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 Post subject: Any plumbers in here?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2017 7:26 pm 
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Need some advice. I live on the 2nd floor of a 2 story house in NYC (Converted 1 family). The heat sources are the steam radiators. The problem I'm having is that the radiators in the rooms on the outside parts of the apartment aren't getting heat and the radiators in the middle of the apartment get a moderate amount of heat. The neighbors downstairs get the right amount of heat to too much heat.

The property manager had the plumber out to take a look. To check it, he basically jacked the thermostat (in my downstairs neighbor's apartment) to 80 and voila they all worked. Of course they worked! Jacking it up to 80 degrees isn't the solution. But at least he proved that heat was able to get to my radiators.

So the property manager then had an electrician come in and move the thermostat to the outside of my apartment (upstairs). I'm still not getting heat because the entry way retains a lot of heat and I don't think the steam is getting to my radiators quickly enough before reaching temperature. It's improved in the middle of the apartment but the outside rooms aren't getting anything.

I've moved the thermostat from 70 to 74 to get things moving, but then I'm just sweating out my downstairs neighbor.

After some research I found it might be the air vent on my radiator isn't moving the steam through fast enough. I have the Hoffman 40 which I think isn't fast enough. I'm thinking about changing it out for a #6 size air vent. Does this make sense given that I'm upstairs and probably at the end of the line?

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 Post subject: Re: Any plumbers in here?
PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 12:12 am 
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StillerInCT wrote:
Need some advice. I live on the 2nd floor of a 2 story house in NYC (Converted 1 family). The heat sources are the steam radiators. The problem I'm having is that the radiators in the rooms on the outside parts of the apartment aren't getting heat and the radiators in the middle of the apartment get a moderate amount of heat. The neighbors downstairs get the right amount of heat to too much heat.

The property manager had the plumber out to take a look. To check it, he basically jacked the thermostat (in my downstairs neighbor's apartment) to 80 and voila they all worked. Of course they worked! Jacking it up to 80 degrees isn't the solution. But at least he proved that heat was able to get to my radiators.

So the property manager then had an electrician come in and move the thermostat to the outside of my apartment (upstairs). I'm still not getting heat because the entry way retains a lot of heat and I don't think the steam is getting to my radiators quickly enough before reaching temperature. It's improved in the middle of the apartment but the outside rooms aren't getting anything.

I've moved the thermostat from 70 to 74 to get things moving, but then I'm just sweating out my downstairs neighbor.

After some research I found it might be the air vent on my radiator isn't moving the steam through fast enough. I have the Hoffman 40 which I think isn't fast enough. I'm thinking about changing it out for a #6 size air vent. Does this make sense given that I'm upstairs and probably at the end of the line?


So you're closed loop steam with no returns? NY Steam provider? Marked difference from last year same time same number of degree days? Less heat from last year? What is temp in coldest part of apt when heat is running? Sufficient hot water? Any change from hot water quality from last year?


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 Post subject: Re: Any plumbers in here?
PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 10:01 am 
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Old School Steeler wrote:
StillerInCT wrote:
Need some advice. I live on the 2nd floor of a 2 story house in NYC (Converted 1 family). The heat sources are the steam radiators. The problem I'm having is that the radiators in the rooms on the outside parts of the apartment aren't getting heat and the radiators in the middle of the apartment get a moderate amount of heat. The neighbors downstairs get the right amount of heat to too much heat.

The property manager had the plumber out to take a look. To check it, he basically jacked the thermostat (in my downstairs neighbor's apartment) to 80 and voila they all worked. Of course they worked! Jacking it up to 80 degrees isn't the solution. But at least he proved that heat was able to get to my radiators.

So the property manager then had an electrician come in and move the thermostat to the outside of my apartment (upstairs). I'm still not getting heat because the entry way retains a lot of heat and I don't think the steam is getting to my radiators quickly enough before reaching temperature. It's improved in the middle of the apartment but the outside rooms aren't getting anything.

I've moved the thermostat from 70 to 74 to get things moving, but then I'm just sweating out my downstairs neighbor.

After some research I found it might be the air vent on my radiator isn't moving the steam through fast enough. I have the Hoffman 40 which I think isn't fast enough. I'm thinking about changing it out for a #6 size air vent. Does this make sense given that I'm upstairs and probably at the end of the line?


So you're closed loop steam with no returns? NY Steam provider? Marked difference from last year same time same number of degree days? Less heat from last year? What is temp in coldest part of apt when heat is running? Sufficient hot water? Any change from hot water quality from last year?


