Well, it is officially winter so, unless you live in Florida, it is time to crank up the heat! But what is your heating situation? Is it floor heating? Central heating? A space heater? Or does your home have an old-fashioned radiator?
What are all those knobby things? Can you touch it? Should you twist it to the left or to the right? Will it burn you? Can you dry your clothes on it? Can you sit on it? How do you use the damn thing without hurting yourself?
Look, nothing is worse than shivering in your own home, so you’re going to have to use it at some point. Here are some tips to help keep you safe and warm (but not too hot) while you are tinkering with your radiator this winter.
Bad! You may think that adjusting or removing the air vent or valve will make your house warmer, but that is not the case. All this will do is release more steam into the room which is not going to provide the heat that you are seeking.
The vent should be all the way open if you are not using the heater and all the way closed if you are using it. If you hear banging this may mean that there is a leak and the heater may have to be fixed.
On a super cold day you may think that the best thing to do is go to the boiler room and turn up the pressure. Don’t do it. This will not actually help you because high pressure steam actually moves slower than low pressure steam, slowing down the heating process.
If you don’t want to spend the money, but want to cover it up fast, you can also use a fireproof blanket as a cheap alternative to cover your radiator. This will also help keep the heat down a bit if it is too hot in your apartment.
For example: In New York City, if the temperature outside falls under 55 degrees between 6am and 10pm, the inside temperature has to be at least 68 degrees. If the outside temperature falls below 40 degrees between 10pm and 6am, the inside temperature must be at least 55 degrees.
Check your local laws to see if your building is up to code and adhering to the laws. If all else fails, use a space heater as a temporary fix to at least keep warm in your own home. If you feel like your building is not abiding to the law, many states have the phone number 311 to call and they will answer any questions that are non-emergencies in the community.