Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Joy of Steam Heating!

On our first night in New York we were woken up by these really loud banging sounds.  I jumped out of the bed convinced someone had broken in and was smashing up the place, but the apartment was empty.  It took me a while to realise that this noise was the heating coming on!

Until I arrived here I was unaware that most New York apartment buildings have steam heating, which has to be one of the most antiquated systems I have ever come across.  Not only does it make a racket when it starts up, you have no control over the temperature in your apartment or when to turn it on/off.  When it drops below a certain temperature the Super will put the heating on for the entire building. 

In our current building it's not too bad, but in the first place we lived we always had the windows open as it was unbearably hot in the apartment.  It really is a crazy system and not at all environmentally friendly.

If the noise is particularly loud in your apartment let your Super know as there may be a problem with the heater.  We experienced this in our first place, but eventually the Super came to fix them so we weren't woken up at 4am every morning.  You can also have them turn the heaters off entirely which might be a good idea if your home is like a sauna.  It seems that in New York I am always trying to keep my apartment cool no matter what the time of the year.

So, if you arrived in the Summer, don't be startled if you are woken up by what sounds like metal pipes clanging together, it's just the heating coming on!


  1. I just found your blog because I am also somewhat new to NY. I had to comment because I had this same thing happen to me when I first moved into my apartment. I just heard a lot of weird noises that I was unsure and quite scared about! Now I don't even notice the sounds. It's funny how that works, something that seems so loud and sticks out to you now is just background noise. How long have you been living in NY? I live on the border of Queens and Long Island, not in Manhattan, so it's quite different. I was reading your post on how to make friends here because I've found it somewhat difficult. I am definitely going to use some of your tips and try to volunteer or something!

  2. Hi Olivia,

    Thank you for your comment and for checking out my blog, I hope you find it useful.

    It can be hard to meet people in such a large city and it took me a while to make real friends. I have been here just over a year and many people I speak to say it takes about that long to really get settled in NYC. How long have you been here? Don't worry I am sure you make friends, I know it can be difficult but just give it time. Email me if you ever want to chat.

    Take care and good luck!
    NGINY xx

  3. This is something that I never know. Thanks for sharing!