I believe it's closed loop. I have 1 pipe coming into the actual radiator. I assume the steam is coming from Con Edison. As for the other question, I just moved into the place in August so I have no point of comparison unfortunately.

The hot water is perfect. I have absolutely no issues with that.

So the boiler kicked on on Oct 1st per NYC law. My downstairs neighbor gets plenty of heat and the central parts of my apartment get heat. The outside rooms though get either no heat or very little. Generally its' about 59 degrees in my room because the radiator won't turn on unless I micromanage the thermostat.

The only way I've been able to get heat is doing the following:

1.) Move the thermostat from 70 degrees to 74 degrees. Then it will eventually heat my radiator
1a.) If I leave it at 74, I never get heat again. I assume this is because when the boiler shuts off and the temperature drops a degree or 2 below 74 when it turns back on it gets up to the goal temperature too
quickly for the steam to make it to me.
2.) So because of 1a I have to then drop it back down to 70 and let the area around the thermostat cool. And then if I get cold again, I have to bump it back up to 74.

Doing that process kind of sucks, because my neighbors are probably wondering why their apartment is sweltering every once in a while.

Supposedly it's a brand new boiler too.

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 Post subject: Re: Any plumbers in here?
PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 4:39 pm 
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The burden of rectifying is on your LL, not you. Any expense incurred remedying should not come out of your pocket including new vent you mentioned. Sounds like it's a two family house? The undernourished radiator sounds like it's at the end of the closed-loop, if so it's probably a steam distribution issue. The remedy could be the pitch of the pipes, a strange set of turns, lots of elbows or even a low belly point. Sounds like the steam has to work too hard to get there so the extremity radiators are never going to get hot without blasting the whole system

ConEd or New York steam sends the steam through the pipes the steam being generated off site. If the steam is generated on site through your own heating plant you have a better shot at getting this fixed. Either way you got to put the onus on the landlord and management company I would check my lease first make sure you don't put yourself into a situation where you're requesting things that the landlord isn't supposed to provide but the laws in New York are pretty damn stringent and obligatory on the landlord. The management company should send a representative of the company that provides the fuel oil or the gas or heating engineer and let them walk and observe and find the problem


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 Post subject: Re: Any plumbers in here?
PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 5:29 pm 
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I'm not a plumber so take this with a giant grain of salt.

But the heat kicking on is based on outside/ inside temp. You would assume it won't get to 55 degrees in the daytime in september.
Quote:
In New York City, the law requires that your landlord provide heat at the following levels from October 1 through May 31: From 6 am to 10 pm: If the outside temperature falls below 55 degrees, the inside temperature must be at least 68 degrees everywhere in your apartment.
I'm assuming steam heat is generated by a boiler in the basement - especially if it's a converted single family home - and not by the city. I could be wrong, but if ConEd is supplying steam heat, your problem just got bigger.

How old is the home? And yes, it's your owner's responsibility to do all of this. But as usual, if you want to expedite the situation, you're going to have to do some leg work yourself. Which is what you are already doing.

I would first check the valves and air vents in the radiators in your downstairs neighbor apt. Insure they are working properly. If they've been living there for a while, ask if the previous upstairs tenant had similar problems. Maybe they did and simply didn't complain?

Then I would check for cracks or bad insulation in the rooms - around the windows, but I'm assuming you did that already. Do you have double pane newish windows? Radiators in the old days in apartment buildings were placed in front of windows, for obvious reasons. The pipes might also be compromised with rust or corrosion as it gets to your apartment or the end of the loop, depending on the age. Steam uses bigger inside diameter than the pipes returning water to the boiler. Then there is the condition of the boiler (also loss of pressure) and the location of the thermostat. It seems the hallway isn't the best place.

The landlord is probably not going to pay for any major plumbing work to streamline the path, if that's the cause. That's some serious money, and since you're the one paying for steam and hot water. . .

My non plumber 2 cents.

