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Apartment in NY-How to work the heat?

Posted by meginny (My Page) on
Sun, Oct 14, 07 at 15:31

I am a new resident of NY, originally from TX, and needless to say, using a heater was never a major ordeal down South. However, in my apartment there is a huge white thing (made of metal and has a valve attached that you can turn to either open or close.) I am assuming this is the heater!?! How do I work this thing? I am freezing!!!!!!!

Brrrr!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Apartment in NY-How to work the heat?

You may not be able to get any heat until the building maintenance people turn on the boiler. Or you could have a clogged air vent preventing operation.

It sounds like you have radiators. There is steam heat and there is water heat. Gravity systems and pump systems. One pipe systems and two pipe. You can Google for specific info about you heating system.

Can't you have your building owner or maintenance people explain the operation to you? Generally you just have to turn the knob all the way open and you will hear it hiss and clink. Heat should follow. If it gets too warm in your apartment turn off the unit. Don't regulate the heat in your apartment by opening and closing the windows while the heat is on - some people do this.

Tip: Don't ever keep plants on the radiators or one day when you are at work they will turn the on the heat for the building and you will come home to dead, baked plants. Don't ask me how I know this.


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RE: Apartment in NY-How to work the heat?

You have steam heat. That's a steam radiator.

it probably has two speeds: on, and off.

And the law tells apt. bldg owners when they should turn the heat on (when the temp is below X degrees for X number of hours, or after X date).

There is a time period every spring and every fall when that temperature requirement hasn't kicked in yet, nor has the date, and the heat isn't on, even when most of us would feel better if the heat WERE on.

You'll need a sweater or sweatshirt, and an extra blanket, for those times.

Then, in December, you can wear your tank tops inside again, LOL!

Heat must be supplied from October 1 through May 31, to tenants in multiple dwellings if: a) the outdoor temperature falls below 55 degrees Fahrenheit, between 6 A.M. and 10 P.M., each apartment must be heated to a temperature of at least 68 degrees Fahrenheit; (b) the outdoor temperature falls below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, between the hours of 10 P.M. and 6 A.M., each apartment must be heated to a temperature of at least 55 degrees Fahrenheit. (Multiple Dwelling Law 79)

http://www.oag.state.ny.us/realestate/habitability.html


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RE: Apartment in NY-How to work the heat?

. Don't regulate the heat in your apartment by opening and closing the windows while the heat is on - some people do this.

*I* do this. I don't know any other way, bcs most steam radiators, as I said, have two speeds--incredibly hot, or nothing.

If you have a thermostat, maybe there's a downside to opening the windows, but frankly, the landlord's heating system is going to put out whatever heat it DOES put out, without regard to whether my windows are open or not.

There ARE steam valves you can put on that will let you have "medium" on your radiator; you might ask your super about them.


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RE: Apartment in NY-How to work the heat?

". Don't regulate the heat in your apartment by opening and closing the windows while the heat is on - some people do this.

*I* do this. I don't know any other way, bcs most steam radiators, as I said, have two speeds--incredibly hot, or nothing."
c'mon people. Now days that Al-Gore got Nobel Prize for global warming awareness campains we shouldn't let the heat go out of the windows. Let's be good and don't behave as decades ago :-)

Here is a link that might be useful: Natural heritage of Ireland - http://irishpanorama.net/


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RE: Apartment in NY-How to work the heat?

If you are from TX you probably are not used to the cool Autumn air we have up here. Besides sweaters and longjohns you could purchase a space heater if you can afford to run up your electric bill. You may have to get one anyway as often times radiators in older building are not functioning properly. Your apartment may be at the 'end of the line' and won't get as hot as those closer to the boiler.

I can't tell from the little info in your post, that you have steam radiators rather than water radiators. I have no idea how TalleyNY was able to discern that from your post. (?)

There is a slight difference in how they are treated and maintained. If you have steam radiators you are lucky, as they do deliver more BTU's per hour than water radiators.

*If you have water radiators make sure that you bleed the radiators occasionaly. This should definately be done at the beginning of each heating season and then whenever you hear banging. Have the building maintenance either do it or show you. Other wise you will get LOUD clanking noises.

*Also make sure you have the valve turned all the way open or all the way closed or you will get loud noise if it is only open partially.

*Make sure the air vent is not clogged or you will not get proper heat. These are easy to replace, no tools needed.

*Having a humidifier in the apartment will make it seem warmer if the temp does not suit you.

*Turn the radiator off BEFORE it gets too hot in the apartment. They cool down sloooowly and you don't want to be roasting for hours or have to open the windows because you are going to faint from the heat.

*I found it best to run the radiator hot right until bedtime and them turn it off right before retiring. There will be enough heat to last through the night, until turning it on again in the morning. Otherwise if you leave it on all night, you will wake up in the middle of the night roasting and have to get up to turn it off. Keep it on right up until you go to bed, if you shut it off earlier you will usually have to get up in the middle of the night to turn it back on because you are freezing.

