Welcome! Here are the website rules, as well as some tips for using this forum.
Need to contact us? Visit https://heatinghelp.com/contact-us/.
Click here to Find a Contractor in your area.

Controlling apartment warm water baseboard valve

agraham Member Posts: 2
I live in an apartment with warm water baseboards. There is one valve in the living room to control the water flow for the whole apartment. It's a valve that turns through 90 degrees. It has a bar for a handle rather than round handle like a sink tap might have.
It's hard to find the right setting on this valve as the lag is so long for the change to take effect, and turning it doesn't have a linear correlation to how much heat is provided.
I often find the place is too hot or too cold.
What I would like is a system that will open and close this valve on a signal from a thermostat.
Wireless would be good, but I can also tack wires to the walls if I have to.
From my googling it looks like what I need is a "motorized rotary zone valve actuator" or the like. I don't really know the terminology.
Then I need some way to drive it, and switch it via a thermostat.
A learning thermostat like a Nest would cool, but a more basic programmable one would also be OK.
It would be nice if I could program it to avoid turning on when I'm asleep since they tend to do a bit of ticking and banging when they warm up.
Thanks in advance for any help you can give.


  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 6,377
    edited September 2019
    Do you own this apartment (NYC style) or do you rent (rest of the world)?
    It depends on how the entire system is piped, and what you are actually allowed to do.
    But to replace the valve or add a TRV, you would need access to the boiler/boiler room and the ability to shut down the entire system and drain it.
    It actually could be a good opportunity for the right contractor to come up with a solution that provides comfort to the entire building and saves the building owner money.
    So, you should probably find and expert here:
    and have them come out to advise you and/or talk to your landlord if applicable.
  • agraham
    agraham Member Posts: 2
    I rent. Messing with the plumbing is not an option. I'm looking for a solution that turns the existing valve.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 22,147
    I think you are going to have to MacGyver something with a small motor and some kind of brackets and gear reduction... and control it either a line voltage thermostat or a 24 volt thermostat and transformer and relay...
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • Grallert
    Grallert Member Posts: 599
    Jamie has the right idea but I think you're out of luck really. Without doing some electrical work with line voltage, operating that valve automatically will be nearly impossible. Time to call the super or invent something.
    Miss Hall's School service mechanic, greenhouse manager,teacher and dog walker
  • Jellis
    Jellis Member Posts: 228
    You are describing a Ball valve which is designed to isolate sections of plumbing (On/Off). Its not designed to control the temp in your apartment and not really designed to meter the flow of water in the pipe.
    You should have a thermostat in the apartment that controls the temp.
    That being said if the room is always too hot, closing the Ball valve part way could remedy the situation, but the temp control will be un-reliable and getting a steady temp will be unlikely.
    HVACNUT Member Posts: 5,476
    Hmmm. WiFi Ball Valve Turnerator.
  • Zman
    Zman Member Posts: 7,495
    I saw a product recently that is designed to be a universal ball valve motor for water shut off. I can't for the life of me remember where, but it does exist.
    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 8,866
    raspberry pi or ardruino and an rc servo