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Hi - I rent the upper flat in a two story house with old-school radiators. The owner just replaced the boiler with a furnace, still with radiator heat. The family that lives on the lower level turns the main switch (it says "boiler," but it apparently somehow makes the whole system operate or not...) on and off throughout the day as a way to regulate the heat. The thermostat is in the basement, which is, of course, cooler, and the landlord sets it at a level (69 degrees) that makes it comfortable down there (where he has an office)., but it makes it too hot upstairs and on the main level. He is only here 2 days a week. I don't mind it too hot, but I cannot deal with too cold, at all! The family downstairs has a baby. They actually locked me out of the basement, since they noticed that I was turning the heat back on. Now, I know t=where the thermostat is, but they do not (at least that is what they say). The on / off switch is right near their door. I have to go outside and get in to the basement from the outside, so they can lock me out. I need to convince then to leave it on (and I'll just simply set it lower). MY QUESTIONS: 1. is it SAFE to turn on / off? I heard that when the water cools, and when it gets warm, it can breed bacteria, like Leginaire's disease. True? 2. Which is more efficient (cheaper): leave it on, and at a lower temp, or turn it on and off, at a higher temp? Thanks!


  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 22,880
    Good grief. The whole idea of a thermostat is to turn the boiler on and off, to regulate the heat. Whether you do it with the emergency switch or the thermostat won't make much difference on the efficiency. Doing it with the switch, however, is a truly stone age way to operate.

    Is this hot water or steam? The ways to balance the heat between different areas of the building are different for each, but either can be done, and done well enough so everyone is happy. Usually...
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,691
    Where are you located? Where I am from turning the heat off like that is illegal. Also it makes zero sense. If it isn't regulating properly turning it off and on isn't the solution, fixing the problem is.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • Skyscrapersax
    Skyscrapersax Member Posts: 2
    It looks to be hot water, not steam (that would be boiler, right? It's a furnace, brand new). The people downstairs are what I would call "ruffians," they are loud, uncouth; they appear to be very, very unsophisticated. They keep turning the switch on and off to suit their needs and lock the door so that I can't turn it back on and set the thermostat correctly. They leave it "off" all night (so cold I can't sleep). Then they turn it on. And off. And on, etc. So, I need an easy to understand "sales job" to get then to behave. (1) any truth to the bacteria breeding in warm water argument (i.e., so leave the temp constant)? (2) isn't it more efficient to do so, rather than have the temp fluctuate 20 d
    egrees? Thanks for everybody's help!
    HVACNUT Member Posts: 5,734
    First, I dont know those people downstairs, and have never consorted with them, I dont care what they say.
    Second. There was a boiler. Now theres a new boiler. Not furnace. A furnace doesn't use radiators. It uses air ducts.
    Now the type of heat the BOILER provides is either steam or hot water. Neither of which is a concern for legionnaires disease.
    The emergency switch is just that. It's for an emergency. It shouldn't be used as a boiler control.
    The landlord has the thermostat where it and the heat cant be tampered with. But that doesnt make it right. And now the scoundrels on the first floor (that was not me dressed like Carmen Miranda, I dont care what they say) have control over YOUR heat. That's something to definately take up with the owner.
    With the new boiler, the owner and contractor should've huddled together and discussed outdoor reset with a centrally located thermostat or sensor in a conditioned space.
  • Leon82
    Leon82 Member Posts: 684
    Tell the owner if he wants his rent to get them to stop screwing with the switch.
  • Zman
    Zman Member Posts: 7,542
    Your best angle here is first to have a direct and polite conversation with the land lord. Explain to him what is going on and ask for assistance.

    If he blows you off or cannot come up with a workable solution, it is time to get tougher.

    Investigate the local laws regarding this. There should be something on the books requiring that the landlord needs to maintain an indoor temp somewhere around 70 degrees.

    I would purchase a temperature data logger and start documenting what the indoor temps actually are. Start out nice and show him what is going on. If he doesn't respond, contact the local rent authorities and have them force compliance.

    Keep in mind that it is not your responsibility to figure out what your idiot neighbors are up to. It is the landlord's responsibility to provide a safe, habitable space you are paying for.
    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein