Room Heating



  • So apparently, the heating system in my building works as follows.  The temperature in each room is measured.  The highest temperature is taken, and then all the individual heaters/air conditioners are adjusted according to that temperature.  There is apparently no way to deal with rooms that are exceptionally hot or cold relative to the rest of the building.  Is this common?  It's a serious problem when your room is apparently 15 degrees or so colder than the hottest room and it's a cold winter night.

     The result is the building is putting plastic over all my windows to try to insulate the room better, while a perfectly good heater sits dormant.



  • Is this an apartment, or a college dorm or something?  Every apartment I've lived in has had its own heater/AC.  The dorms were a similar setup to yours, but tended to be too hot, so you could just open a window to cool down (but no AC in the warmer months, so then you were screwed).

    The plastic thing sounds strange though.  Have you thought of just buying a space heater?  Come to think of it, I knew a few people in the dorms who did that, even though they were considered a fire hazard.  Nobody said anything, cause we all had something or another that violated fire code.



  •  The heat in my house works as follows: there is none so I have a radiator space heater. However I can't run it on high because I blow a fuse. I live on the upper floor and there's no insulation (nope: none) just the roof. So when I get home tonight I expect the temperature to be about 50F (10C) and I should be able to get it up to 63 or so (17C) by the time I go to bed but it won't stay there, it will probably be about 53F (11.6C) when I wake up. 53F is 15 below the recommended 68F as set forth by the Carter administration so what's the serious problem? I'm still alive, been dealing with this for over 15 years ... get a sweatshirt. Also, if you can type with gloves on that may help ;-)



  • I worked at a place where the building's heating and a/c was divided in two, by hallway.  One hallway (the main one) had the "server room" (conference room minus furniture) off of it and so the boss kept the a/c on permanently in the summer and the heat down around 60 in winter.  My office fortunately was off the other hallway where we could set the thermostat to a more reasonable temperature, but the boss' wasn't - so he wore sweaters constantly.  I didn't, of course, but that meant that I would go into his office in my short-sleeve shirt and shiver while I looked over his shoulder as he would describe in lengthy detail how he wanted me to clean up the next customer's data.  The corner office at the intersection of the hallway was an odd temperature...  but then, there was a desktop-turned-server in there, too.

    Yeah, The Real WTF(tm) was that boss.

    Less of a WTF, but still odd, is the furnace in my apartment, which is always blowing air, whether or not it's heating.  It heats correctly to the temperature I set, but once it gets to that temperature it simply turns off the heating element but not the fan.  It makes the bedroom cold :(

    On topic, I'm told that the thermostats in the teacher's offices in the Electrical Engineering building on campus are set to specific temperatures by whoever maintains the air system - and the teachers literally get irate calls if they change their thermostat by even one degree.  But at least the thermostats work as expected.  I guess the per-room thermostat would be if they were only interested in a max and min temperature?  Maybe they were just lazy and only one thermostat is actually hooked up to anything ;)



  • I'm lucky I've got my own heater I can control. It doesn't have a switch, but it has a slider with the number of desired degrees and a snowflake between 5° and 10°C to indicate the cutoff point for the heater. Or so you would think, right?

    Whenever I want to let in some fresh air, I turn the heater all the way down and open the window above it wide. Since it's usually between -5° and -10°C outside, the temperature quickly drops to below 5°C, and obviously my heater turns on.



  • @HonoreDB said:

    So apparently, the heating system in my building works as follows.  The temperature in each room is measured.  The highest temperature is taken, and then all the individual heaters/air conditioners are adjusted according to that temperature.  There is apparently no way to deal with rooms that are exceptionally hot or cold relative to the rest of the building.  Is this common?  It's a serious problem when your room is apparently 15 degrees or so colder than the hottest room and it's a cold winter night.

    This is usually because the only control the heating system has is to switch the boiler on or off - most older residential heating systems don't have individually controlled valves for each room. 



  • My team and I work in a building with a bunch of engineers.  In the summer, we fight with them over what's a reasonable temperature.  Especially since one of the vents is directly over my desk.



  • @Faxmachinen said:

    I'm lucky I've got my own heater I can control. It doesn't have a switch, but it has a slider with the number of desired degrees and a snowflake between 5° and 10°C to indicate the cutoff point for the heater. Or so you would think, right?

    Whenever I want to let in some fresh air, I turn the heater all the way down and open the window above it wide. Since it's usually between -5° and -10°C outside, the temperature quickly drops to below 5°C, and obviously my heater turns on.

     

    I have a system where I turn it off when I'm hot, and on when I'm cold -- depending on how cold: in case of normal coolness I don a sweater/pullover.



  • That's a lot like what I do -- I set my thermostat to at high as it'll go (90 or something) and set it to "off". Then, depending on how cold I am, I set the fan speed to "low", "medium", or "high" until it gets too hot, at which point I turn it back off.



  • @dhromed said:

    I have a system where I turn it off when I'm hot, and on when I'm cold -- depending on how cold: in case of normal coolness I don a sweater/pullover.

    Is that open-source?  cuz I could really use a system like that. 



  • @belgariontheking said:

    @dhromed said:

    I have a system where I turn it off when I'm hot, and on when I'm cold -- depending on how cold: in case of normal coolness I don a sweater/pullover.

    Is that open-source?  cuz I could really use a system like that. 

     

    I use the SSHS (Spectate Swamp Heating System). It just randomly turns the heat on for random durations. 

    But I have to restart it a few times, and enter a bunch of commands that I can never remember, or I will freeze to death.

     

    And yeah, it is open source. FTW



  • @asuffield said:

    @HonoreDB said:

    So apparently, the heating system in my building works as follows.  The temperature in each room is measured.  The highest temperature is taken, and then all the individual heaters/air conditioners are adjusted according to that temperature.  There is apparently no way to deal with rooms that are exceptionally hot or cold relative to the rest of the building.  Is this common?  It's a serious problem when your room is apparently 15 degrees or so colder than the hottest room and it's a cold winter night.

    This is usually because the only control the heating system has is to switch the boiler on or off - most older residential heating systems don't have individually controlled valves for each room. 

     

    Thermostatic radiator valves should be easy to retrofit to all but the most archaic of central heating systems. They take a bit of playing around with but you can usually find the setting that keeps your room at the temperature you want.



  • Place where I used to work, the heating/cooling system was set up something like this:

    • The heating/cooling system for zone 1 was controlled by a thermostat in a conference room.  The conference room was in zone 2, faced south and had large windows.  (temperature regulation nightmare)
    • The heating/cooling system for zone 2 was controlled by the thermostat in zone 3.
    • The heating/cooling system for zone 3 was controlled by the thermostat in zone 1.

    When these various systems were fighting with one another, there could easily be a 10-degree swing in temperature just walking from one set of cubes to another.



  • @GalacticCowboy said:

    When these various systems were fighting with one another, there could easily be a 10-degree swing in temperature just walking from one set of cubes to another.
     

    My university's campus had about about 8 buildings all daisy-chained by skywalks and tunnels, covering about 5km (~3 miles) in length. It was always fun walking from one end to the other. Some of the buildings were old gothic style with water radiators, some were modern with forced air, a few were frankenbuildings (old building with new additions glommed on).

    The temperatures didn't vary too much, incredibly, but there was invariably a pretty good breeze at all the connection points. And of course the building in approximiately the middle of all this was the biology building, which had a large open-air aquarium/tropical forest display that pumped out a lot of humidity. Don't think I ever saw a fog bank forming anywhere along the path, but some days you could smell the biology labs from the far side of campus, without ever stepping outside, especially on dissection lab days.

    Ah... the mysteries of HVAC. Sometimes it's a miracle any of it works at all. 



  • @m0ffx said:

    Thermostatic radiator valves should be easy to retrofit to all but the most archaic of central heating systems.

     

    FSVO "easy". You have to drain the system to do it, which means if you don't own the building, it probably isn't going to get done.



  • In my parent's house I have two alternatives and its interesting to see the major difference and why what seems worse is better...

    When I lived there (in basement) the heater worked as follows:

    1) Upstairs controls the boiler.

    2) There is a pump such that if the boiler is on (due to upstairs) it pumps the water after it circulated though the house though the basement causing "free heating"...

    This system sucked in that the basement can only meet or go below the upstairs heating. And since we didn't want to have the pump on all day (and it made noise) it was usually cooler in basement. I had to massively insulate it which really did wonders for the heating.

    Now there is an alternative system...

    Both up and downstaris can turn the boiler on and work independently but try to optimize so that if its on and heating upstairs, downstairs uses the backwash.

    But the tennents got crazy and didn't insulate so there is a breeze downstairs. Caz they wanted to smoke. So they cranked it up to 90 degrees to compensate for the freaken open door. My dad had to disable downstairs heating and let em freeze unless they opted to insulate and keep the door and windows shut all winter. Either they did that or got an electric radiator and are paying for it, we don't care, but at least my dad does not have to pay 200 bucks a month to heat up a tiny basement appartment which now costs 30 bucks a month.



  • @GalacticCowboy said:

    Place where I used to work, the heating/cooling system was set up something like this:

    • The heating/cooling system for zone 1 was controlled by a thermostat in a conference room.  The conference room was in zone 2, faced south and had large windows.  (temperature regulation nightmare)
    • The heating/cooling system for zone 2 was controlled by the thermostat in zone 3.
    • The heating/cooling system for zone 3 was controlled by the thermostat in zone 1.

    When these various systems were fighting with one another, there could easily be a 10-degree swing in temperature just walking from one set of cubes to another.

    I'm going to go out on a limb and guess a contractor name Simon installed that system, said contractor has an affinity for being a suspect in a large amount of accidental deaths and property damage, although he is never found responsible for any of it, nor will anyone willingly admit that he was.

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