It is currently a rainy, horrible day; sprinkled with bad…
If you live in an old apartment in any American city, chances are you have one or more radiators as your heat source. Attractive in an urban way, these radiators can be a bit confusing to use. With the weather in San Francisco taking a turn for the very cold, it’s time to fire up the radiators. Here’s the basics:
Radiators heat your apartment by filling with hot water or steam, usually steam. To turn on your radiator, you have to open the valve near the floor. As soon as you do this, you should hear the radiator start to fill and should feel the heat enter the first chambers. There is a steam valve on the other side of the radiator that lets out extra pressure (and sometimes spits water). If this valve is clogged or stuck open, you’ll have problems. Also, there’s no real thermostat on a radiator. It’s usually either on (really hot in the apartment) or off (really cold in the apartment).
I suggest filing up the radiator when you get home and then shutting off the valve. The heat should get you through the evening. Some people say that you shouldn’t turn the steam off when the radiator is hot because the steam will condense and cause a “knocking” noise. But I can’t think of a way to cool the radiator down without turning it off…so oh well! If you are crafty, you can even add a thermostat to your radiator or give it some maintenance.