I pay for heat in an apartment and want to encourage the tenants to
turn off the electric baseboard heat whenever possible. In the dining
room, kitchen, living room, hallways, and bathrooms (but not bedrooms)
can I install a 120V light on one pole of the 240V baseboard circuit
such that a single switch controls the light and the baseboard heat?
This way if they want to turn off the light when they leave the room
they MUST also turn off the baseboard. They can, of course, always
leave the room with the light on if they still want the heat to run.
So instead of paying just for heat, you'll also be paying for the light. If
you are lucky, they will unscrew the bulb and just leave the heat on. How
will you leave sufficient heat on if the tenant goes away for a few days in
I'd either get some sort of programmable thermostat or a better class of
tenant. Most don't give a damn about you, but do have a desire to keep warm
and will bypass the most restrictive system if you force them into it.
If you were heating your entire house to a certain temperature using
electric resistance heat then it doesn't matter how efficient your
electrical appliances are or how many you leave on, lights included,
because all the energy they use will eventually be turned into heat and
the electric baseboards will cycle off slightly sooner. The entire
energy consumption of the home will remain the same.
if I were a tenant, I would take out the light bulb or put in one that was
burnt out and run the heat exactly the way I felt necessary. I once had a
landlord that put metal lock boxes over the thermostats so only he could
control the heat (this wasn't in the lease, he did it to all his apartments
after we moved in) In the summer I hung a heating pad over the lock box so
the a/c would be on and in the winter I put those frozen blue bottles that
are normally used for ice chest and lunch boxes in it so that the heat would
If you have it in the lease, that's one thing ... otherwise ppl will easily
be able to outthink or over ride your attempt at controlling the temp in
their own home.
~Kat who is very happy she owns her own home now and doesn't have to deal
with LL BS.
While not an answer to your question, this thread reminded me that back
during the first "energy crisis" in the early '70s, this road warrier
encountered more than one motel room where the management had installed
a push switch operated by the bolt of the room's entrance door's "dead
bolt" security lock.
That switch controlled power to the usual "through the wall" A/C unit
and the lights and outlets in the room except for one small overhead
light just inside the doorway. All the other things wouldn't work until
you locked the deadbolt.
It made sense to me, though it was a bit of a PIA when you opened the
door to let someone in. I suppose they could have made it a bit more
sophisticated with a time delay circuit which didn't kill the power to
things until the deadbolt had been unlocked for a few minutes.
That was also an time when hotel managements saved power by putting
ridiculously low wattage lightbulbs in the rooms, making it
uncomfortably difficult to read at night. I know I was not the only guy
whose travel kit included a 75 watt bulb packed in a rubber banded
hollowed out pair of styrofoam blocks.
Thanks for the mammaries,
This would probably violate local building codes, would be dangerous,
might violate your agreement to provide heat, and would be real easy to
You're supposed to have figured the electricity use into the rent. If you
screwed up wait till you can increase the rent.
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