NYC Radiators: 5 Things You Need to Know

the openigloo team

Reading time: 4 minutes

Radiators heat 80% of NYC buildings – and 70% of households reported that those chronically overheated. But what are radiators, how do they work, and what do renters need to know about them to survive NYC winters?

​​Radiators work by drawing heat from water or steam and using that heat to warm up your apartment. They are made from metal because it is an excellent conductor of heat and can usually be found in your apartment windows.  Here are 4 things you should know about NYC radiators.

Radiators are supposed to be scorching hot.

1. Radiators are supposed to be scorching hot.

In NYC, radiators have a few states – overworking, underworking, and in some lucky cases functioning just right! Renters had to open their windows while using radiators in the early 20th century to keep warm. This is because the city wanted to combat airborne illnesses and create ventilation in crowded apartments and buildings. Despite creating sauna-like conditions, your radiator is overheating your apartment as intended.

2. You can’t control them.

While you might want to open or close the knob on your radiator, please remember that it is only an on/off switch. This knob does not control the heat. In fact, if you leave the knob turned only halfway, you might get a lot of steam trapped – which can create a loud clanking sound.

3. You can install a valve to control heat on radiators.

Renters can buy radiator valves to install and control the heat emitting from a radiator. If you are interested in installing one, it’s important to have confirmed permission from your landlord beforehand.

you can install a valve to control heat on radiators

4. You can request a radiator cover from your landlord if you have children under the age of 12 residing with you.

Radiators can be scorching to the touch and can pose a real danger to young children. That’s why in 2013, a New York state bill passed requiring landlords to install radiator covers at the request of a tenant residing with a child aged twelve or younger. A radiator cover is a protector that covers the hot metal pipes but still allows heat to pass through. In accordance with the rules, landlords must pay for the radiator cover installation and have 90 days to do so. If he/she fails to do so, the tenant may install a cover and deduct the cost from the rent.

You can request a radiator cover from your landlord if you have children under the age of 12 residing with you.

5. You may need to bleed your radiator.

You may need to bleed your radiator if it’s not working or making loud clanking noises. As a result, renters must bleed radiators when there is too much trapped air in the pipes. It’s important to bring this to your landlord or super’s attention. Renters should NOT attempt to bleed your radiator on their own. In some cases, boiling water could come spraying out, both burning you and flooding your space.

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