Q: I recently bought an apartment in a Brooklyn co-op. It’s a top floor corner apartment, which is wonderful in many ways, but I’m finding out that because my ceiling and two of my walls are exposed, my apartment is *freezing*! I don’t have control over the heat (and it seems foolish, but the radiators are right below the windows, so there’s probably massive heat loss right there.) Any ideas for what I can do to get warmer (besides wearing sweaters!)? I’m not particularly handy, so the less complex the better…
Some suggested answers, compiled for you. Go here to see all responses:
Try using a fan to circulate the air. I had an apartment with baseboard heating right below the windows. A couple of oscillating fans set on low kept the warm air directed towards the inside of the apartment instead of out the windows.
drapes can help with heat loss; that awful plastic you can blow-dry onto the windows works, and you can get an electric plug-in space heater. And wear sweaters. And socks. and a nightcap!
Besides getting a portable convection heater, I would layer the apartment for warmth – cozy rugs, heavy drapes at the windows. Also, put sealers around the windows and at the door threshold – heat is probably escaping from these areas.
I’ve heard of putting bubble wrap over your windows during the colder months….it would impede the view, but not the light coming in since it’s clear. My place is cold too and I hope some others have tips!
I have the same situation in my house, and all of the above suggestions work. Also, if there are radiator covers over the radiators, remove them so that they let the heat move more freely. My radiators have either an aluminum foil covered cardboard piece taped to the wall behind the radiators or another reflective piece of material to help push the heat away from the wall/window. That works great.
Here’s an example of what I mean: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GS5Bb9ZQ5u0
I have a pair of slippers from Eddie Bauer made out of down. Wearing them is like having my feet in sleeping bags. That plus a really warm knit hat really helped when I lived in cold apartments. And I kept a thermos of tea always going.
A crock pot.
Seems ridiculous, but those things sure do throw heat. Start it up in the morning, let it run during the day, and by dinner, you have a toasty apartment and food.
I had a similar problem in an old apartment – no control of the heat, and it was super drafty. My bedroom once got down to 42 degrees F. I kept a heated blanket on my bed, and a space heater at the foot for night time, and then spun the space heater out in the hallway during the day.
I live in a loft with 20 foot ceilings and two walls of solid windows. I love my parabolic heater.
An electric blanket (heated blanket) is a wonderful item! I’m not miserable at night anymore.
All of the suggestions I had in mind are named here, but keep in mind: if it’s something you plug into the wall for heat, your electric bills WILL GO UP. I don’t know much about parabolic heaters, but I know I was in a 3 bedroom apartment that was surrounded by an unheated, uninsulated basement and two empty apartments with the heat turned off. One month it cost us $700 to keep the apartment heated using space heaters. Try for some longer term or insulation solutions first.
Heated mattress pad = best winter purchase EVER.
You can set it up to pre-heat your bed and then turn it off once you get in, if you’re concerned about EMF exposure.
Have you checked whether your radiator shut-off valves are completely open? If your valves are closed or partly closed, the radiators will not have normal heat output. The valve for a steam or hot water radiator will be located near the bottom of the unit, near where the steam or hot water inlet pipe connects. You can test a valve by twisting its control knob closed, then opening it as far as it will turn. You may need to repeat this process a few times especially if there is crud in the line.
The other possible problem may be air in the radiator. In a steam radiator, a small, bell shaped bleeder valve at or near the top of the unit along one of its sides allows air to escape as the unit fills up with air or steam. If the bleeder valve becomes clogged, the radiator will not function at maximum efficiency, meaning all or part of the unit will remain cool or cold to the touch. If your bleeder valve is clogged, replacements can be bought at a local hardware store, or big box hardware retailer.
To replace a steam bleeder valve, while the radiator is cool, simply unscrew the valve from the unit and replace. If you have hot water heat, carefully unscrew, but do not remove the valve, and when water leaks from the threads, retighten the valve. If the radiator still fails to heat, shut the unit’s control valve to stop the hot water flow, and then replace the bleeder valve with a new one. Reopen the control valve after the bleeder valve replacement.