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Old 11-26-2016, 06:02 AM
 
Location: Eric Forman's basement
1,703 posts, read 1,671,188 times
Reputation: 872

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A friend of mine moved into a studio last year and is having problems with her bathroom being very cold. She has a typical studio layout, a main room about 20 feet long and 12 feet wide, with a large window at the far end. Under the window is an HVAC unit, and that is her only source of heat.

Her kitchen is at the opposite end of the main room, and behind that is the bathroom. There's no window there, and the bathroom is on an outside wall. Last year during a cold spell her pipes froze. Since then, a building has gone up on the other side of her wall, but there is a gap between her building and the new one. Her bathroom is still really cold.

I bet lots of people live in similar apartments, and I can't imagine that all these bathrooms are cold. Does anyone have any suggestions? She pays for her own heat, so she's not keen on getting a space heater. But of course she will if there's no alternative. Thanks for any ideas. Other than this problem, it's a very nice building.
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Old 11-26-2016, 06:27 AM
 
18,318 posts, read 11,718,581 times
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If your friend pays her own heating, then there is little other option than a space heater. I'd opt for an oil filed radiator over something that blows hot air, and of course whatever is chosen it must be kept well away from water/bathing. There are also small ceramic heaters that work well in bathrooms.


Gap between new building and her own is likely result of zoning/where the property lines are drawn. Nothing different about this for detached housing.


Bathrooms are often chilly even with building provided heat, especially during the between periods of Spring and Fall when the heat is off but it is chilly outside. As such many both in private homes and apartments use space heaters in or near the bath to make things comfortable. Many new condos or homes have separate radiant (under floor) and or heated towel racks (that will also heat the bathroom), as a way to cope with this situation.


Unlike with air conditioning using fan to circulate heat from the living area to bathroom may not work out well. The breeze caused by movement of air while welcome when hot will cool off any heated air moved and also feel like a draft.
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Old 11-26-2016, 09:00 AM
 
Location: Manhattan
20,182 posts, read 26,493,095 times
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I would use a small floor fan blowing into the bathroom through the NEVER CLOSED doorway. <I'll bet the door was closed when the pipes froze.>


If she wants to go the added heat route then I recommend a small ceramic heater (Like 9" x 9" x 4") ideally wall mounted to avoid shocks with a damp floor. I'd advice against the radiator type because they take up too much valuable real estate and the fourth time you kick it barefoot at 4 AM it will wind up in the dumpster. They are all 1500 watts anyways so smaller is better.


Tenant paid electric heat is a cruel trick...should be disallowed. Electricity is too high a quality energy to be wasted as a heat source.


I have lived in such a "modern" building for a couple decades. What happens is that people go away for extended periods of time and think they can get away with no heat. Not so.




Mac, did your friend's developer actually put plumbing in an outside wall? That's just nuts.

Last edited by Kefir King; 11-26-2016 at 09:15 AM..
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Old 11-26-2016, 10:05 AM
 
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Has she complained to the landlord? Newer buildings where apartments are equipped with individual heat pumps will usually have auxiliary heating units in the bathroom or an infra red heat lamp built into the bathroom ceiling.
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Old 11-26-2016, 10:48 AM
 
499 posts, read 368,722 times
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yea i would never live in a "modern" building with tenant paid electric heat. That has disaster written all over it and is just basically the landlord pocketing extra rent.

Give me an old school radiator anyday.

and yes electric heat is such a waste of energy... I was considering buying a newly built condo at one point until I learned about this "new" tenant paid electric heat and how much it would cost.
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Old 11-26-2016, 11:01 AM
 
Location: Manhattan
20,182 posts, read 26,493,095 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eddiep83 View Post
and yes electric heat is such a waste of energy... I was considering buying a newly built condo at one point until I learned about this "new" tenant paid electric heat and how much it would cost.

The spin they put on it to sell this awful technology is calling it "tenant controlled heat." If they called it "tenant PAID heat," they would get far fewer nibbles.
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Old 11-27-2016, 10:10 AM
 
Location: Eric Forman's basement
1,703 posts, read 1,671,188 times
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I agree that having tenants pay for heat is a super lousy deal for residents, especially in 80/20 buildings. The electric bill can be quite high and an unpredictable expense. It shouldn't be allowed. For low-income people on a budget, having to account for that every month is killer. But who's going to turn down an apartment if you're actually lucky enough to get picked and qualify? And I guess the market rate people are affluent enough to not worry about it.

And Kefir King, yes, the developer put the plumbing on an outside wall. Why would the city approve such a plan? I don't know.

