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Stop overheating your building.

If you own or manage multi-family dwellings in the New York metropolitan area, you may be overheating them without being aware of it.

There's an easy way to find out. visit one of your buildings on a very cold day -- preferably in the afternoon, after the boiler has been cycling for a few hours -- and check the inside temperature. Instead of a comfortable 70 or 72 degrees fahrenheit that might be expected, the apartments may be roasting at 85 degrees. That's a temperature difference of more than 30 percent, and it means that your fuel bills are much higher than they should be.

Need for Better Monitoring

More often than not, this waste of energy is due to inadequate monitoring and control of boiler operations. At many apartment buildings, these functions still are performed by a simple time control. Whenever the outside temperature falls below a municipally

prescribed level, a time controller turns the boiler on. But this type of control is not equipped to sense inside temperatures. As a result, it does not turn the heat off when the apartments are warm enough. The boiler just continues to cycle, making the apartments too hot.

Eventually, this extra heat leaves the building. Some of it is dissipated when tenants open their windows to let it escape, and some of it leaks out through the building's walls and foundation. Heat always travels from a warmer area to a colder area. The greater the temperature difference between the warm area and the cold area, the greater the amount of heat leakage. On a cold day, a building heated to 85 degrees fahrenheit will leak more heat than a building where inside temperatures are 72 degrees.

Computerized Monitoring and Control Systems

In order to cope with these problems, many buildings are being equipped with new automated systems that more accurately monitor and control heat and domestic hot water 24 hours a day.

Sophisticated systems, such as the OAS Heat Computer, eliminate fuel waste by sensing inside as well as outside temperatures and restricting boiler cycling to periods when apartments actually need heat. At buildings where they have been installed, annual fuel consumption has been reduced by as much as 30 percent. Some large management firms that have installed OAS Heat Computers in a large number of buildings report savings of hundreds of thousands of dollars on their total annual fuel bills.

Overheated Domestic

Hot Water

Overheated domestic hot water is a widespread problem. It becomes apparent when hot water faucets drip and waste water as well as the fuel used to heat it. If left uncorrected, water that is too hot will not only destroy washers but can also burn tenants.

Building superintendents are able to stop the dripping temporarily by replacing faucet washers. But that doesn't deal with the cause of the problem.

Before long, the dripping begins again.

Usually, excessively hot water is the result of an out-of-adjustment mixing valve. OAS Heat Computers pinpoint the problem by daily monitoring the minimum and maximum temperatures of the water coming out of the mixing valve.

The OAS Heat Computer also detects the cause of insufficient hot water by monitoring the temperature of the boiler water and the water coming out of the hot water coil. If the temperatures differ too much, it indicates that the hot water coil needs cleaning.

If this information regarding the coil is not available, building superintendents may respond to tenants' complaints about insufficient hot water by raising the aquastat temperature setting. This increases the hot water temperature, but at the cost of making the boiler burn more fuel.

Another often undetected problem -- a leaking condensate return line - can waste vast quantities of water as well as heat. In a number of cases, OAS Heat Computers have detected water losses in excess of 2,000 gallons a day from leaking returns.

Management by Telephone

OAS Heat Computers enable owners and managers to control the heating and hot water systems in an unlimited number of buildings from any location with a telephone, a modem, and a PC or laptop. Simply by dialing the phone numbers of the computers in their buildings, they can set and/or change heating and hot water temperatures and hot water usage.

They can also phone the computers at any time to check on heating and hot water system operations and problems.

The computers also produce printouts of heat and domestic hot water temperatures. In case of tenants' complaints to a municipal agency that they are not getting the heat and/or hot water to which they are entitled, these records can be submitted'as proof that the required levels were being provided or that there was a justifiable cause -- e.g. a power failure - for a temporary interruption.
COPYRIGHT 1993 Hagedorn Publication
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
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Title Annotation:Property Management/Improvement; Section I
Author:Suthergreen, David B.
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Feb 24, 1993
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