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poor college kids with no idea whats going on...

ps Nice tree!


  • kayla
    kayla Member Posts: 5
    i hate heating this house!

    we are 3 girl college students renting an old house. i should have listened to dad when he said "i think you should have some one who knows about houses help you pick one out." we've survived through bugs and rodents... but now our problem is heat.

    im pretty sure we have a furnace, we've had the temp set at 65 all week long and its still just above 50 degrees in here. im sure if we were willing to spend a lot of money we could really crank it up, but there is still a major problem.

    there seems to be only ONE vent that heat is coming out of, and its located in our tiny bathroom. it would be rather difficult to fit all 3 of us in there to sleep (if it could be done im sure we would at this point). its the only vent thats A.warm B.heat is blowing from.

    looks like we are going to have to be the nazi tenants once again...i would just kinda like to sound like i know what im talking about when i tell the landlord to come fix our broken house.

    help is greatly appreciated.

  • Brad White
    Brad White Member Posts: 2,398
    Carpet? Furniture?

    Only the smallest houses in my experience had a (central) large grate and an under-floor furnace.

    I have to wonder if the space is carpeted? Or furniture placed over the grates? Some older houses had grates in the wall and interior walls at that, which do you less good.

    Can you get into the basement and take pictures? I would start there. We need more information. At least it sounds like the bathroom is warm :P

    In all fairness (and you are understandably upset), maybe tone down the rhetoric a bit? The landlord gets wind of the "nazi tenant" term -even though you are using it to describe yourselves- sets a tone which may not get the best cooperation.

    There are other subsequent steps such as your local board of health (which governs housing habitability at least here in Boston), or other agencies. Still, start with the landlord. The situation is intolerable but every problem has a solution.

    Now, could you go grab a camera and take a look in that basement if you don't mind?
    "If you do not know the answer, say, "I do not know the answer", and you will be correct!"

    -Ernie White, my Dad
  • David Nadle
    David Nadle Member Posts: 624
    Strange perspective...

    Renting a house and having to call the landlord because there's no heat makes you a "nazi." Oooookay. It's probably nice and warm at the library--maybe you can pick up a history book while you're there.

  • bobbyg_2
    bobbyg_2 Member Posts: 139

    "there seems to be only ONE vent that heat is coming out of"--Kayla are there other vents? If so, how many?

    I'm wondering if maybe there are loose flex hoses, maybe???
    You have to go to the basement (or wherever the furnace may be).

    I agree with Brad on everything (as always :p)
  • Tony_23
    Tony_23 Member Posts: 1,033

    Sign of the times. Uninformed youth.

    Seinfeld's "Soup Nazi" kinda watered down the meaning (pun intended) for a lot of today's youth.

    I bet the university they attend teaches them that the USA is the bad, evil country :(

    How I'd like to be 20 again, standing beside the man who is my son the Marine.....

  • Timco
    Timco Member Posts: 3,040

    It is really not your job to 'know what you are talking about' when it comes to having a warm place to live. That is the job of the licensed heating professional your landlord should call when you explain this problem calmly to him. I fix my tenant's problems in 24hrs ( leaky sink, never a heat problem ) Try your local apartment association or housing authority or health department. Even try your City offices if he does not offer relief to this serious issue. If cerain circumstances are present, this may be dangerous for you, not just cold. FYI, a furnace blows heated air into a box with several flexible tubes coming off of it and each tube goes to a floor / wall / ceiling register. If you have good flow to just one, there may be a blockage under the registers or in the plenum ( box that the tubes tie into ), or something could have fallen on the 'tubes' and torn a few off.

    Just a guy running some pipes.
  • Maine Doug_66
    Maine Doug_66 Member Posts: 28
    You nicely

    explain to the owner/rental manager that heat is a requirement. If not fixed quickly- move to a place checked out beforehand, like your Dad suggested.
    If your lease says you are responsible for appliances etc, (triple net) you are now with no heat and a potentially huge bill. Find another place and read the fine print. You have learned a lot about housing in a short time and did not even have to pay college tuition for it.
  • kayla
    kayla Member Posts: 5

    to start with, thanks for all those who gave us positive support and a little bit of knowledge to work with.

    back to the nazi terminology,
    wow, Brad you were surely right.

