Living in an apartment has a lot of benefits when it comes to heating and cooling your home. For example, heat permeates through the walls of each apartment, meaning that you can set your thermostat at a lower setting and keep your home at a comfortable temperature – all for a lower cost than families who own residential homes and pay to heat each room. Unfortunately, there are unique problems that some apartment renters come across, as well. If you've experienced any of these functional issues with your system, take a moment to review possible solutions.
Problem 1: Apartment is too Humid
Apartments can become humid when there isn't enough ventilation between rooms. It can also be a problem if your units are close together and your neighbor isn't running the A/C very much because there is reduced air flow throughout the building. You'll notice the air feels a bit stuffy and you might see condensation on windows and mirrors. Keep in mind that this isn't just a summer problem, it can last year-round.
Solution: Adjust Controls and Leave Doors and Windows Open
Although turning up your air conditioning and running utility bills higher isn't a win-win solution, it is a short-term option for fixing condensation problems in your apartment. Another thing you can do is create more ventilation by leaving the doors between rooms open. Open windows and even consider using a window fan (this can cut down on your utility bill, too!). In the winter months, closed up windows cause tighter ventilation and increase indoor moisture. Use a dehumidifier and keep exhaust fans on longer than usual when cooking or bathing.
Problem 2: Central Furnace not Heating Evenly
If your apartment building shares a central furnace, you can run across instances where your unit is not being heated as much as your neighbors'. This problem goes beyond being uncomfortable. It's inconvenient on many levels: you are paying for something you're not getting, you might need to spend more money on a space heater, and you could get sick from not staying warm enough.
Solution: Clean Ducts and Vents
If you're the only one complaining about freezing in the winter, chances are the ducts and vents leading to your apartment aren't clear. Your landlord may have to come turn off the furnace and clean out the ducts and vents. This can be done by removing grates and cleaning them with a stiff brush. If you wash them, be sure the grates are completely dry before reattaching them to the walls to prevent mildew and mold growth. While the grates dry, you can clear the vents and ducts using a pole to loosen debris and a vacuum to collect it.
Problem 3: Gas Leaks from Your Neighbor's Furnace
Even if you have separate furnaces for each unit in your building, gas leaks can affect everybody. If your neighbor's furnace is leaking gas, it will eventually permeate throughout the building. The problem generally starts small and is hardly noticeable, but gas poisoning can cause major health complications. Symptoms of gas poisoning include stomach illness, respiratory problems, and headaches. If there is enough gas leaking into your apartment, it can be fatal.
Solution: Follow Safety Precautions
No matter what the weather is, you need to ventilate your unit. Open doors and windows to allow clean air into your apartment. Get yourself outside and go somewhere with clean air. The more you inhale, the worse your symptoms will be. Make sure your neighbors are aware of the leak so they can take safety precautions, as well. Notify your landlord immediately and ensure they call a professional to take care of the leak. If you develop any symptoms, go see your doctor to evaluate the extent of damage done.
Keeping your apartment cool in the summer and warm in the winter is a benefit everyone should enjoy. However, some renters experience heating and cooling problems that affect the entire building. If you notice any problems with your system, it's important to talk to your landlord so they can get a heating and cooling repair person on the job. Also make sure to get professional help when necessary.