Turning off a Baseboard Heater

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  #1  
Old 10-05-10, 07:05 AM
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Turning off a Baseboard Heater

Hi all,

I live in a tiny apartment with three baseboard heaters-- it's like 95 degrees in the winter when they're on! The one in the main room is more than sufficient to heat the entire apartment, and if it is at all possible, I'd like to turn off the ones in the bathroom and kitchen before maintenance turns the heat on for the winter. It stands to reason that if there's an intake valve, I should be able to shut it off, right? Would that do anything weird for everyone else in the building? And how would I know which bolt (there's a hex bolt on either side of the water heater) is the intake valve?

Thanks tons in advance!
 
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Old 10-05-10, 01:31 PM
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What you describe do not sound like valves to me. Post some photos - they will help us see what's going on.

Is the system steam or hot water?

Since you are a renter, you should request your landlord to solve the problem. Do you have a thermostat in your apartment? Otherwise, there may be balancing valves in the basement, accesible to the landlord.
 
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Old 10-05-10, 03:17 PM
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As a renter, you should never touch anything related to the heating system except the thermostat. The general rule is that you don't own the equipment and shouldn't 'mess' with it, or, "You touch it, you own it." and that means that if something should break, leak, or malfunction, the landlord will hit you up for the repair charges.

On the other hand, a roll of heavy duty aluminum foil could come in handy... the covers on the baseboards can be removed, the finned elements inside covered with foil to stop the air flow, pop the covers back on. Instant baseboard removal.
 
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Old 10-05-10, 09:27 PM
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Thanks so much! Yeah I'm a little leery of trying to take a wrench to these cos of the corrosion... just can't stand the idea of being miserably hot all winter, and there's no thermostat and the management's already refused to be in any way helpful, and in fact yelled at me when I moved in and told them my AC didn't work. The joys of subsidized housing, no? XD Will the tinfoil cause any sort of fire hazard with trapped dust/cobwebs/God only knows what? It's exactly the sort of renter's trick I would love, and it's so easy I feel like there must be a catch somewhere XD Is there a way to wrap it that's best?

This is what the one in my bathroom looks like (I am SO going to clean it! Yuck!)
IMAG0024 | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
IMAG0023 | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
 
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Old 10-05-10, 10:52 PM
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What you think may be valves look to me to be air vents and you definitely do NOT want to try to move them. Wrapping the finned element with the heavy-duty foil is VERY effective, in fact you might find out it is too effective if you completely cover the finned element. No, it is not a fire hazard to do the foil.
 
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Old 10-06-10, 10:22 AM
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Perfect! Thank you all SO much!!!
 
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Old 10-06-10, 06:36 PM
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Is there a way to wrap it that's best?
Since you may at some point in the winter begin to realize that you've covered too much of the baseboard, you wanna make it so that it's easy to remove.

You don't need to completely wrap the elements up like a gift. I would fold up strips and lay them on the top of the finned parts. All you need to do is stop the flow of air through the fins, and laying on top will do that. If you use say two foot long sections of foil, it will make it easier to remove sections if you find you've done too much. You might not even need to take the covers off to do so... might be possible to fish them out if you've got skinny fingers... be careful of sharp metal edges!
 
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