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 Post subject: Re: Any plumbers in here?
PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 5:44 pm 
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Old School Steeler wrote:
The burden of rectifying is on your LL, not you. Any expense incurred remedying should not come out of your pocket including new vent you mentioned. Sounds like it's a two family house? The undernourished radiator sounds like it's at the end of the closed-loop, if so it's probably a steam distribution issue. The remedy could be the pitch of the pipes, a strange set of turns, lots of elbows or even a low belly point. Sounds like the steam has to work too hard to get there so the extremity radiators are never going to get hot without blasting the whole system

ConEd or New York steam sends the steam through the pipes the steam being generated off site. If the steam is generated on site through your own heating plant you have a better shot at getting this fixed. Either way you got to put the onus on the landlord and management company I would check my lease first make sure you don't put yourself into a situation where you're requesting things that the landlord isn't supposed to provide but the laws in New York are pretty damn stringent and obligatory on the landlord. The management company should send a representative of the company that provides the fuel oil or the gas or heating engineer and let them walk and observe and find the problem


I completely agree, but she sent out the plumber a while back and he jacked it up to 80 on the thermostat and said it was good (Knowing damn well keeping it at 80 isn't a feasible solution for the building's inhabitants). He flat out told me he didn't change anything. I do need to get back in contact with my landlord again, but the plumber won't work weekends so I always need to take time off of work. So instead of wasting vacation time, I was hoping there was a quick fix I could do for a few bucks.

I actually think the steam is being generated on site by our boiler. I misunderstood your question. I'm actually 99% sure of that actually.

But I agree with you, it's definitely a distribution issue and I'm lucky enough to be at the very end of the loop. My room also has large windows so insulation isn't great. Double whammy. Other than that though the apartment is pristine, but waking up in 20 degree weather to take a shower before work is horrible. I did buy an electric heater, but my heat/hot water is included in the rent, so I'm getting fucked on both ends.

I appreciate your input on this! I find it helpful.

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"Antonio Brown doesn't need to respond to anything," Tomlin said. "He walks into stadiums and he's Antonio Brown and he made Antonio Brown plays."


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 Post subject: Re: Any plumbers in here?
PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 5:48 pm 
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COR-TEN wrote:
I'm not a plumber so take this with a giant grain of salt.

But the heat kicking on is based on outside/ inside temp. You would assume it won't get to 55 degrees in the daytime in september.
Quote:
In New York City, the law requires that your landlord provide heat at the following levels from October 1 through May 31: From 6 am to 10 pm: If the outside temperature falls below 55 degrees, the inside temperature must be at least 68 degrees everywhere in your apartment.
I'm assuming steam heat is generated by a boiler in the basement - especially if it's a converted single family home - and not by the city. I could be wrong, but if ConEd is supplying steam heat, your problem just got bigger.

How old is the home? And yes, it's your owner's responsibility to do all of this. But as usual, if you want to expedite the situation, you're going to have to do some leg work yourself. Which is what you are already doing.

I would first check the valves and air vents in the radiators in your downstairs neighbor apt. Insure they are working properly. If they've been living there for a while, ask if the previous upstairs tenant had similar problems. Maybe they did and simply didn't complain?

Then I would check for cracks or bad insulation in the rooms - around the windows, but I'm assuming you did that already. Do you have double pane newish windows? Radiators in the old days in apartment buildings were placed in front of windows, for obvious reasons. The pipes might also be compromised with rust or corrosion as it gets to your apartment or the end of the loop, depending on the age. Steam uses bigger inside diameter than the pipes returning water to the boiler. Then there is the condition of the boiler (also loss of pressure) and the location of the thermostat. It seems the hallway isn't the best place.

The landlord is probably not going to pay for any major plumbing work to streamline the path, if that's the cause. That's some serious money, and since you're the one paying for steam and hot water. . .

My non plumber 2 cents.


The home is pretty old, it's a pre-war which is standard in my neighborhood (Astoria). They replaced the boiler over the summer prior to both us and our neighbors moving in so we have no comparison to last year. The problem is steam heat is pretty inefficient, but upgrading to a hot water system would be a tremendous cost on the landlord. So they'll naturally take the cheapest way out.

My room itself isn't well insulated so it compounds the issue.

In theory though, based on NYC law, I can legally withhold rent for everyday that I'm not provided adequate heat. So it's in their best interest to rectify this. The one thing I'll say about NYC is that it's very tenant friendly. But rather than doing this back and forth and taking time off to let the plumber in I was hoping for a quick fix that I can do. Spending a few bucks on vents, etc is better than wasting days off.

_________________
"Antonio Brown doesn't need to respond to anything," Tomlin said. "He walks into stadiums and he's Antonio Brown and he made Antonio Brown plays."


