Hot water radiators not working [top floor house converted to apartments]


Old 04-02-19, 06:14 PM
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Hot water radiators not working [top floor house converted to apartments]

Hii everyone thanks for your help its my first post trying to troubleshoot a big issue with heat in my apartment. My 1 bedroom unit has 5 hot water heaters but the thermostat for the entire building is in somebody else's 1bedroom basement unit. (ridiculous right?)
The old hot water radiators stay off for sometimes weeks at a time in the fall / spring.
My landlord cranked the heat up once and "bled" the heaters, + they do work in the winter.
If we know there is no air trapped in the heaters, could this be a pressure issue? if everybody on the floors below me has their heater's water valves wide open, it seems the problem wold be that there isnt any water being pushed up to my top floor unit..

can anyone tell me if this logic makes sense? if i believe the person with the thermostat when they say they have never turned the heat off, does this mean it HAS to be a pressure issue? does it make sense to suggest to my neighbors that they turn their individual control valves off (rather than opening their windows....) if they dont want heat from a specific heater? would this help with getting more pressure to the top floor?

thanks so much
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Old 04-02-19, 09:23 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

I moved your thread to the boiler forum and changed the title.
You have radiators that are heated by a hot water boiler...... correct ?

What about the landlord ? He should be supplying you with heat. He should be making the repairs.
One thermostat controlling the heat for more than one apartment has always been a problem.

Without us seeing everything you have there...... we can only be of limited help. It can be very hard to control the heat in different units that don't have their own thermostats. If it's a steam system.... there is some control at each radiator. If it's a hot water system....there's little to nothing you can do.

It could be a low boiler pressure problem if this is a hot water system.... not steam.
Old 04-03-19, 03:18 AM
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On a cold day when your apartment is cold and you feel that the boiler should be firing, open a vent valve on 1 of your radiators to see if water escapes. If you get water (remove enough water to fill a small container) , then the system pressure is high enough. Also try this on a warm day when the heating system is off. Try this a few different times with varied outdoor temperatures. If you get a little air followed by no water or you get nothing, then the system pressure is too low. If you get water every time but no hot water then the system pressure is OK but there is a system problem. Turning off a particular heater or several will not effect your heating or lack of heating. Is there any other type of heating control other than the wall thermostat you referenced?
Old 04-03-19, 01:13 PM
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Although as the other 2 posts mentioned sufficient pressure is always necessary and low pressure could definitely be a problem but I'm looking at this a little differently.

You mentioned in the cold weather you do have heat. That is telling me that you have sufficient pressure, although you can verify by opening a vent to make sure water comes out.

One stat means 1 pump which means everyone is on the same zone and when the stat calls and the burner and pump come on, everyone on that zone will get heat if they want it or not. Unless there is a problem such as a leak or someone has worked on the system, a system does raise and lower pressure on its own so if you have enough pressure for heat when it's cold it will be there when it's warmer.

If the pressure is boaderline then it's possible that you only have enough when the pump is running which will boost the pressure somewhat. Trying to be diplomatic here but no matter what the person with the stat is saying my guess is that the stat is not calling.

If you have access to the basement you can check yourself to see if the pump is running and the boiler temp and pressure. NO PUMP, NO HEAT., simple. It's a poor set up to begin with and depending how the system is piped there are things that can be done. If checking boiler pressure you want at least 20psi with the boiler and pump off. That is what we call cold pressure. At 20psi that water will rise to over 40 ft. and more with the pump on.

The simplest thing to do is to have the person with the stat turn it up and see if you get heat. The problem may be that the stat is still on but at the location it is in is just warm enough so it just isn't calling for heat which will effect your colder apartment.

Hope this helps a little.
Old 04-03-19, 04:17 PM
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Type o in my last post. A system does not raise and lower pressure on its own. If you have enough on cold days you'll the same on warmer days.
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