    "The landlord gets wind of the "nazi tenant" term -even though you are using it to describe yourselves- sets a tone which may not get the best cooperation"

    i do not think its the landlord i need to worry about, i think i should have realized the generation that i was talking to on this website.

    David, yes the library IS nice and warm and we have been spending a majority of our time there. as a history major i have picked up many history books, thank you. Tony was correct that the Nazi term used today is more lenient; it is taking out of the historical context of the time. But placing it back into the context of the time, German "nazis" rarely referred to themselves as that, rather it was a term used by the opponents to describe them.

    today, many younger people use the word to describe someone who is controlling, demanding...etc (situations that are not as extreme as Nazi-Germany was..)

    should it be used out of historical context? probably not when you are talking to a generation who is tied more closely to the events that it derived from.

    for that I apologize.

    we attend a university of WI and are quite proud of the education we receive. I think all college education is fairly liberal and open minded. we are not taught to hate the United States, but we are taught to look at all sides of the story to understand the effects that history has had on everyone, not just the US (that would cause ignorance).

    i think the result of ignorance for others peoples feelings and beliefs is relevant in our conversation for which i have apologized for.

    good for your son tony, i'm sure you are proud. i too am very proud and supportive of my naval father.

    as truman once said "If you cant stand the heat, get out of the kitchen"

    much pun is intended.

    my apology is extended once again to those whom ive offended...but the problem is that there is NO heat in our kitchen. (just the bathroom)

    i took some photos of the vents....

    there is a total of 6 vents that look like the one seen in the bathroom. (1 in each 3 bedrooms, one in the kitchen, one in the hallway and one in the bathroom) they are located in the floor.

    there is a total of 5 vents that look like the one in the kitchen and bedroom photos. these vents are on the wall (kitchen, 3 bedrooms, living room)

    i also took some pictures of the basement. i didn't really know what i was looking for...(ps. is it weird that our basement is very warm? it feels like its at least over 60 degrees....). i should have mentioned earlier that the house is a two story duplex. so somehow, the heating is split for the upstairs/downstairs.

    i think ultimately i need to call the landlord to get this fixed. the problem is the landlord owns a large majority of the houses and apartments on campus and takes a while to come around-- but thank you Tim for your advice, it will probably come in handy.

    ha, Doug you are very correct. we have learned A LOT from our first house experience. and we are always continuing to learn more-- so thanks for everyones help, we are slowly started to grasp what could be going wrong and what to look for in our next house.

    (and how to correctly use history terminology ;) )
  • Paul Fredricks_3
    Paul Fredricks_3 Member Posts: 1,557

    Here's some quick info:

    The registers in the floor have a damper blade in them that needs to be open. You can see it when you look in the register. Make sure they are all open.

    Those long black plastic bags in the basement ceiling are the flexible ducts that connect the furnace to the registers. Make sure they are connected at both ends.

    If the basement feels warmer that the rest of the place, see if you can find a spot in the basement where the heat is blowing out and see if there is a way to seal it up.

    Lets start there. But put in a call to the landlord so you can get that process started.
  • ALH_4
    ALH_4 Member Posts: 1,790

    Nazi tenant, Soup Nazi, Vito Nazi, no biggie. Neo Nazi, bad.

    The bathroom wouldn't happen to be above the furnace would it? Does the blower turn on in the basement? Turn down the thermostat then if one person stands next to the furnace and the other turns up the thermostat the person next to the furnace should probably be able to hear the burner, then the fan should turn on shortly later. If the burner doesn't light, the fan will not operate. If the burner lights and the fan doesnt work, the furnace could possibly just sit there burning fuel and not heating, in which case some warm air might drift up to nearby rooms, but no air would come out of the vents as you describe.

    In any case, I'd call the landlord right away and get someone to repair the furnace.
  • J Sacco
    J Sacco Member Posts: 9
    No Heat

    Look for air filters on the duct work where it meets the furnace at floor level if ther dirty replace them
  • John R. Hall
    John R. Hall Member Posts: 2,246
    Sounds like...