Here is a link that might be useful: Space Heater


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RE: Apartment in NY-How to work the heat?

LOL Ttomasso. Global warming is not from people letting heat go out the windows. ROTFL. It is the due to the breakdown of the protective ozone layer around the earth AND the build-up of industrial chemicals in the layers causing a greenhouse effect.

Read the quickie article linked.

Stop Spamming.

Here is a link that might be useful: Wiki article on Global Warming


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Geeeesh.

Heating an aparment to an uncomfortable level and then opening the windows to send the heat out is not the way to do it. If you lived in my building, driving up everbody's rent that way, including mine, I would certainly report you.

With radiators you have to turn them on for heat and turn them off when you don't want it. Its that simple. You don't keep them on all the time and use your windows to regulate the temperture. Geeesh.

Yes, radiators are a PITA but you have to take the time to get use to them and live with them. Eventually you get to "know" your radiator and can work with it. You develop a schedule for on/off operation.

As far as installing steam valves to regulate the heat, it is not all that simple. You have to retrofit and upgrade the whole system to get them to work, not just plop a thermostatic radiator valve on a radiator. They do work, and they do save money in the long run, but most landlords do want to make the expensive upgrades to the system to install them.

Here is a link that might be useful: Thermostatic Radiator Valve


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RE: Apartment in NY-How to work the heat?

Global warming is not from people letting heat go out the windows.

Not directly, but that heat is produced by burning fossil fuels which does contribute to global warming.


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RE: Apartment in NY-How to work the heat?

a huge white thing

This was my clue.

The only HOT WATER radiators I've ever seen were small, baseboard heaters.

And I've never seen them in a NYC apartment bldg. Nearly every NYC apartment bldg is steam heat.

If you lived in my building, driving up everbody's rent that way, including mine, I would certainly report you.

When I open my windows, I do NOT make the boiler in the basememt work harder.

There is NO THERMOSTAT in my apartment. to react to my open window. I have lived for 25 years in steam-heated NYC apartment buildings. The boiler is on; any thermostat that might control the boiler is in the basement, next to it. And in nearly every NYC apt. bldg, the steam heat is on very high, in order to get the top floors acceptable. This means the bottom floors are too hot.

Sure you might find that turning the valves on, and then off, and then on, and then off might regulate the heat--IF you are home to do it.

But opening the windows so you can breathe is not going to make the boiler in the basement of your NYC apt. bldg work harder.


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RE: Apartment in NY-How to work the heat?

Hot water heaters are not only small baseboard heaters.

The older hot water heaters look exactly like steam radiators to the average person. Here is a link I found that shows both up close. You have to examine them up close to see the difference. As I mentioned before if they are hot water they probabley need to be bled if you are not getting heat out of them. The photo shows how to do this. Or, if they are steam radiators a lack of heat from them could be a clogged air vent as I said. The original poster did not say when type she has and they have different maintenance issues. There are other things that can go wrong with radiators causing them to malfunction.

You may be right that nobody in NY has older hot water radiators. I have no idea about that. But, they are all over in other older cities.

Here is a link that might be useful: Radiator Maintenance


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How to work the heat.

"When I open my windows, I do NOT make the boiler in the basememt work harder."

Yes you do.

"But opening the windows so you can breathe is not going to make the boiler in the basement of your NYC apt. bldg work harder."

Yes, it will.

If you are drawing steam and cooling it down through the radiators, you are sending cold/cool water back to the boiler to be reheated to 300 degrees over and over. The burners have to keep firing to keep up with the increased load. There are all kinds of boilers patented with slight variations to their operation so there is no room here to post a detailed tutorial of every type of boiler operation.


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RE: Apartment in NY-How to work the heat?

Hmmmm. Another 'hit and run' poster who registers, posts and leaves all on the same day. I'm getting to the point that I don't even want to respond to someone unless they are an active long time user here.

If the quickie advice Meginny got in this thread did not fix the problem of 'no heat', there are lots of other things to check, like if the radiator needed a tilt. That can be done easily with a wedgie block of wood and a mallet.

Even a posted "Thanks guys" would have been nice.


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RE: Apartment in NY-How to work the heat?

Thank you -- this was all helpful for me. Although I live in Ohio and am also unfamiliar with heaters like these, I could use a few clarifications. My heaters are metal looking and encased in the wall with a cover over them, so I can't really see the whole thing. If I look up into it (there is a small opening at the bottom of the encasing), I can see pipes. Am I supposed to turn something in there to get them to turn on or do they just turn on by themselves? (There is one in every room.) Last week the apartment "ran the boiler" to check the heaters all day. So, from what you've said so far, that means I should be able to get heat right? Thank you for your help. I appreciate it and am very grateful for the time it takes you to help out another. Cheers!


