We describe the practical implementation of the sideband search, a search for periodic gravitational waves from neutron stars in binary systems. The orbital motion of the source in its binary system causes frequency modulation in the combination of matched filters known as the F-statistic. The sideband search is based on the incoherent summation of these frequency-modulated F-statistic sidebands. It provides a new detection statistic for sources in binary systems, called the C-statistic. The search is well suited to low-mass x-ray binaries, the brightest of which, called Sco X-1, is an ideal target candidate. For sources like Sco X-1, with well-constrained orbital parameters, a slight variation on the search is possible. The extra orbital information can be used to approximately demodulate the data from the binary orbital motion in the coherent stage, before incoherently summing the now reduced number of sidebands. We investigate this approach and show that it improves the sensitivity of the standard Sco X-1 directed sideband search. Prior information on the neutron star inclination and gravitational wave polarization can also be used to improve upper limit sensitivity. We estimate the sensitivity of a Sco X-1 directed sideband search on ten days of LIGO data and show that it can beat previous upper limits in current LIGO data, with a possibility of constraining theoretical upper limits using future advanced instruments.