Turn Off Steam Radiators in Unused Rooms
LESLIE: Lillian in New York, welcome to The Money Pit. How can we help you today?
LILLIAN: You can tell me what to do about my radiators, please.
TOM: Well, what’s happening with them, Lillian?
LILLIAN: Not a heck of a lot. I have a problem in that I have several bedrooms on my second floor that I do not use.
LILLIAN: And I’ve been told, “Yes, you should cut off the radiators and keep the doors closed” and then others say, “No, no. That’s a waste. You should leave the radiators on and still keep the doors closed.”
TOM: I don’t see any reason you can’t turn them off. Do you have hot water heat?
LILLIAN: I don’t know.
TOM: Or is it steam? Are they sort of small radiators or are they really big ones?
LILLIAN: I don’t know. They stand upright about maybe two, two-and-a-half feet tall …
TOM: Mm-hmm. And …
LILLIAN: … about a foot-and-a-half long.
TOM: Yeah, sounds like a steam system. Do you get a lot of pinging and banging and noise when the heating system comes on?
LILLIAN: Not a lot but I do get some.
TOM: Well, it sounds like a steam system and certainly you can turn off the valves. Whether it’s steam or hot water you can turn the valves off at the base of the radiators and just not use them.
LILLIAN: And keep the doors closed, of course?
TOM: And keep the doors closed and that means that you’re going to be heating less of the house.
Now, where is your thermostat? Is it upstairs or downstairs?
TOM: OK, good. So then the thermostat will not be affected and you’ll simply be turning the heat off upstairs. The only concern I have is are there any water pipes in any of these rooms? Are you next to a bathroom? I wouldn’t turn off the radiator in the bathroom because I don’t want you to freeze those pipes.
LILLIAN: Or anything else.
LESLIE: (chuckling) True.
TOM: Absolutely. (laughs)
Alright, Lillian. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.