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RE: Apartment in NY-How to work the heat?

The only thing you might turn yourself would be a wall thermostat - better to ask your landlord though, but I doubt very much you'd be expected to dig in behind the structure to make it work.


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RE: Apartment in NY-How to work the heat?

lucy--
it looks like a radiator but it is encased in the wall with a metal covering that has slots so you can see the radiator and then an opening at the bottom where you can see pipes. There is a knob on one of the pipes, but it is very difficult to turn and I don't want to break anything. Just thought I'd ask what the standard procedure is: do I turn it on or is it just piped in automatically?
Thanks


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RE: Apartment in NY-How to work the heat?

Like I said... ask the super!


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RE: Apartment in NY-How to work the heat?

ohioheat: I don't have an answer for you but there is a heating and air conditioning forum here, they can answer it it for you if you can't readily reach your landlord for some reason ;)


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RE: Apartment in NY-How to work the heat?

I had a similar problem this week in my East Village studio apartment. I also have a radiator type of apparatus that doesn't appear to be something I can control. I am guessing that these older buildings are all on one heating system and that we just have to deal with the settings of the master heating system and wait for them to turn it on. I got a small space heater at Home Depot to help warm things up a little if its colder than I like in my apartment. Luckily, I have a gas stove/oven with pilot lights. During the summer, its miserable having a gas stove because it makes it much hotter but in the winter, its nice having a little extra heat from the three pilot lights. Anyway, I'd recommend a small space heater and some patience... I think you'll find that you don't have a lot of control over the radiator.


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RE: Apartment in NY-How to work the heat?

I have lived in NYC apartments my whole life and that is longer than I like to admit. In NYC almost any apartment building older that is 10 years is heated by steam heat and from small 6 unit buildings to large 100 unit buildings there is absolutely no way to regulate the heat. Right or wrong landlords do not see the advantage to buying new thermostatic valves and installing them at about $200 a pop. Lack of heat has never been my issue with steam, it has been too much heat and pipes banging. In the building I currently live in the banging was overwhelming and caused several tenants to call the fire department one night, they feared the pipes would explode. We now have a new super who insists that no one closes a valve, but opens a window instead to control the heat. (The boiler was replaced a few years ago)Since no one is closing valves there is no banging. Is this the most environmentally or econamical solution, probably not, but when you rent you have no control over these things.


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RE: Apartment in NY-How to work the heat?

Unbelievable. No, I mean I do believe your story but I cannot fathom what is going through the LL's head. If you are hearing banging, AKA 'water hammer', there needs to be some maintenance or small repairs made to the system. There are very easy and no cost, or low cost, things that can be done to solve the problem.

The tenents also need to be taught how to work the radiators, for instance, you do not open the valve half way, its either all the way open or all the way closed, not 'half way open' for less heat, otherwise you get banging. The tenents also need to understand what the term radiator means. It means to radiate heat. What many people do is to open the radiator and draw steam/hot water and let it radiate until the room gets to the temp they want. Then they turn it off not realizing it will continue to radiate heat for hours. So now they are roasting and uncomfortable, and they open a window. Then they get cold, so they turn the radiator back on until it gets to the temp they want and they turn it off, but it continues to radiate heat into the room making it hotter and hotter. Rinse. Repeat.

As I said before, radiators are a PITA to work with BUT you have to learn how to use them and running heat with the windows open is not they way they were designed to operate.

BTW when you hear the banging, sound it is not because the pipes "are going to explode". This thinking just shows how most people just do not understand how a heating system like this works.

The banging is a sign that there needs to be maintenace done on the radiators. A unit might need a tilt. It might need to be bled. It might need a new air vent. Someone has their unit improperly set. There could be a crack in one of the feed pipes. Or a clog.

If a LL refuses to repair the system I guess the only thing you can do is obey and send all the heat out the windows. It just seems silly. And expensive.


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RE: Apartment in NY-How to work the heat?

NYC is very unusually, not just in the areas everyone knows about but also in that real estate is the prime social topic of conversation no matter where you are or what social/economic group you fall in. In addition landlord/tenant relationships are very odd and usually not straight forward.

Most NYC apartments have some kind of rent regulation and landlords don't want to fix anything unless they either can get a rent increase or the rules require the repair. This does not make sense, but I think it comes from years and years of contentious yearly rent regulation hearings.

Both tenants and landlords are always expecting the worst from each other. In general landlords must continually give new leases in controlled increases to tenants even if they don't want that tenant. It can be near impossible at times to evict someone. On the other hand landlords know the value of the buildings is usually not in the perfect condition of the building but in location. And right now most "desirable" areas you could sell a shell and make a fortune.

If you walk around NYC and look up at the apartments you will see building after building with the windows open at least a little in the dead of winter. NYC thermosts, not smart but the way it has always been.


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