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Re: So our boiler self destructed the other night. Questions.
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Odds are he had someone who serviced it for him.


lol. no work ever got (gets) done in the building unless I piss and moan about it. About the only tiny bit of solace I have taken from this is that it's cost the landlord many thousands of dollars to get this replaced, so perhaps he'll learn a lesson about properly maintaining buildings.

Posted on: 2012/1/20 5:20
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Re: So our boiler self destructed the other night. Questions.
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neverleft wrote:
Cory sorry to hear about your heating problems. I take it the landlord is a cheap f’er. He should have had an automatic water monitor/ filler device on the boiler. Talk about worry free!

The fool should have at least had an emergency shutoff when the temperature got too hot or the water too low or the steam pressure too high..the normal things a boiler needs and wants!!!


Good luck


Why do you assume the landlord knew squat about what his boiler didn't have? Odds are he had someone who serviced it for him. I recently looked at buying a 4 unit rowhouse that was burning $12k in oil a year!! And neither the boiler service nor the oil provider gave the owner a clue something was wrong.

Posted on: 2012/1/20 4:29
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Re: So our boiler self destructed the other night. Questions.
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Just for those morbidly curious. Heat was finally restored this afternoon. Hooray.

Posted on: 2012/1/20 2:22
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Re: So our boiler self destructed the other night. Questions.
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Cory sorry to hear about your heating problems. I take it the landlord is a cheap f’er. He should have had an automatic water monitor/ filler device on the boiler. Talk about worry free!

The fool should have at least had an emergency shutoff when the temperature got too hot or the water too low or the steam pressure too high..the normal things a boiler needs and wants!!!


Good luck

Posted on: 2012/1/18 3:14
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Re: So our boiler self destructed the other night. Questions.
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Rent control, but thanks for the attention.

Posted on: 2012/1/18 1:04
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Re: So our boiler self destructed the other night. Questions.
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MDM wrote:
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corybraiterman wrote:
It's been a decade, how much more time should I give.

Given any thought to just finding a better apartment?

Probably 'cause being a martyr doesn't allow it.

Posted on: 2012/1/17 5:31
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Re: So our boiler self destructed the other night. Questions.
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corybraiterman wrote:


It's been a decade, how much more time should I give.


Given any thought to just finding a better apartment?

Posted on: 2012/1/17 1:46
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Re: So our boiler self destructed the other night. Questions.
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Your first question: If the landlord is supplying heat, per city code, it must be kept at a certain temperature. I think its something like 70 F during the day and 68 F at night.


70/65

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If your landlord tries to get the system tuned properly.. I would cut him some slack on the amount of time it takes.


It's been a decade, how much more time should I give.

Posted on: 2012/1/17 1:43
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Re: So our boiler self destructed the other night. Questions.
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Thats part of what I'm asking. If I go and the landlord tells me to get stuffed, am I left holding the bag?

At what point do efforts not constitute best effort. If it's done on Tues, just forget about it? What if I'm heatless for days? A week?



Your first question: If the landlord is supplying heat, per city code, it must be kept at a certain temperature. I think its something like 70 F during the day and 68 F at night. You might want to look it up to make sure what it is (I gave my apartment their own heating units.. so the temperature is whatever the tenant sets it at).

If the landlord doesn't do so, you are entitled to place your rent into an escrow account until the situation is addressed. You cannot simply stop paying rent.

Second Question:Again, its the level of inconvenience.
My M.O. in a broken heat situation where its not something I can fix right away (a boiler always seems to break on a Saturday night where I can't get the part I need until Monday morning):

1. Provide 1 to 3 electric heaters to keep heat going.
2. Give in writing (email) an explanation of what is wrong, what needs to be ordered, and ETA for repairs.
3. Confirm with tenant by phone, text, or email when the repairs are complete.

IMO, if I do that above, I am entitled to rent.

Now to your situation: Since you can't run the electric heaters enough to keep the apartment warm, IMO you would be justified for a reduced rent for this month. Not a free month of rent mind you, since you were still able to use the apartment. The landlord also needs to address the inadequate heat on your floor. If its a single pipe system, he needs to balance the air-bleed valves. If its a two pipe system, he needs fix the shutoff valves (turn off some of the radiators on the lower floors) and adjust the pressure on the boiler.