    Duct leakage -- no way should the basement be the warmest spot. If you need a reputable contractor, have your landlord drop me a line. Maybe I can find a contractor in your area who would cut you a deal for the opportunity to appear in The News.

  • Ross_7
    Ross_7 Member Posts: 577
    Crappy duct work

    That is one of the crappiest ductwork jobs I've ever seen. No wonder your house is cold. Your landlord needs to hire someone to come back & do the work properly. Looks like he & his buddy decided to split a case of beer on some random Saturday afternoon, and decide they were going to be "Tin-Knockers" Pretty scary stuff!!
  • Mitch_4
    Mitch_4 Member Posts: 955
    ok from your pictures

    there are 2 furnaces in the house. I assume one is for the main floor apt, the other for the upper unit. Only one is for your space.

    Does your thermostat have a "fan on" switch? if yes, have one of you turn it to fan on, have someone else in the basement to listen to which fan starts.

    That is "your" furnace. If neither fan starts,then the power is off, check breakers / fuses, and the switch on the side of the furnace to make sure the power is on.

    Once you find "your" furnace there are a couple options.

    If yours is the one on the left, you have a standard efficiency unit. There is a pilot most likely, taking the upper cover off, and you should see a gas valve (box with a knob on it, steel pipe entering from outside the furnace and going to your burners.) There is also a small 1/4" silver tube, follow this and it leads to the pilot. Is the gas valve "on" (look at the knob) If it is off, then the pilot is too, and needs to be lit. There should be instructions. if not, DO NOT try.. get the landlord. if it is on pilot, then turn it to on. Make sure the thermostat is turned to heat, not "off" or "cool"

    If the pilot is on, and the gas valve is in the on position, the thermostat is set to heat, and the pointer above the current room temperature, the burners should be lighting, the fan starting and heat coming out. From your pictures all the ducts look connected.

    If your furnace is the one on the right, it is a high efficiency furnace and should be equipped with an automatic ignition system. (it does not have a pilot light). Take the top cover off.There is a small motor called an inducer that acts like a "power chimney" it comes on first, and if all safeties are ok, then it will light the burner automatically. If the inducer does not run, and all the breakers / switches say the power is on, check that the bottom door is properly in place. there is a safety switch that the lower door engages and it must be on properly for safety reasons.

    Again, if the burners are not lighting, call the landlord.

    In either case, if the burners light, then the fan should come on, if it does, but you are not getting heat...check the filters.

    Good luck.

    Tell us which you furnace is yours and what it is diong, nd we can maybe provide more information.

  • Mitch_4
    Mitch_4 Member Posts: 955

    see my post above.

    In addition, most rental laws state you need to have heat, I would not accept electric heaters if you are paying utilities. except for a short term till parts if required come in.
  • John R. Hall
    John R. Hall Member Posts: 2,246
    It could be worse

    It could look like this...
  • GoCat
    GoCat Member Posts: 12
    I have nothing to say about the heat...

    ... but I would like to say that this was a wonderful example of cross-generational communication being first at odds, then respectfully and intelligently resolved. Well done, Kayla.

    As a parent of college age kids (OMG, and I'm a grandparent now, too!) I know many youth who show this same sensitivity to others and this same broad-minded intelligence. And sadly, I know many who don't, as well. Let's all hope the Kaylas of the world greatly outnumber the tweakers!
  • David Nadle
    David Nadle Member Posts: 624
    Choice of words is part of it...


    I'm really not too bent out of shape by your choice of words, but your perspective on things leaves me shaking my head.

    First, your landlord is surely responsible for providing heat. How could asserting your most basic of rights under the lease possibly be considered being "controlling, or demanding?"

    Second, after all us old folks have died off and can't complain any more (I'm actually closer to your age than to the WWII generation) it will still be inappropriate to use a word like "nazi" to describe an act so trivial as asking your landlord to fix the heat. At least, I hope I'm right about that.

  • Maine Doug_66
    Maine Doug_66 Member Posts: 28
    Pretty fancy place

    ya got there. Stained glass and insulated toilet seats. The carpeted potty must be necessary for the low room temperatures....

