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Is there a legal range for 'cold water temperature'?

NYC Rent Regulation: Rent Control/Rent Stabilized, DHCR Practice/Procedures

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Is there a legal range for 'cold water temperature'?

Postby sr77 » Wed Aug 28, 2019 7:07 pm

Is the temperature range for cold water to qualify as 'cold' stated and/or regulated for NYC rental apts. by any NYC or NYS authority?

In particular, is there an accepted 'upper limit' in the range of accepted cold water temperatures beyond which water from the cold water tap can actionably not be considered 'cold' enough?

Thanks.
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Re: Is there a legal range for 'cold water temperature'?

Postby TenantNet » Wed Aug 28, 2019 9:15 pm

On a practical side, you won't find water out of your faucet at less than 32 deg. F. Tap water isn't "chilled" in any way that I know. It's likely to be in the range of the temp. in the tank within the building.

As for the warmth of tap water, again it's likely to be what the building tank has. I don't think there's an official temp. for cold water, but hot water is usually in the range of 110-120 degrees F.

I've never seen an official range for cold water. But I haven't checked either.
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Re: Is there a legal range for 'cold water temperature'?

Postby sr77 » Thu Aug 29, 2019 7:54 am

TenantNet wrote:On a practical side, you won't find water out of your faucet at less than 32 deg. F.

Thanks. On the practical side, I won't find water out of my cold water faucet (lever-based) at less than 74 deg. F. at the moment. Thus my question.

I've seen suggestions (info from Internet searches) that the normal range is 45-70.

Mine does feel somewhat sub-normal. Digital thermometer readings have been consistently 75, occasionally dropping to bet. 74-75, never lower. (The bathtub is another story: not less than 83 degrees F there.)

I'm wondering whether being a top-floor apt. in a brownstone, this might not affect tenants on lower levels -- or at least not as much. It would seem reasonable to suspect that if there's a failing pump system of some kind to get the water up to the top floor, it might not affect others who aren't as high up [?]

I'm not having any 'hot' water issues.
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Re: Is there a legal range for 'cold water temperature'?

Postby TenantNet » Thu Aug 29, 2019 10:04 am

I would ask a tenant on a lower floor if they have the same issue (however, I wouldn't call 74 deg. hot or even warm ... even if normal cold tap water is 45-70).

I thought that if a roof tank was getting hot, that might explain it, But that would always be the case (did anything change?). And not all buildings have roof tanks. But if you do, is the tank used as a source for cold or hot tap water?

I would think you need to investigate. Where is the building's water stored within the building while waiting to be used?

Is the building staff of any help? Can you trace the pipes from your unit to the roof or basement?
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Re: Is there a legal range for 'cold water temperature'?

Postby sr77 » Fri Aug 30, 2019 5:03 am

Thanks. Those kinds of questions I would never get answers to from building management, so for the moment I'll just see how they handle the issue. And ask other tenants whether they're experiencing it if/when I run into them.

It's new, just started a little over a week ago. No problem before that.

Hot water is normal. This is only affecting 'cold.'

After some experimenting, I'm certain that water from the cold water tap should not be above low 50's. It should be drinkable as 'cold' (not refrigerated cold but still cold) water right from the tap and I'm not finding that when the temperature rises above low 50's.
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Re: Is there a legal range for 'cold water temperature'?

Postby sr77 » Sun Sep 01, 2019 9:02 pm

Happy to report that there appears to be no regulation of any kind of 'cold' water temperature.

Actually, I'm unhappy to report it.

How did something like that get missed?

What if some diabolical landlord connects the building's water system directly to a hot spring, to get all the tenants to move out?
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Re: Is there a legal range for 'cold water temperature'?

Postby TenantNet » Sun Sep 01, 2019 9:22 pm

But what LL would go through that trouble?

Are you measuring the temp with a thermometer? Do other tenants in the building - or the same line - also report warm/hot water from the cold tap?

Reminds me of the rare cases where heat is left on throughout the summer, and the apartment gets too hot. There was no law on that, although I do remember a fuss about a year ago ... not sure if it led to any legislation.
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Re: Is there a legal range for 'cold water temperature'?

Postby sr77 » Wed Sep 04, 2019 11:42 am

Thanks, I was joking.

But there's truth in jest.

Measuring with a digital thermometer. I haven't run into any other tenants to ask but will when I do. I can imagine that being on the top floor could make the issue more acute for me, assuming water delivery tends to be better closer to the source.

