Thermostat setting in hallway vs actual temperature in apartment

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Just curious if anyone runs into this problem with common area thermostats.
In an apartment bldg, if the T-stat is set at 70, and if the tenants still complain its too cold, could it be the location of the T-stat not calling for heat?
Reason I ask is that the T-stat in my Apt bldg is in a common hallway on the 2nd floor, up high on the wall in a tamper-proof box. And on a cold night I was down there, the actual temp in the hallway says 70 on the T-stat (T-stat does not call for heat until it drops below 70), but in the apt itself it feels colder, maybe 65. I feel as if maybe where the T-stat is its warmer. So to compensate for this, I raised it to 72. So far I have not heard complaints. But is this usually a problem where T-stats are mounted in common areas, and you have to try and find that "sweet spot?"
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It will be next to impossible to have even heat in the whole building using one thermostat regardless of it's location. Currently when it's set for 70, your apt is 65, so if you want your apt to be 70, you'll have to raise the stat, and the temp in the hall to 75.
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Right. Don't get hung up on the number on the thermostat. That simply tells you the temperature at the thermostat. Whatever temperature it is in the rooms that are in question, checked with a thermometer, find the difference with the thermostat and start moving the thermostat setting in the direction you want to go in the room. If the room is low, adjust the thermostat upwards. Creep up on it through several days' heating cycles.
Don't think that you're wasting money because the thermostat is reading 80 F, or whatever. The only reading that matters is in the occupied rooms. You need to have those rooms at the desired temperature, regardless of what the thermostat is reading. You won't be 'wasting' money if the thermostat is at 80 F and the rooms are at the desired temperature. That's exactly the setting it is supposed to be, and you'll be spending the exact amount of money to heat the place to that temperature.
Of course a lower setting on the thermostat will decrease the heating bill, and that's part of the reason why the thermostat was put so high up on the wall. It's part to keep people from messing with it, and part so the landlord could say, "Hey! It's 75 F in here, why are you complaining about being cold?!"
R
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Thanks for the replies.
When I fired up the boiler for the first time last month, I cranked it to 80 for about an hour and checked each apt to see if the radiators were getting hot, which they were. And I also replaced any suspect air valves. So the radiators themselves are fine. Its just the setting on the T-stat. This is my first winter with this bldg. The old landlord had a Honeywell single dial T-stat set at one temp 24 hrs. Not real energy efficient, so I replaced it with a programmable one.
I also told each tenant don't bother calling me to complain about the heat if your A/C's are still in the windows. God I hate when people do that.
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Did you replace the vents with all the same type/model? If you did, the building will heat unevenly.
R
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What sort of heating do you have?
R
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Gas/ steam, with cast iron radiators in the apts.
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There is no way to balance a steam-heated building by adjusting a single thermostat in all weather conditions. You're picking the "least sucky" location for the thermostat and trying to tweak things from there. You should make sure that everyone understands that the radiator valve on a steam radiator does not adjust the heat. It's binary - it's either all the way open, or all the way closed, and they shouldn't dick around with it. People mess with the valves and that makes your job of balancing the system frustrating.
After that point is made, then you start looking at the air vents (they're commonly called steam vents, but they're not supposed to vent steam, just air). They don't last forever, and they will get clogged if you have dirty water. Hint - you do - it's the nature of the beast. Gorton makes some excellent non-adjustable vents. http://www.gorton-valves.com/specify.htm
There are adjustable vents that will let the tenant make some adjustments. Radiators that you want to pull more heat should vent air more quickly, and radiators that you want to retard the heating should vent more slowly.
An old trick is to turn the vent upside down - that effectively prevents air from escaping (on some air vents) and shuts off the radiator. I do not recommend doing this. Your tenants will screw it up and you'll be breaking out the taps to clear out the broken stub.
If you want a more expensive and more highly tweakable solution, Honeywell, Danfoss, Macon and others all make thermostatic steam radiator valves with controls. If it's one pipe steam, check out the Macon OPSK (it's the only model number I know off the top of my head, but it's a little higher priced than some other solution. Super easy to install, and it will allow the tenant to adjust the heating rate at a particular radiator.
There are also solutions using linked thermostats. Poke around on heatinghelp.com for the particulars of both alternatives.
R
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Put it in an apartment in a locked box.
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I used to live in an apartment with an interior hallway, and the thermostat in the hallway. In cold windy weather the rooms were much colder than the hallway and the thermostat had to be set high to get them warm enough. No big deal.
What doesn't work is if two separate apartments on different sides of the building share a thermostat. Is that the case here?
    Una
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Isn't an interior hall the place where the thermos are supposed to be?
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I replaced the air valves with the appropiate type, with the furthest one getting the valve that vents the quickest. All the radiators seem to get hot at the same time.
The T-stat is on the second floor of a 3 story bldg. It is about 8 1/2 feet high on the wall, you need a ladder to get to it. There is one big radiator on the first floor hallway.
As far as checking each apt, I did go into one apt the night I went down there and although I did not have a thermometer, it did seem cooler in there.
There are several 3 story apt bldgs in the area, and from what I gather, the T-stat is in the hallways. So I think it's just a matter of tweaking the setting to what everyone is happy with. At least at night when everyone sleeps I programmed the T-stat to a lower temp of 68 so I know the boiler is not on as much.
I guess I'll know when I get the next gas bill.
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That 8 1/2' mark may be a 2 degree difference, even more depending on the path of convection. With one radiator on the bottom floor, hot air is rising and it may be following the path right past the T-stat. Cooler air is at the stair tread level going in the opposite direction. Take a candle and watch the flame. When I have the wood burning stove going in the downstairs family room, there is quite a difference in air flow in the stairwell in the hallway.
If you leave the T-stat at that height, forget the temperature, use the numbers as a guide to what you want to have inside the apartments. #78 on the indicator may equal 70 degrees in the rooms.
In any case, I doubt you'll ever had every tenant happy with the temperature at all times. I can't even do that at home iwht just the two of us.
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Usually, but in a house, air circulates between rooms making it a better representation. In my house, the closed door bedrooms are cooker than the other rooms.
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I have forced air heat now. That means by closing the bedroom doors at night they get warmer than the rest of the house.
    Una
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On 11/14/2010 1:33 PM, Una wrote:

Classic sign of a builder that cheaped out and didn't put air returns in EVERY room like you are supposed to. It was confusing to me when I started looking at houses other than the ones built by my father's company, and only saw that one big-ass air return in the hallway.
--
aem sends...

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snipped-for-privacy@att.net (Una) wrote in

I have forced air heat for years. BRs are always colder. They're farthest from the furnace.
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They don't have to be. The system needs balancing. Even a simple thing like partly closing the registers in other rooms to force more air to the distant rooms.
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I have forced air in my split -level home, and the BR's are actually the warmest, even though they are furthest away from the furnace. Probably because they are on the upper level, and heat rises.
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Thats something I wanted to avoid. If it was a tenant I could trust and who was knowledgeable about heating and maintenance, then maybe.
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