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32 Family building Steam Radiator Problems.

Hi. I live in a building in Manhattan. It is a huge building with 32 apartments(unchopped-meaning original size built in 1906- mine is the smallest at 2br-1.5bath 1400 sqft & they go all the way up to 2000 sqft 5br 2bath). We experience wildly differing heating issues each winter... Some lines complaining of LOUD and Frightening banging in the risers, some complaining of severe overheating, and some complaining of no heat at all. We have one tenant who's apartment is in an unfortunate location: 2nd floor back facing with almost no natural light, and who is last in the line for steam pipes... meaning it travels to the 8th floor first, where all the apartments are overheated to 81-85º and gets to 2B last, so tenant ends up calling HPD when the temp in the apartment gets below the legally mandated 68º when it's below 55º outside. Problem is, we have doubled our oil usage since this tenant moved in just to keep the apartment warm enough. We need the best possible advice on how we can 1) cut our heating oil bills back down to normal. 2) figure out the best way to repair our whole system so there is more even heat distribution. 3) put our boiler at a normal temp and everyone get normal heat.

Any and all help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

BONUS Question: Does it negatively effect the whole system when radiators are turned all the way off? For us overheated apartments, it is the only way to make it bearable, as opening the window is the last resort.


  • jumper
    jumper Member Posts: 2,256
    turn them off

    If you do not need heat close off the radiator or throw a blanket over it. Has your building one or two pipe radiators ?
  • Rod
    Rod Posts: 2,067
    Heating Problems

    Hi - We need to know more about your steam system and what type it is.  How many pipes go to each radiator? (One pipe equals a 1 Pipe system, 2 pipes equal a 2 pipe system)

    It would also help if you could post a picture of one of your radiators

    - Rod
  • Paul48
    Paul48 Member Posts: 4,469
    Too Big

    Honestly........You need a steam pro to evaluate a system that large. It's a lot more than radiator issues alone, and inefficiencies on the scale you are talking, are huge. The savings from a proper evaluation would pay for bringing the pro in, in no time at all. It's not a 3-piece band, it's an orchestra, and you need a conductor.
  • Rod
    Rod Posts: 2,067
    You need a Steam Pro

    Hi- Paul has made a very good point in that you really need a steam pro to take a look at your system. Steam pros specialize in working on steam systems and have the knowledge and experience that most other plumbing and heating people don't have, so just calling in the regular plumbing guy you've used in the past won't do the job.

    Overheating is a waste of fuel (money) and on a building the size that you live in this means BIG dollars!  A properly tuned steam system should be economical, comfortable and QUIET!   A good steam pro can achieve that for you. I've attached a link to the New York page of the Contractor part of this website. There are several good steam pros listed there. http://www.heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/NY/New-York

    You might want to contact them and have them take a look at your system.

    - Rod
  • nicholas bonham-carter
    Upper floors too hot

    You definitely need a pro in there, and I am sure he will find a problem with the venting of the system. This is not going to be difficult or expensive to correct , in relation to the fuel expense if it is not corrected.

    You don't have much choice in turning off the radiators for the moment as a relief from the heat. As a general rule on a well-maintained building, those valves should be open all the time, except when maintainence is being done.

    How is it that the system is in such bad balance? Has any maintenance been done in the last decade? Is this a coop, or a rental?--NBC
This discussion has been closed.