The water coming from the cold tap isn't hot, not really warm either, kind of 'lukewarm/lukecold' -- right in between hot and cold, but nowhere near normal for 'cold.' There's no heat on in the apt., it's not that.
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Re: Is there a legal range for 'cold water temperature'?

Postby Landlords Boy » Wed Sep 04, 2019 1:27 pm

I had a problem with hot cold water in one of my buildings one summer, years ago. At the same time, the building suffered from low water pressure. I contacted the PSC (today the NY Department of Public Service) and enlisted a few tenants to call, too. Eventually these problems were resolved - but it was a matter of weeks, not days.
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Re: Is there a legal range for 'cold water temperature'?

Postby TenantNet » Wed Sep 04, 2019 1:41 pm

Was the problem in the water supply, or from within the building?

If the former, it should affect all tenants in the building and nearby buildings as well.
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Re: Is there a legal range for 'cold water temperature'?

Postby Landlords Boy » Wed Sep 04, 2019 2:43 pm

The problem was the water supply. The upper two floors were most affected. The PSC pressed the utility to fix the low water-pressure problem. When that was accomplished, the complaints about hot cold water disappeared.

I don't know if nearby apartment buildings also had the same issues. I suppose they did.
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Re: Is there a legal range for 'cold water temperature'?

Postby sr77 » Sat Oct 12, 2019 10:32 am

I'm not getting 'hot' water from the cold water faucet but it's not what one would normally consider 'cold' either.

All three water sources are different in their output (for both cold and hot), the bathtub being the absolute worst. Sometimes I just give up trying to get cold water from that faucet.

At this point, once they get as cold as they're going to get, I just leave the sink faucets (kitchen and bathroom) running a trickle. Otherwise I have to go through long delays every time I try to get cold water.
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Re: Is there a legal range for 'cold water temperature'?

Postby TenantNet » Sat Oct 12, 2019 11:39 am

Have you traced the route the water takes in the building? "Cold" tap water isn't chilled, so it's likely to be the ambient temp. from the water tank in the building. Also look at pumps and water pressure.
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Re: Is there a legal range for 'cold water temperature'?

Postby sr77 » Sun Oct 13, 2019 2:59 pm

Thanks. I'm not in a position to do any of those things and don't have a cooperative super to work with.

If cold water temperature is ambient-only, it should, I assume, be affecting other tenants, so that's probably my only hope. (Although I imagine my being on the top floor could make the effect on the temperature of the water greater.)

A while back I posted here about my problem not getting hot water (so the reverse issue) in the middle of the night. That might never have been resolved but for the fact that another tenant getting up for an early flight found no hot water and complained. So that's what I'm up against.
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Re: Is there a legal range for 'cold water temperature'?

Postby PiscesDragon212 » Tue Nov 24, 2020 4:44 pm

I live in NYC too and I've been dealing with the same issue you're dealing with. It takes my kitchen tap water 5-10 minutes to get cold if it hasn't been used in a while. In the summer it can be 80-85 degrees. My husband and I moved into our current 1-bedroom apartment 2 years ago and it's been an ongoing problem. I tried to get my co-op board to look into the problem since it affects many of the apartments in my line but not enough people have complained no matter how much I tried. I went through hell last year dealing with my co-op board who brought in a plumber to inspect all the apartments in my line but he was unsuccessful at finding the problem and I don't think he did everything necessary to identify the problem. When my co-op board didn't want to look into the problem anymore, I reported the issue to 311 but they didn't issue a violation because there are no temperature limits for cold water.

You're not the only one in NYC with this problem. I've found other articles and internet forums from people who have had the same problem. What makes it especially frustrating is that NYC Housing and 311 won't do anything about it. When I emailed the NYC Housing Deputy Commissioner suggesting she update the language in the housing requirements to define "cold water", she wrote back to me saying that only the legislative branch of government can makes those changes and encouraged me to contact my City Council member, Keith Powers. Mr. Powers and his team have been trying to work with me over the past year and even participated in a Zoom meeting about possibly updating the housing code, but he said it might be tough to get a law passed but he agrees there's a problem.

If you're still dealing with this issue, I strongly suggest you reach out to your City Council member and encourage them to pass legislation that requires landlords and co-op boards to address cold water issues. If there are laws requiring hot water, then there should be laws about something pretty basic like cold water. There's strength in numbers, the more people who speak up about it, the better.
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