We are all well aware of the situation when in our own apartment with the onset of cold weather, we are forced to get extra blankets, warm clothes and use electric heaters for heating. The reason for this situation is banal — the disgusting quality of residential heating. In some situations, this state of affairs is temporary, falling on the off-season. However, sometimes the quality of heating in apartment buildings throughout the winter leaves much to be desired. Who is responsible for heating in our apartments? Where to look for the extreme and what to do? We will try to answer these and other related questions.
State of the central heating system. Where and whose area of responsibility
Let’s start with the official documents “Rules and norms for the technical operation of housing facilities”, section II state that the responsibility for maintaining communication systems in residential facilities is assigned to the Management Company. The scope of its tasks and area of responsibility includes ensuring the normal operation of residential heating systems, sewerage and water supply systems. This norm was approved by the Decree of the Gosstroy of the EU No. 170 of September 27, 2003. Therefore, if your house is serviced by the Management Company, all questions about the normal operation of heating are directed to it.
The organization on whose balance sheet your house is located is responsible for maintaining the normal temperature regime in the rooms covered by the central heating system. The competence of the management company also includes control over the temperature of the coolant at the outlet (return).
This also includes control over the technical side of the issue. Assessing the condition of engineering networks, carrying out scheduled routine maintenance and inspections in order to identify the technical non-compliance of common property with established standards — all this and much more is part of the responsibilities of the management company.
Important! Based on the results of the inspection, acts are drawn up, in which fixed technical shortcomings must be made, dates and methods for troubleshooting are indicated. On the basis of the Inspection Acts, a meeting of homeowners in an apartment building may decide on the non-compliance of individual elements of heating networks with the established SNiPs and require the elimination of defects. Acts are official documents that can then be used in various instances.
Inspection of the centralized heating system is carried out by a specialist whose duties include the elimination of detected malfunctions in the operation of heating, as well as the prevention of cases of excessive heat consumption of a residential facility. This inspection is usually carried out once a year. According to the results of the inspection, appropriate repair work is carried out, adjustments are made to the preparation of the residential building for the next heating season.
Evaluating the above, and fixed at the regulatory level, it is clear who is responsible for the state of the heating networks in a residential building and whose competence includes organizing the normal operation of the heating system directly in the house. Thus, all responsibility for the proper condition of the common property to you and the residents of other apartments in your house lies with the management company or housing office, with which you have a very warm and difficult relationship.
Out of habit, when the heating system does not work, we blame the energy company, which ensures the supply of heat to residential buildings. Few of us think that the supplier company is responsible for the temperature of the coolant, which must comply with the established standards, for the normal operating pressure in the line. The responsibility of the utilities extends to the functionality of the backbone networks to the place where your house is connected. Further, the management company or housing office is responsible for the heat in your house.
Variants are possible when the temperature of the coolant is not sufficient for normal heating of residential premises, there are interruptions with the inclusion of centralized heating on time. In these cases, the responsibility lies entirely with the energy company that supplies heat to your apartments.
In what sequence and where to go if the heating in the house does not work properly
Who is responsible for the poor heating in the apartment in the first place, we have already figured out and installed. However, what are our next steps, if the complaint did not have the desired effect and you continue to suffer from insufficient heat in the apartment, your comfort is impaired and no changes for the better are expected. The algorithm is the following:
- find out the contact numbers of emergency dispatch services of the department of housing and communal services of the district, city and call if necessary;
- file a complaint with the local state housing inspection body;
- file a claim with the local heat and power company;
- submit an application to the local authority of the Federal Service for the Protection of Consumer Rights (Rospotrebnadzor);
- call local, regional and city authorities;
- apply to the local authority of the Antimonopoly Service, which controls the activities of energy companies and the water utility;
- use the media to publicize the existing problem;
- file a lawsuit against the management company, the housing office and the heat and power company due to the restriction of the rights to dispose of their property.
All of the listed authorities, one way or another, will respond to your appeal. Another question is how much it will help you solve the problem and in what way. It is better to complain consistently to all instances in the order proposed above, upon the fact of a violation. It is better when your complaint is collective. Otherwise, your appeal may fall under the millstones of the bureaucratic machine and get lost. All of these organizations and authorities are responsible for the normal functioning of life support systems in the city, and problems with heating are among the top priorities, especially in the cold season.
Everyone will have to answer. To whom in front of the TV cameras of journalists, to whom in court, and to whom at a higher level for violations of the temperature regime in residential buildings.
Important! Your complaint may be more effective if it is accompanied by a written request to recalculate the payment for the maintenance and repair of residential premises, as well as for the provision of heating services in an incomplete amount. Such actions are regulated by the relevant regulation. See Decree of the Government of the EU No. 491 dated August 13, 2006.
Control over compliance with the established sanitary norms and rules in the apartment due to poor heating performance is also assigned to the service company. Recorded significant violations of the temperature regime in residential premises are a clear signal for the responsible organization to eliminate the identified shortcomings.
What factors affect the temperature in your apartment during the heating season
We have dealt with the responsibility for the technical condition of heating networks in an apartment building. As for the temperature during the heating season, which should be in the apartment, there are a number of factors that place responsibility for functionality on you. What happens in your apartment, what temperature suits you in the house is your concern. No one can interfere in your household affairs, unless it is contrary to established standards and regulations.
Often there are situations when the batteries in the apartment are red-hot, and in the living rooms there is a dog cold. Or vice versa, the heating season has begun, everything is working fine with the neighbors, and your batteries are barely warm. So, you are such negligent owners and your apartment was not ready for the onset of cold weather.
On a note: Elementary measures to improve the thermal efficiency of residential premises will increase the temperature in the apartment by 2–30C. Sealing window openings, sealing gaps between panels, insulating front doors, purging radiators — steps that you can do yourself.
Both the management company, the housing office, and you are responsible for the quality and technical condition of the batteries in your apartment. Timely inspection of the condition of the radiators in the house will eliminate air congestion in the system, clean the batteries. In case of improper technical condition of the batteries, it is important to replace them in time. If you can figure out the batteries yourself with the support of specialists from the management company or the housing office, then eliminating other causes of poor heating in the house is not your problem. The work of communications in the house, the functionality of the valves is handled by the housing office, representatives of the management company.
For example. It is possible to find out whether the operating pressure in the heating system corresponds to the required value only with the participation of specialists and with the appropriate equipment.
It should be borne in mind that any large-scale objects, and heating systems also belong to them, cannot be completely perfect. Climatic, technological, human factors can always make adjustments to the operation of the heating system of an apartment building. Mistakes can be made even at the design stage of the system and during the construction of a residential building. Elementary example. The use of pipes of smaller diameter during the laying of intra-house communications becomes one of the main reasons for the insufficient heat supply to residential facilities.
The quality of the heating system will be determined by a heating engineer who may pay you a visit in response to a complaint. Appropriate measurements carried out by a specialist mean one thing — the management company is trying to fulfill its obligations. Another thing is whether appropriate actions will be taken in the future by the housing office or the management company to eliminate shortcomings in the operation of the heating system.
The lack of response to your complaints to the management company puts you before a choice. Continue to fight for your rights or look for other, alternative sources of heating in the house. The unreasonable expenses that you will incur without receiving the required kilocalories of heat in return may make you take a more radical approach to solving the problem that has arisen. The rejection of centralized heating and the transition to individual heating will allow you to forget about discomfort in the house and squabbles with various authorities forever.