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 Post subject: Re: Any plumbers in here?
PostPosted: Thu Dec 14, 2017 12:36 am 
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Tenant friendly is understatement, rent controlled apartments with sublease rights transferred the benefits of profit from the risk taking landlords to the non equity tenants. Landlords were denied ROI while tenants made money on LL investment. You should check with some consumer protection re LLs obliagtion relative to degrees and hours, as I recall LL's were required to maintain 72 degrees till sleep time then 68 till 7:30. Take a photo of your thermometer and a clock, showing that LL is violating code. Let the LL know the idiot plumber he sent over jacked the stat to 80, that would increase LLs fuel costs by 15%. LL really has to fix this, adjust valves on radiators upstream from you, etc, ferret this out. A decent remedy in older homes in Queens & the Bronx are those plastic insulation sheets you apply with a hair dryer. If you have to run an electric heater let the LL know you're deducting the cost to run the heaters from rent, easy calculation to determine its use by the hour.


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 Post subject: Re: Any plumbers in here?
PostPosted: Thu Dec 14, 2017 6:58 pm 
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StillerInCT wrote:
COR-TEN wrote:
I'm not a plumber so take this with a giant grain of salt.

But the heat kicking on is based on outside/ inside temp. You would assume it won't get to 55 degrees in the daytime in september.
Quote:
In New York City, the law requires that your landlord provide heat at the following levels from October 1 through May 31: From 6 am to 10 pm: If the outside temperature falls below 55 degrees, the inside temperature must be at least 68 degrees everywhere in your apartment.
I'm assuming steam heat is generated by a boiler in the basement - especially if it's a converted single family home - and not by the city. I could be wrong, but if ConEd is supplying steam heat, your problem just got bigger.

How old is the home? And yes, it's your owner's responsibility to do all of this. But as usual, if you want to expedite the situation, you're going to have to do some leg work yourself. Which is what you are already doing.

I would first check the valves and air vents in the radiators in your downstairs neighbor apt. Insure they are working properly. If they've been living there for a while, ask if the previous upstairs tenant had similar problems. Maybe they did and simply didn't complain?

Then I would check for cracks or bad insulation in the rooms - around the windows, but I'm assuming you did that already. Do you have double pane newish windows? Radiators in the old days in apartment buildings were placed in front of windows, for obvious reasons. The pipes might also be compromised with rust or corrosion as it gets to your apartment or the end of the loop, depending on the age. Steam uses bigger inside diameter than the pipes returning water to the boiler. Then there is the condition of the boiler (also loss of pressure) and the location of the thermostat. It seems the hallway isn't the best place.

The landlord is probably not going to pay for any major plumbing work to streamline the path, if that's the cause. That's some serious money, and since you're the one paying for steam and hot water. . .

My non plumber 2 cents.


The home is pretty old, it's a pre-war which is standard in my neighborhood (Astoria). They replaced the boiler over the summer prior to both us and our neighbors moving in so we have no comparison to last year. The problem is steam heat is pretty inefficient, but upgrading to a hot water system would be a tremendous cost on the landlord. So they'll naturally take the cheapest way out.

My room itself isn't well insulated so it compounds the issue.

In theory though, based on NYC law, I can legally withhold rent for everyday that I'm not provided adequate heat. So it's in their best interest to rectify this. The one thing I'll say about NYC is that it's very tenant friendly. But rather than doing this back and forth and taking time off to let the plumber in I was hoping for a quick fix that I can do. Spending a few bucks on vents, etc is better than wasting days off.
I would suggest to not make it a combative relationship. Try and work with the landlord. Only in extreme cases should rent be withheld. And if you do, I suggest putting it in escrow. Document everything.

There are reasons why NYC law is tenant friendly. Abuse was running rampant with owners neglecting maintenance and piss poor living conditions, and then went running behind the skirts of bought politicians. Rate hikes are contested when owners fail to provide for their tenants. If you want to be an owner, man up. If tenants want to sublet, it's part of the free market. It's why AirBnB is so successful. Small business and free markets applied. What's not to like?

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 Post subject: Re: Any plumbers in here?
PostPosted: Thu Dec 14, 2017 7:42 pm 
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I would never withhold the rent unless I had no other choice. We go through a property manager and she's been pretty good about coordinating fixes. The plumber seems to just be lazy. I ordered an adjustable air vent and set it to the fastest flow and instantly had heat. Maybe even too much actually so I'll have to play around with it and adjust.

I did notice that replacing my vent alone helped some of the others in my area of the apartment. I wonder if that's just coincidence or if there's some science behind it.

Thanks for your input guys! Cheers.

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