Over the past two months I've noticed that my pantry(upstairs in my kitchen) has been uncharacteristically warm. Like super warm. Think 80 degrees. It would normally never get above the mid 60's as it abuts an exterior brick wall, so it was great for a pantry especially if you have wine in there! :-) Last week we moved the wine down to the storage area in the basement which is a little less convenient, but is cooler. Since we had work done in the ceiling in the kitchen and insulation was installed, I just assumed the insulation was blocking some major air leaks which may have contributed to the cooling of the pantry. I was wrong.
We also had tuckpointers in as well and I thought maybe the work they did (some of which was on the exterior wall abutting the pantry) was preventing some air leaks. Again, I was wrong.
My upstairs neighbor has a washer and dryer in their pantry, so I thought that could be the cause of the heat. Wrong again.
So now the other day I received an email from a guy in the condo building asking me to contact our boiler repair guy because the maintenance guy (who basically cleans, takes out the garbage, shovels snow, etc) saw a leaking pipe in the boiler room. Well, that was an understatement. The leak was a pinhole leak actually in a pipe and it was shooting water about 10' across the boiler room onto all sorts of stuff including a light switch. Nice. Fortunately the maintenance guy had the sense to cover the switch with a plastic bag....though he didn't have enough sense to at least put duct tape around the hole like I did. It didn't stop the water, but the water was just dribbling down the pipe to a floor drain after I taped it.
The boiler repair guy came in yesterday after I called him and noted that there were actually TWO pipes leaking. So he fixed those, no problem. Then he saw that there was a leak above one of our water heaters too! What the hell?? It had been leaking for a while too because some of the connections corroded a bit. He fixed that leak as well and then I noticed that the water heater wasn't even lit! Again, WTH?? LL had mentioned that she wasn't getting warm water in the morning which is crazy since the bathroom she uses is about 30' from the water heaters. When one of them isn't lit though, that's a problem.
And that's not all!!
While he was working on fixing the pipes, the boiler kicked on. Our boiler is pretty old, but has been maintained well and does a good job heating the six units with steam heat. The boiler guy noticed it was really hot in the boiler room. Like really, really hot. The he noticed that the exhaust from the boiler wasn't properly ventilating. In fact, the flue was completely blocked with bricks and debris, a good portion of which was from the tuckpointers who secured our chimney by making it about half the size and putting a hood on it. After he took off some of the venting ducts and cleared away the debris, the boiler room was no longer so hot and guess what? Neither was my pantry. Yes, the boiler room is below my pantry. My kitchen wasn't impacted oddly enough.
The boiler repair guy said there was probably a significant amount of carbon monoxide going into my unit. When I explained that my carbon monoxide detector in my unit (about 45' from the boiler room) didn't go off, he said that's because heat rises and so does carbon monoxide. I'm not completely convinced that if CO was moving vertically into my unit that it wouldn't also move horizontally into my unit.
Today I called the tuckpointer and told him he owed us some money (he's paying half of the boiler room guy's bill) and is lucky he doesn't have a wrongful death suit on his hands!