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Building Codes and Inspections/Excessive heat - Boiler Room below


I recently moved into a place only to find within hours that turning off my heat had no effect on the room temperature. As I continued to move stuff in with windows open and doors open the place maintained an average of 75-80 degrees during a 35 degree day in Philadelphia on March 8th. Then I realized when I had my shoes off that the floor was not warm, but hot. I do not have a radiant heating system installed and at the time My heat had been turned off for over 6 hours.

As time went on I watched my thermostat climb until the needle couldn't go any higher. Pegged at 90 degrees. I have been sleeping in my kitchen because I can get it to about 75-80 degrees at night because of large windows, which I have to keep open till I am ready to sleep (I am street level in philadelphia, you dont leave your windows open at night) I keep my bedroom doors shut and that helps as its the worst in the bedroom.

I used an Infrared pyrometer to take temperature readings of the floor throughout the apartment. Even by my front door the-- coolest area in the apartment. The floor read 75 degrees. Over in the kitchen (not near the fridge as heat generated by that might have an effect) the floor was 84 degrees. Moving into the bedroom where the absolute lowest reading was 88 degrees and the highest reading was 109 degrees. Bathroom, 86 to 91 degrees. Most surfaces in my bedroom from this heat are over 87 degrees. Also the bedroom is carpet, new carpet. No one has lived in this unit before me. I have had a sore throat and a headache since friday. Could this be from the heat and the glue's used to secure the carpet? forget the dehydration and possible heat exhaustion matters. There has to be some sort of "off-gas" from these materials being heated to abnormal temperatures.

I have to get an digital ambient temperature gauge to get accurate readings of the room. but the floor temperatures are outrageous in my opinion. The heat coming through the floor is able to heat an 850 sq. ft apartment with 15ft ceilings. Which should be in the ball park of 12,495 cubic feet. To over 90 degrees, and capable of doing it quickly.

The building is sort of playing dumb but knowing what I know now, they knew about this and allowed me to move in anyway. They said yesterday they would try installing insulation and an exhaust fan in the boiler room. Which to me suggests that there isn't any insulation and that the boiler room isn't properly ventilated.  

I am trying to negotiate them moving me to another unit, None of which are available in the building i am currently in, so it would have to be at one of their other properties. They said they would move me at my current lease terms (not increase my rent) but they would not offer me parking or cover my moving costs. The other building is in an obscure location that increases my commute time almost 40 mins.

I am thinking of contacting a lawyer and getting an inspector in there.

This appears to be a very clear health and safety matter, and I would call the health department of my city immediately and request an inspection. I don't know if there are specific codes about heat, and of course no one can control the heat in a room that is not air conditioned on a very hot day, but this appears to be something completely different. I doubt most people could live safely and in a healthy atmosphere with this level of heat day in and day out (although maybe people in the desert do!).

This isn't an ADA code question, but common sense says, get an inspector in there right away, and claim extreme danger to your health.

Good luck.

Sharon Toji

Building Codes and Inspections

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Sharon Toji


I have special expertise in the subject of accessibility codes and guidelines (ADA), and most specifically in the field of signage. If you have a question that is not about the ADA or about signs, I suggest you try the following excellent site: Naffa International BCDG (Building Code Discussion Group). The website address is You do have to register, but it's free. You will find discussions here on all kinds of Building Code Q & A topics. You go to the forum that sounds as if it's close to your topic, check out some of the posts and see if it sounds like a fit. Then pose your question. With luck, you may get some really good answers. You can email some of the experts individually by clicking on the headings of their posts. When you ask a question, of me, or of someone on the above site, tell them your state, and maybe your city if it's a large city. That is crucial for answering code questions. Sharon Toji


I am a voting delegate to the American National Standards Institute that writes accessiblity standards used by the International Building Code and are the basis for the ADA Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG). I am also a member of the Access Advisory Committee to the California State Building Standards Commission, among other positions.

Signs and the ADA (a manual I have written that is used across the country), and articles in many trade journals.

BA, Reed College Graduate work, University of Munich (Germany) and University of California, Irvine

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