have gained a significant amount of flexible space in the process.

  • gotryit

    Disconnecting and reconnecting radiators is definitely possible (even replacing the valves), but there’s a bit of a learning curve. So, I’d recommend trying it if you’re handy, strong, and can afford to make several mistakes. Also, you need really big pipe wrenches.

  • RE: Radiators. I would love to restore the 3 radiators in my apartment. Does anyone know how much that costs? Mine are rusted and currently enclosed in shoddy built-ins. I’d like to restore the radiators and reclaim square-footage in my apartment but I have no idea if its a $2,000 job or a $20,000 job.


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