I cant put one in the hallway, its not well heated. I cant trust
tenants either but have one that it works. Years ago I bought a
thermostat with a remote sensor and did not tell the tenant they had
the thermostat and that worked. Best is one that averages several
apartments with remote sensors
How about isntalling thermostates in each apartment that aren't
connected to anything? Gives teh tenants a thrill thinkng they are in
control :) I have often thought of doing that in my house to cut down
on some of the "disagreements".
Because WHEN, not IF the tenant's eventually figure out who to
complain to in the government (in my area it is the local board
of health) and an inspector comes out to check on the situation
and your fake thermostats and the psychological manipulation
of the tenants resulting from their installation will likely serve to
increase whatever fines and penalties result from the units
which are not maintaining the required temperatures deemed
necessary by the AHJ in the minimum standards for human
Installing fake/false/dummy thermostats is a giant red flag
which says "i am a giant douche and rather than fix the
actual problem i am going to install a shiny toy on your
wall and make you think that you have some control over
your environment when in fact you do not"...
Either modernize the central heating system in your old
apartment building with a new control system which
allows you to have temperature sensors in all of the units
but allows you to retain control of the set points as the
landlord -- OR dump your old system and install electric
baseboard heating in all your units and let the tenants
pay to heat their rooms to whatever temperature they
Having a whole building heated off ONE thermostat
is insane... It DOESN'T account for the temperature
changes outside like a weather responsive controller
would NOR does it account for the fact that one side
of the building will be cooler than the other depending
on which way the wind is blowing...
You could covert your old single pipe steam system
into a hot water zoned system where each radiator
is it's own zone and could therefore have its own
thermostat in that room/space using a new controller
and some Pex piping...
Whichever way you choose to resolve this situation,
I would choose one soon and deal with it in a significant
way because the tenants can have you over a barrel
if they complain enough to the local AHJ which could
impose fines on you for your substandard system and
demand that you bring the system up to current codes
in a very rapid period of time in order for you to keep
collecting rent on what are essentially un-rentable units
because your heating system does not properly maintain
the temperatures in the habitable areas of the building...
Look at this symptom as an opportunity to invest in
your property and upgrade the heating system to be
more efficient... You choosing one setting where the
heating system maintains that temperature for one
area of the building where people are not living and
sleeping will definitely get you into trouble eventually...
You dont know too much, converting a low pressure steam system to
handle the pressure of water results in leaks, which can be a major
nightmare ruining the whole operation. You have very old pipe that
never saw the pressure water will introduce, steam leaks are usualy
no big deal, water leaks are a big deal. You assume he isnt supplying
heat and runs a substandard building and that the inspector will screw
him, I dont see that. I heat a 16 unit off one thermostat, its been
that way since 1928, I guess until modern averaging units came out
building owners were insane and tenants cold? BS. He just needs to
learn about venting, and remote sensor thermostats. With todays cheap
computers and option avalaible he can cheaply add a fancy stat he can
monitor, track, chart and adjust from his home.
Who said anything about reusing the existing steam pipes...
You can't turn a one pipe anything system into a zoned
However, if you had actually taken the time to read what I
wrote, I presented two modernization options for this aging
and inadequate heating system: One which would simply
upgrade the controls to be weather responsive and
accommodate UNEVEN heat loss/demand in an old
building by adding proper temperature sensors (not controls)
in the apartment units, and the better one of turning the
system into a zoned hot water system reusing the existing
radiators by fishing a Pex tubing run and return line to each
one and pairing it with it's own theromstat...
You assume that since 1928 the minimum standards for
human habitation have not changed and that there are not
additional fire and health codes that apply to rental properties...
You would be in the wrong on that one there Ransley...
A one thermostat system would NOT PASS an inspection
by the health department who investigate complaints of
inadequate heating in an apartment by placing a temperature
recorder and monitoring the temperature over several 24 hour
I don't have to assume anything about the heat this landlord
is not providing... I know that he has no idea what temperature
the units are other than when he is standing there measuring
it, which is not the same temperature it will be when it is cold
outside (below freezing) and in high winds when the building
will lose more heat; but the thermostat in the protected inner
core of the building will be satisfied and thus not fire the
boiler to provide more heat to the cold apartment units...
When I lived in a 49 apartment, 6 story building, the furnace didn't
seem to go by a thermostat. It had a control marked heat output.
The LL would illegally turn the heat down during the day when most but
by no means all people were at work. I had to use an electric heater
in my bedroom most of the winter. (Story about that omitted.) He also
had the photocell bypassed, so that it woudln't turn the furnace off
when the furnace room in the basement filled with smoke. One man
later told me his baby had gotten sick and died from the cold.
I broke into the furnace room, looked around, found the Heat Output
control, which was set for 5 or 6, say 5. I turned it up to 6,
removed the knob and put it back on pointing at 5. Then I closed up
the furnace room leaving no sign that I had been there. After that,
we were okay for the rest of that winter, and maybe the next winter
too. I never told any of the neighbors what I had done, because I
didn't know who could keep a secret.
I kept a Bic lighter and a spray can of freon when I was in a "controlled
environment" - when I wanted more heat in the winter, I applied a little
freon to the thermostat that was locked in a tamper proof box. When I
wanted more cooling in the summer, a little blast from the Bic did the
trick - until I got careless and partly melted the box. (-;
How high on the wall? That can bring the temperature up as the hot air
rises. Where is the closest radiator to the T-stat?
Have you put thermometers in the apartments to see what the actual
temperature is? Also, remember that the apartments have a high heat loss
through outside walls and windows while the common area is well insulated by
those heated apartments. You may have to set it higher to get the
apartments at proper temperature. During the day, the apartments getting
sun will be warmer also.
Tell each tenant they have to open the interior doors and run a fan to
circulate the air and then things will even out.
Are you serious with that suggestion, Ed? Besides the questions of
privacy, noise, and odors there's also security. I don't know anyone
that would welcome such a request. It's the landlord's responsibility
to provide heat to an apartment, not the tenant's to have to go and
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