Air conditioning flip in large apartment building

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Topic: Air conditioning flip in large apartment building

Home and Garden April 11, 2013 at 9:13 am

Air conditioning flip in large apartment building


I live in an otherwise wonderful apartment building but the building has not turned on the A/C.  It is an older building and so the entire building has to be switched from heat to cooling.  It has been hot, hot, hot the last few days and the managment is being fairly relaxed about the changeover.  I assume they have to balance the future forecast and the “needs” of all residents, but from the 11th floor we are sweating it out…Anyone else had success advocating for an earlier switchover?

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My building actually sent out a preemptive note telling everyone that is wasn’t worth complaining and we should buy an in-room heater or a/c unit if we knew these inbetween days would be bothering us. I don’t think there is really anything to do except wait it out.

I am not an expert, but I did have to gather some information on this at one point: I believe they are responsible for maintaining a minimum temperature in the building, but there is no rule about maximum.In other words they have to give you heating but not A/C. If I’m not right I hope someone will correct me but I think you’re on your own until they decide to turn on the A/C. (plus I think it’s supposed to be cooler again anyway.)

You won’t be able to make them budge. The reason the buildings wait it out is because they can get into big trouble if they switch it over too early and there is a late-season freeze for which their residents don’t have heat. Like gdopplerxt said, they must be able to maintain a minimum temperature in the building. I would just relax about it- it hasn’t really gotten THAT hot/humid and it cools off at night anyways. I haven’t even been running my A/C, and I have the option to. Buy a fan if you’re uncomfortable, with the low humidity that should be more than sufficient.

If you’re in the District, the law is that heat must be provided from October 15 to May 15. Most jurisdictitons around here have similar requirements. We worked it out with my building management that they turn off the heat from 6AM until 10 or 11PM on days the temp is supposed to be over 70. Not perfect, but does help keep the place cooler, especially for the apartments on the upper floors on the south side of the building. The problem with the older central systems is that it takes 24-48 hours to switch between cooling and heating because it relies on cold or hot water circulating through pipes that chilled or warmed air blows over into the rooms. It takes a good amount of time to change water temperature.
A few years back, my building caved to complaints about it being too hot and switched over to a/c in mid-April! That was way, way too early and everyone was then freezing for the next month. Unfortunately, there is no ideal solution for the older buildings unless they replace the central system with individual HVAC units. (My building is doing that, but it will be like another 3 years before the renovation is finished and they can make the cutover.) It’s almost like clockwork that the moment the system transitions, the weather immediately goes the opposite direction for a few days to drive everyone up the wall.
Fans and small heaters are always a good idea to have on hand…never know when the main system might go down. Do be sure that heaters are kept away from anything flammable, like curtains, bedding, upholstered furniture, and don’t sit directly on carpeting/rugs.

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