    In the kitchen picture, is the duct tape holding the outlet into the wall or keeping a draft out? If it is preventing it moving around, that needs to be repaired also.

    And look for smoke detectors and test them with incense or cirgaette smoke. And have the Dads buy CO detectors for you!

    And party!! Many bodies raise room temp. From what I can remember of college, our rented house was always warmer on weekends when we had champagne cartoon breakfasts. I was the cook and the gang would come over to watch cartoons on Sat am and we sipped (well some actually sipped) and ate breakfast all day.
  • College Fever

    how did I know that this would bring most out of the ductwork LOL!

  • kayla
    kayla Member Posts: 5

    When all three roommates are home at the same time, we try to remain in the bathroom where it's heated. The carpeted toilet seat is a luxury and is the center of many of our battles...who ever guesses to correct temp. of the house gets to sit on it the longest. the other two stay huddled over the floor vent.

    ...just kidding (for now)

    the stained glass i think you are referring to (in the kitchen photo) is pretty high class -- its actually a collection of beer bottles.

    Everyone who has responded to my post is so intelligent in the heating department and we're grateful for your vast knowledge of expertise-- im having a friend come over so we can figure out the ducts, determine which heater is our...and so forth, so ill update once we figure something out and try to answer everyones questions...

    if this problem cant be fixed today (and im thinking it can only be fixed by a professional) i will have to take the advice to have a large house party. It could solve some of our problems for the short term: increase the temp in the house for the night, trick our bodies into feeling warm by consuming alcohol, and the fact that being intoxicated will relieve of this heating stress.

    if the party gets busted, i will simply tell the officers that we were heating our freezing house. *im sure it will go over well.

    in the mean time, im going to check out the basement. thanks again everyone.
  • Brad White
    Brad White Member Posts: 2,398
    Talkin' bout my gen-eration!

    Jeez Kayla, I just turned 50 for crying out loud! You make us sound like the guys at the VFW you see in parades... :)LOL

    Thanks for you kind note and observations- now that this is behind us, it seems like you are getting lots of good advice which you can turn into heat. Certainly stirred up interest.
    "If you do not know the answer, say, "I do not know the answer", and you will be correct!"

    -Ernie White, my Dad
  • Tony_23
    Tony_23 Member Posts: 1,033
    Really : )

    I'm just 44. A far cry from WW11 age :)

    Funny, I thought they were the Nazi Party. They called themselves that, too. Kinda like liberals who point out Hitler was a conservative. Yup, he was one in the Germany of that time. To an extreme, I might add. Not relevant to today's conservatives in this country.

    It's fine to study the effects on both sides of an issue, just realize there's still right and wrong.

    Off Soapbox now, it's Miller time :)

    Hope you get heat soon, girls.
  • kayla
    kayla Member Posts: 5

    Nationalsozialisten = nazis

    i couldnt help myself..

    anyways, thanks to all your help we figured out what was the problem!!!!!!!!!! im really glad i looked into it a little more because we were just going to ignore the problem not thinking it was that serious...

    turns out we are cold and wasting money, im glad you all could help us before we wasted a ton of money.

    turns out the furnace lights up but the fan is broken and dosent turn on-- so the landlord is going to come and fix it!

    although it has kind of been a nightmare figuring out what was going on-- i feel like we are capable of figuring out these problems in the future (in fact, i learned more about furnaces than i ever imagined i would have), thanks everyone!!!

    hope everyone has a wonderful holiday-- we have a lot to be thankful for and heat is up there on the list!
  • Larry (from OSHA)
    Larry (from OSHA) Member Posts: 717
    don't have to wait

    for the happy ending.

    Kayla and crew have figured it out with lots of input from all here. Extra points for Andrew who pegged it. All the other observations go without saying. Not the best installation.

    For me, this has been one of the BEST threads ever. For lots of reasons. Great example of the future generation. Way to go Kayla. Your thoughtfulness will serve you well in the future.

