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Can my neighbor turn off my radiator by shutting his off?

ChrisKV Member Posts: 1
edited January 2019 in THE MAIN WALL
Help. I'm on the top floor of a 102yr old NYC walkup. For a few years I've had heat problems, and it was fixed, more or less, when my super discovered that when the neighbor in the apt below me turns off his radiator below mine, mine also turns off. Is this possible?

The neighbor is in a 1brm with 2 radiators and 3 risers. I have only the 1 radiator--it's the only heat I get.

The super told him to keep his radiator on and open windows if nec so that I get heat. However, he (or his partner) is turning it off pretty regularly. We are friendly, and he says that he has had it on all season, but as soon as I text him that I have no heat, he replies, "ours is on" -- but within minutes, mine comes back on. I talked to the super again, and he doesn't seem to have much to say other than going to management. I told the neighbor this, and he said his has been on. When I mentioned something else, he then said, "I don't know, but turning my radiator off shouldn't turn yours off." At this point, after several times of my texting, his saying their radiator is on, but then my heat immediately coming back on (ie they reopened theirs), I feel like I'm being tortured. It's truly unpleasant.

Experts? Is it possible that this is happening, that his radiator can shut down mine? And next, if yes (which it seems to be, which means he's lying and making me suffer), is there some way it can be fixed, so that his can be off and mine can be on??? I've lived here 10years. I don't want to move. I also need to have heat.



  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,742
    I am guessing this is steam heat?

    If it is I can think of one possibility. If the venting is messed up on the system, meaning not enough or not in the right places. It's possible their vent is allowing the steam to travel further up the line when their radiator is open. Basically their rad improves venting to your area.

    Most likely the system hasn't been maintained or improved properly over the years and you are seeing the result. I say that based on the ridiculous "open a window" comment.

    If my hypothesis is what is going on it will require them to fix the system, based on what we see around this website I wouldn't hold my breath.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,549
    @ChrisKV, can you post photos of your radiator and the piping connecting it?
    Retired and loving it.
  • JohnNY
    JohnNY Member Posts: 3,232
    I work on NYC steam heated apartments and buildings daily. It is highly unlikely that your system is configured in a way that prevents steam from reaching your apartment when the radiator below yours is turned off so stop bothering your nice neighbors. This is not your super's area of expertise.
    However, it is true that one of the unfortunate side effects of people turning off steam radiators is that the system becomes deprived of that turned-off radiator's isolated air vent, which MAY contribute to the slower movement of steam through that particular riser pipe.
    Steam moves toward air vents. That's just how it works. For this reason, sometimes we install air vents onto the risers themselves so that the radiators' air vents become somewhat less critical to the operation. Let your landlord know that there is fix for this. He's just got to pay up and take care of it.
    Contact John "JohnNY" Cataneo, NYC Master Plumber, Lic 1784
    Consulting & Troubleshooting
    Heating in NYC or NJ.