Or he could (if willing to spend the money) install automatic valves on the radiators tied to a secured thermostat. The radiators on the lower floors would shutoff as the temp reached 70F.

Steam systems are notoriously tricky to balance. Not many heating guys out there that know steam well. If your landlord tries to get the system tuned properly.. I would cut him some slack on the amount of time it takes.

Posted on: 2012/1/16 15:00
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Re: So our boiler self destructed the other night. Questions.
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corybraiterman wrote:
At what point do efforts not constitute best effort. If it's done on Tues, just forget about it? What if I'm heatless for days? A week?

I was told from the J.C. police dept to call (201) 547-4821 and leave a message it is a after hours emergency hotline. I never had a reason to call so I'm not sure of how effective it is. If need be call 911.

Posted on: 2012/1/16 3:35
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Re: So our boiler self destructed the other night. Questions.
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heights wrote:
With a cold apartment likt the one you are on you should go to a hotel till the boiler is fixed and bill the landlord. The City of J.C should get involved.


Thats part of what I'm asking. If I go and the landlord tells me to get stuffed, am I left holding the bag?

Quote:
Generally, your lease will have something about force majeure incidents. As long as the landlord is making best efforts to address the problem, you still must pay rent.


At what point do efforts not constitute best effort. If it's done on Tues, just forget about it? What if I'm heatless for days? A week?

Posted on: 2012/1/16 1:41
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Re: So our boiler self destructed the other night. Questions.
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First of all when living in a fire hazard as you do compliments of your landlord I would never ignore any foreign smells. When you discovered something burning your first instinct should have been to call the fire department immediately ! That boiler's water level should have been monitored daily it was not results surfaced due to ignorance. Space heaters have been known to cause house fires I think a recent one occured somewhere in Hudson County. With a cold apartment likt the one you are on you should go to a hotel till the boiler is fixed and bill the landlord. The City of J.C should get involved. A special thanks to who ever had the brains to call the fire dept.

Posted on: 2012/1/16 0:29
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Re: So our boiler self destructed the other night. Questions.
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When the heat does come back on:

I am assuming the building uses a single or double pipe steam system. You can improve the heat output of the radiators blowing a fan across them. It will have the effect of making the heat transfer surface more effective, which will in turn draw more steam into the radiator (hence more heat output).

I rigged this up in the office that I work at. 1/2 the radiators don't work due to repairs. Installing a fan on one radiator increased the temp from the low 60's to low 70's. Big improvements.

Posted on: 2012/1/15 21:25
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Re: So our boiler self destructed the other night. Questions.
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This is why I am glad that re-wired my properties and insulated them: A couple of space heaters will suffice, even in the dead of winter, to provide emergency heat until repairs can be made.

Generally, your lease will have something about force majeure incidents. As long as the landlord is making best efforts to address the problem, you still must pay rent. Unless the apartment becomes unusable due to the situation. A landlord insurance will typically offer coverage for loss of use (no rent). This would be typically due to fire or severe storm damage (tornado).

Back when I was a tenant, I did ask (and received) for a discount to cover extra heat usage during a wicked cold spell. I had to run my heat extra high to keep the plumbing for the entire building from freezing up.

In the interim, I would strongly recommend you head to the mall and pick up an electric blanket or electric mattress pad. They will at least let you sleep warm while only using a few 100 watts of power.

Posted on: 2012/1/15 21:19
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Re: So our boiler self destructed the other night. Questions.
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http://www.cityofjerseycity.com/uploa ... /HEAT%20NOTICE%202009.pdf


I would call and leave a message on the after-hours number.

Posted on: 2012/1/15 21:17
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So our boiler self destructed the other night. Questions.
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Long post inc, if you want the tl'dr version, skip to the end. Here's the fairly detailed story from about as early as I got, if you don't want the backstory, skip to the 4th paragraph. I live in an 8-unit apartment building that's pretty old. 1917 if I remember right. I've been living here for almost 20 years. The heat has sucked since pretty much forever. The top floor where I live just doesn't get enough heat while the bottom floors are too hot. Despite many complaints to the landlord (who I won't name yet) over the years, this hasn't been fixed, despite attempts to do so with replacing valves, tightening the valves on lower floors, etc.

