Making my apartment's old style steam heater work..?

hey. i recently moved into a new apartment and it's starting to get cold here in maine. i like it a little on the cool side but recently temps have dropped low. it has the older style steam heaters that stand on the floor, silver fancier looking heaters from the old days. it has a incoming valve with open and close turning, and then a small valve on the opposite end with 1-9 for controlling how hot. i've been having issues with it, i turn it OPEN, and to something like 3 or 4 but nothing happens. then i'll leave the room and in a while hear some hissing and it warms up but then it'll shut off after a while and be cold again. i'm not quite sure if i'm doing something wrong or not. i'm planning on calling the landlady if i can't fix it on my own but i wan't to make sure i'm using it correctly so i don't look stupid...anyone care to offer some help or input?! thanks! i'm freeeezing!!

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  • 1 decade ago
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    There is a couple of possibilities here. You mentioned the two valves. The one with 1-9 I am assuming is the steam vent. If so this would be located at the top of the radiator. It should open and vent till it senses steam.

    Where is the thermostat located? That is what is going to be operating the boiler and or header valve. If there is no call for heat. Or the boiler is not making steam then it doesn't matter what you set your steam vents at. If the thermostat is located in another apartment they might have it turned way down. It can also be controled by an outside reset system. I don't think that is the case here. An outside reset system would have the boiler come on-line at a desired outside temp. From that point on zone controls or sensors would operate steam valves.

    Another thing that can come into play is what floor you are on. If the thermostat is located on a 1rst floor apartment and you are living on the third. They might be getting heat and satisfying the t-stat before there is enough pressure in the system.

    So actually your question brings up more questions then answers. Sorry I couldn't give you anymore help. That is the best I can do with the information you gave.

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