Heating Contractors based in New York City, NY
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About New York City
All buildings in New York City have some form of heating system. The most common systems are forced hot air heat, hot water heat, steam heat, and heat pumps. Each of these systems can be powered by oil, natural gas, or electricity. The Empire State Building, one of New York City's most famous buildings, is heated with low-pressure steam which is supplied by the local public utility and is delivered through 50 miles of radiator pipe. In the summer, the Empire State Building uses 7450 tons of refrigeration.
Most Better Business Bureau accredited heating contractors in New York City are located in the outer boroughs, but the majority of them serve Manhattan as well as their home borough. In addition, many of the plumbers in Manhattan also service heating systems.
New York City law requires all building owners to provide heat to tenants during 'heat season' between October 1 and May 31. The following temperatures must be maintained:
- If the outside temperature falls below 55 degrees Fahrenheit between the hours of 6am and 10pm, the inside temperature must be at least 68 degrees Fahrenheit.
- If the outside temperature falls below 40 degrees Fahrenheit between the hours of 10pm and 6am, the inside temperature must be at least 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
The city will cite any owners that fail to maintain these temperatures. Owners of buildings should contact a heating professional as soon as a problem surfaces to avoid legal problems.
Alternative Energy in NYC
The General Theological Seminary of the Episcopal Church in Chelsea is one example of a New York City institution 'going green' by harnessing the rivers running deep underneath Manhattan to power its heating and cooling systems. Geothermal pumps 1,500 to 1,800 feet deep draw this underground water up into the seminary buildings. The 65-degree water draws in the heat from hotter surroundings or loses heat to colder ones. The system requires no consumable fuel and, once fully operational, will reduce carbon emissions by 1,400 tons every year.
Additionally, the Lenfest Center at Columbia University is a national leader in research that looks for solutions to the world's long-term energy needs. Most of its work in solar, nuclear and fossil fuels is intended to 'support the world's projected population in 2100 without increased carbon emissions.'
State Aid for Upgrading Energy Systems
The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) provides financial assistance and loans for New Yorkers looking to upgrade their existing heating systems and replace them with more energy efficient models. More information on the New York Energy $mart program is available on the NYSERDA website.
Things to Avoid When Hiring a Heating/Cooling Contractor
While most contractors want to do their best for their clients, there are scam artists out there as well. There are certain behaviors that many suspect contractors share including the following:
- Soliciting customers door-to-door or through cold calling
- Using materials left over from previous jobs
- Having clients get necessary permits
- Demanding up front or cash only payment
- Pressuring for immediate decisions
- Coercing clients into using a specific lender
While a contractor can exhibit some of these behaviors and still be legitimate, treat these as warning signs of a possible problem and be aware. Also use common sense -- if a contractor says a heating unit is too small, think about how it's actually performed in the past. Get a second opinion if there are any doubts about the legitimacy of a contractor or their recommendations.