So far our solution has basically been to just have the heat set fairly high, this way those of us up top can be around 65 or so, however this leaves the bottom floors around 80. It's easy to just open a window to make the bottom floors livable, however it wastes gas. Seeing how none of us in the building pay for the gas in the boiler (we pay for our own usage with stoves, etc.), we're not worrying too much about this cost to the landlord since they haven't been bothered to fix the problem.

Starting early last week, my next door neighbors mentioned they smelled a chemical odor in their apartment, like something was burning. I didn't notice anything in my place, so I didn't think much of it, and just assumed it was something random. Friday night, I get home from work and notice a smell that I thought was some paint. I figured that since my house-mate was doing some fixing in his room, that it was just some spray paint or varnish or something that he did before he left for work that just hadn't cleared up. After a couple minutes I didn't notice the odor anymore.

A couple hours later, the smoke alarms in the hallway go off. Everyone runs to their doors, none of us see or smell any smoke, but figure something's wrong and we better get out, if nothing else because the alarms are incredibly loud. As I make my way downstairs, I notice that same acrid, burning smell in the hallway.

It turns out that there was no water in the boiler. It started to overheat and melted the plastic on the dials, which is what we were smelling. When someone went into the basement to put their garbage in the bins, it let out enough of the burnt plastic polluted air into the stairwell to set off the alarms.

So I called the emergency management number for the building, as it was after hours. That got me to basically just a secretary who "tries to page the building manager." I turned off the emergency switch to the boiler and we opened both doors to let the acrid air out. In the mean time, someone had called the fire department who came in under 10 min with four fire trucks. The innards of the boiler were glowing orange hot, and they shut off the gas to it as well.

A guy from PSE&G showed up and basically took a look, but there wasn't anything he could do either, since it was far too hot to do any work on it. While we were waiting for the basement to cool off and the alarm-setting air to get out, I called up the building's emergency # again and spoke to the same lady at their answering service. She told me that they had a hold of the super (we don't actually have a super in the building, so I'm not sure who she was talking about), but then his phone shut off. Right.

So no one from the building came until the next morning. They determined that the boiler was broken, and would need to be replaced. Early in the afternoon, they sent some guys over to drop off 2 space heaters per apartment to help keep us warm after a pretty damn cold night. However, here's the next problem, the wiring in the building sucks. We're unable to turn the heaters up to anything past low (600 watts) without blowing the fuses. One of my neighbors had to reset her box after turning on her hair dryer. I got careless and had to schlep down to the basement from the top floor to reset mine because I turned the microwave on.

Basically they don't do jack. I woke up this morning and with both of the heaters on low - one in my room, one in the front room, the thermometer I have in the center of the apartment read 52.

So to sum up, there's no heat, and the earliest it could be replaced is Tuesday, which is more like Thursday in landlord speak. The "heaters" we were given can't be used past a level of ineffectiveness. I currently have my oven turned on and the oven-door open to get SOME heat. I'm sitting around in thermals and layers, wearing batting gloves to keep my hands warm and still be able to type.

Some background on the building. Again we don't have a super, just some dude who comes by twice a week to take out the garbage and the recyclables. I'm kind of pissed with that guy, because he was in the basement on Thursday night, so he had to have smelled that, as the boiler is mere feet away from the garbage bins. Had he taken ANY effort to look at it, he'd have seen there was an issue, which might have prevented this whole sh^#show from happening. This guy has been constantly lax, missing garbage days, not changing bunt light bulbs in the hallway until someone (me) complains, not maintaining the foyer, etc. etc.

What are my options here. If I have to bail to a hotel, is my landlord liable for the bill? Can I deduct the cost of my electric and gas bill for the month to them? Am I sh#& out of luck? I know there are some landlords on here as well, what's the response you'd be doing at this point?

Posted on: 2012/1/15 21:03
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