2006_12_heating.jpgMy apartment is freezing. It's freezing outside. I just can't win. How can I keep my apartment warm and not break the bank?With Friday feeling like the first official day of winter, it's good to address the heating issues in your apartment. Now is a also good time to replace the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

First off, dress appropriate for the season. It is the perfect time to make use of those mismatched socks you can't wear out in public. Put on an extra layer or two.

Then inspect your apartment. Make sure that your windows are shut and properly sealed tight to reduce drafts. If your apartment is like our office, your windows have multiple gaping holes letting in the cold air. One way to deal with that is to get weather sealant tape, and just tape around the windows. Make sure your windows are clean - dust and grime will reduce the stickiness of the tape. Install covers on your air conditioners. Close curtains at night, but leave them open on east, south and west windows during the day for solar heating. Don't block the radiators or baseboard heat with furniture, rugs or other items, for maximum efficiency. Air that is more humid will feel warmer, so keep the humidity between 20-40% and you can lower your thermostat without feeling cold. Close off areas of your apartment that you do not often use, heating only the areas you use frequently. If you live in a multiple floor apartment, close the vents on upper floors and allow the heat from lower floors to naturally rise. If you do winter baking in an oven, while the oven is cooling, leave the door open to release the heat into the rest of your apartment. However, do not use a gas oven to heat your apartment. This can result in carbon monoxide poisoning. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include sleepiness, headaches sand dizziness. If you suspect this, you should ventilate the area and go to the hospital.

It is currently Heat Season in NYC, which means between October 1st and May 31st, building owners are required to provide heat under the following conditions:
"Between the hours of 6:00 AM and 10:00 PM, if the outside temperature falls below 55 degrees, the inside temperature is required to be at least 68 degrees Fahrenheit; and, between the hours of 10:00 PM and 6:00 AM, if the temperature outside falls below 40 degrees, the inside temperature is required to be at least 55 degrees Fahrenheit."

If you do not have heat yet you should first attempt to deal directly with the building owner, management or superintendant. If that does not work, call 311 and they will work with (or without if they are unresponsive) the building owners to get heat restored.