Last year, my friend wasn't too concerned about this, even after the pipes froze during one of the cold spells we had. She thought the new building going up next door would provide a block for the wind. But her bathroom is still chilly, and the weather hasn't been too bad yet as it's only November. She said she has to run the hot water for a full minute before it starts to get warm.

She is going to contact the building manager and the super and hope they can come up with a more permanent solution! Ideally the outside of the building could be insulated. Seems to me the insulation should be in that wall already, but from the sound of it, that didn't happen. Short of that, the building should arrange for some kind of a heat source for all the apartments in the line! Thanks for the suggestions!

Last edited by macnyc2003; 11-27-2016 at 10:22 AM..
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Old 11-27-2016, 12:41 PM
 
9,973 posts, read 8,471,531 times
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I would file complaint with the buildings department and ask for an inspection. If they find the temperature in the room isn't up to the mandated minimum, they can require the LL to fix the problem (better installion, add a heater in the room, etc.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by macnyc2003 View Post
A friend of mine moved into a studio last year and is having problems with her bathroom being very cold. She has a typical studio layout, a main room about 20 feet long and 12 feet wide, with a large window at the far end. Under the window is an HVAC unit, and that is her only source of heat.

Her kitchen is at the opposite end of the main room, and behind that is the bathroom. There's no window there, and the bathroom is on an outside wall. Last year during a cold spell her pipes froze. Since then, a building has gone up on the other side of her wall, but there is a gap between her building and the new one. Her bathroom is still really cold.

I bet lots of people live in similar apartments, and I can't imagine that all these bathrooms are cold. Does anyone have any suggestions? She pays for her own heat, so she's not keen on getting a space heater. But of course she will if there's no alternative. Thanks for any ideas. Other than this problem, it's a very nice building.

This is the way most of the country works. You'll never see a new building built without it. Especially as energy efficiency becomes more of an issue, the concept of buildingwide heat going on in October and roasting the building till April is going to go away. The city is going to only want heat used as necessary and only as much as necessary.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kefir King View Post
The spin they put on it to sell this awful technology is calling it "tenant controlled heat." If they called it "tenant PAID heat," they would get far fewer nibbles.
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Old 11-27-2016, 05:03 PM
 
18,318 posts, read 11,718,581 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BBMW View Post
I would file complaint with the buildings department and ask for an inspection. If they find the temperature in the room isn't up to the mandated minimum, they can require the LL to fix the problem (better installion, add a heater in the room, etc.)




This is the way most of the country works. You'll never see a new building built without it. Especially as energy efficiency becomes more of an issue, the concept of buildingwide heat going on in October and roasting the building till April is going to go away. The city is going to only want heat used as necessary and only as much as necessary.


This is not exactly true.


Those mandated minimum temperatures only apply where the LL directly provides heat. The building code and NYC laws only state that a residential building must *supply* heat in that some sort of system or whatever must be provided when the building is built or otherwise, it does not mandate only LL controlled heat.


For the record some have no problem with PTAC units, that is sales at certain buildings where they are installed haven't suffered. Heating/Cooling Unit as


Thing about PTAC is same with any other heat source; you really need to leave the units on for a good part of the day, otherwise the place will always feel cold.


Out of Ideas! $400/month for 800sqf, GE PTAC


All this being said complaining to LL about "insane" electric bills due to PTAC can have results:
Renters Upset About "Insane" ConEd Bills to Heat Crown Heights Luxury Building | Brownstoner
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Old 11-28-2016, 06:58 AM
 
Location: Manhattan
20,182 posts, read 26,493,095 times
Reputation: 9054
THe City and State have to mandate minimum standards of insulation in rental buildings where heat is not supplied by the landlord. No more "motel standards" and then calling your building "luxury."


My last building had outside walls with drywall over metal studs over decorative masonry. No insulation at all. Between floors, concrete and a thin parquet. Downstairs neighbor would go South for every Winter: so did all my heat. I took to heating the place with landlord supplied cooking gas, with some ingenious venting and several CO testers. I had the only warm apartment in the complex. Gas off at night, and under the electric blankets. Neighbors had $400 bills, I had $40.


An aside:
You are a judge. Pipes in an electrically heated, poorly insulated, apartment freeze, burst, and flood.
Tenant says: Rotten design>>>landlord responsible for damage
Landlord says: Negligent tenant kept heat off>>>tenant responsible.

How would a learned judge, or an intelligent juror rule?


mac, Who paid for your friends burst pipes?

Last edited by Kefir King; 11-28-2016 at 07:14 AM..
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