  • Maine Doug_66
    Maine Doug_66 Member Posts: 28
    Wait. You had these

    3 guys around and they could not figure this out and you 3 came here and got the info needed and found the problem? I hope they at least take the trash out and wash windows.
  • Jeff Lawrence_25
    Jeff Lawrence_25 Member Posts: 746
    Hey John

    Where'd you get that picture? It sure looks familiar...
  • Jeff Lawrence_25
    Jeff Lawrence_25 Member Posts: 746
    College boys

    With pretty ladies like that, I be trying to warm them up!

    Uh, fix their heat, I mean...

    Congratulations Kayla, you've got heat!
  • Supply House Rick
    Supply House Rick Member Posts: 1,404
    Hey Kayla

    I give off approx 600 btuh and available for the holiday season...
  • jackchips_2
    jackchips_2 Member Posts: 1,338
    I agree with

    a previous post that this has been a wonderful thread.

    With a granddaughter at BU (in a warm room) I certainly sympathized with you and your roommates, Kayla.

    Please update us when you get it corrected and Happy Holidays to you all.

  • Chas_3
    Chas_3 Member Posts: 3

    Danger Will Robinson... Does Not Compute!
  • Weezbo
    Weezbo Member Posts: 6,232
    hi *~/:)

    try this , put a piece of writing paper over each floor vent,...then go block off the heat in the bath room...

    go back out and see if the paper moved or is moving at any of the vent openings that you just covered with a piece of paper.....

    upon occasion i have found a variety of things in supply vents...none of which the owner of the building had a clue were lurking beneath the floor...:)

    so don't feel alone...
  • Leo G_101
    Leo G_101 Member Posts: 87

    "although it has kind of been a nightmare figuring out what was going on-- i feel like we are capable of figuring out these problems in the future (in fact, i learned more about furnaces than i ever imagined i would have), thanks everyone!!! "

    Kayla, watch out, this is how it has started for many a newbie in our profession. First you come to the wall seeking advice, then you find out how interesting the trade is, then BAM! you're hooked! Before you know it, you'll be looking here everyday, and getting your hands dirty, working for one of us!!!! LOL!!!!

    Happy for you and your mates that everything worked out.

    Leo G
  • Ross_7
    Ross_7 Member Posts: 577
    good point, John

    Nice piece of W. Good point John!
  • Steve Ebels_3
    Steve Ebels_3 Member Posts: 1,291
    Addendum to that

    Oh to be twenty again..........and know what I know now!!
  • realolman
    realolman Member Posts: 513

    is what?

    I feel like the older I get the more I find out I don't know.

    One of these days I won't know anything. :)
  • kayla
    kayla Member Posts: 5
    just when we thought we had heat...

    so the landlord came today and noticed that we had huge problems. something with the flu in the chimney was clogged- so they thought everything was fixed and good to go.

    youll never believe this....

    after class we came home to house full of a strange smell...after a light headed nauseas spell, we checked the carbon monoxide box--- it was increasing rapidly, finally the alarms were set and both upstairs and downstairs were aware and left the house.

    we immediately turned off of our furance...(the heat was too good to be true) and the landlord and crew came to air out our house and clean out the chimney.

    but tomorrow, we are getting a new furnace (crossing our fingers for a energy efficient one :) )

    but i think the problem in FINALLY solved.

    we are just fortunate it (the carbon monoxide) happened during the day and not at night.

    finally, we once again extend our thanks to you...im really glad we second guessed this problem and that we had the help and knowledge from all of you; our problem could have been a lot scarier.

    thank you so much.
  • glad to hear

    Glad to hear that potenail(spell check) tragedy did not happened..
    Question, in the picture, all wearing long sleeves except the guy in t shirt, how's he's keeping warm?
  • Cold in Vermont
    Cold in Vermont Member Posts: 1
    Duct Fan Boosters

    You can buy fan boosters to pull more hot air out of
    the vents... They are about $30 at a Home Depot.. The work great
  • Paul Fredricks_3
    Paul Fredricks_3 Member Posts: 1,557

    Glad you caught it before someone went to the hospital, or worse. It's always good to be aware of what's going on with the heating system.

    Hope you get the new furnace before it gets too cold.

    Happy Thanksgiving.
This discussion has been closed.