Saturday, January 15, 2005

Cat-Proofing the Radiator: Your Advice Needed

As I mentioned in an earlier post, the boys have found a new place to explore, a very dangerous place: next to the radiator. As you can see in the picture at right, our radiator is covered by a nice wood structure. However, the structure leaves a little extra space between the radiator and the wall (see the yellow arrow).

Here's a blow up of the area in question:

The boys don't touch the radiator itself because it's hot, but they are digging into the crevice shown above and back behind the radiator is a loose concrete wall. At the point where the radiator pipe emerges from the wall, the concrete is loose and the boys are able to rip pieces of concrete off and play with them. Because I live in an apartment building, I am not allowed to mess with the radiator or that wall and I doubt I could get the super to do much about it (it's hard enough to get him to fix other things). This loose concrete has never been a problem until now and it's only a problem because the boys are going back there.

Obviously, I don't want the boys removing more concrete from the wall and breaking the wall or swallowing a piece of the concrete. What can we do to keep the boys out of the crevice? I'd love to put a thick book in the crevice as we've done with other crevices, but I'm afraid the hot radiator would set the book on fire. If I put a garbage can or other large object in front of the radiator cover, do you think it would be a fire hazard?


Anonymous said...

I would hire a handyman for the problem. Perhaps a piece of wood could be fitted in the space and painted to match the radiator cover.

Or perhaps something metal could be fitted around the pipe area and wall to prevent the boys from digging at the concrete?

Thumper said...

If all you need to is block one part of the area, get a brick or something similar that's non flammable. I doubt a book would go up in flames (Fahrenheit 451 and all that...) but better safe than sorry. Brick will stand up well to heat.

But if you ant to block off the whole thing, you can build, or have built, an addtion to the wood frame currently hiding the radiator. It needs to be well vented, I'd think, and moveable to allow access to the radiator, but it shouldn't be difficult. You could do it with some 1x1s and lattice.

Anonymous said...

It's hard to tell from the photo, but you can probably get a piece of tin or aluminum from a Home Depot-type place to fit whatever size the spot is (and they can do a cutout for around a pipe, if you need it). Try the plumbing or heating departments. But your cheapest alternative, depending on how well you can maneuver back there, is just some strategically placed aluminum foil attached to the wall with duct tape -- or maybe even just duct tape alone.