The operation, maintenance and administration of the heating system is a very important matter that each Association member/resident needs to understand. By knowing how the system works, you will be able to achieve a comfortable and warm living environment at a reasonable cost.
The townhouse units (23 units with a garage), have their own individual oil-fired burners and oil tanks. These unit owners do not rely on the Association’s heating system and do not receive monthly invoices for the delivery of heat to their unit. Townhouse units are located at B-1. 8-2. 8-3. 8-4. 8-5, 8-6, 8-7. 8-8. 9-1, 9-2, 9-3, 9-4. 9-5, 9-6. 9-7, 10-1. 10-2, 13-1. 13-2. 13-3. 13-4, 14-1. and 14-2.
Townhouse unit owners/residents should have their oil furnace systems checked at least once each year. The air filter in the furnace should be checked every two (2) months and replaced as needed. If your system has a humidifier installed on the furnace, it should be checked at least once each year.
Townhouse unit owners are fully responsible for the purchase, installation, operation, and delivery of oil to their privately owned heating systems. They may contract these activities through any contractor of their choice. The remaining 165 units share a boiler with other surrounding units.
Units Serviced by Association Boilers:
There are a total of 25 boilers, along with the same number of corresponding 1,000 gallon oil tanks that serve the remaining 165 units. The number of units that share a common boiler ranges from as few as three (3) to as many as ten (10). The boilers vary in size to suit the number of units that are attached to the same heat source.
How Boilers Work:
The boilers heat water that is circulated to each unit. The water then runs through a heating coil (heat exchanger). In the heat exchanger, a large fan draws in cooler, indoor air through a filter – and blows this air to the heating coil. The heated air continues circulation through the duct system to the various rooms, from which it returns to the heat exchanger through return ducts thus completing a circuit.
The units with a common boiler have a heat valve that regulates the hot water flow from the main hot water pipe to each unit’s heating coil. The heat valve is opened only when the unit’s thermostat calls for heat. In addition, the heat valve is monitored by an elapsed time meter, which measures the elapsed time of usage by each unit for billing purposes.
Heat Transfer Between Adjoining Units:
Each resident shares common walls, ceilings, and floors with neighbors. Generally speaking, ground floor and northern exposure units are cooler than upstairs and southern exposure units. These locations cause heating expenses to be higher in winter, but conversely, cooling expenses will be lower in summer. One would also find that heating expenses will be higher in units that have several unoccupied adjoining units that do not contribute heat for the benefit of the neighboring units, but do absorb heat from the occupied units. One benefit of condominium living is that an adjacent unit generally provides a higher “‘R” value for insulation than would an exterior wall.
Each unit’s temperature is controlled by a centrally located thermostat within the unit that has four operative switches.
1. The clear face plate can be turned clockwise to select a higher or lower temperature. The actual room temperature is shown on the bottom temperature scale.
2. On the top of the thermostat are two levers. The left one can be set in any one of three positions – COOL, OFF, or HEAT. COOL activates the air conditioning system. OFF deactivates any temperature control. HEAT activates the heating system. The elapsed time meter registering the opening of the heat valve and flow of hot water to the heat coils will only commence when this lever is in the HEAT position and the thermostat setting calls for heat.
To save energy and to reduce your heating cost when outside temperatures exceed 70 degrees at the sensor, please turn your thermostat to the “”OFF” position.
You control your cost for “space heating’ by the proper operation of your thermostat.
3. The other lever on the top right of the thermostat regulates the operation of the fan. With this lever in the ON position, the fan runs regardless of the temperature desired or requested. (This is useful just to circulate the air within the unit without any heating or cooling from the heat exchanger). The time elapse meter does not run when the fan is in the “ON” position. With the lever in the AUTO position, the fan will turn on and off automatically when either warm or cool air is necessary to adjust the temperature of the room to the desired level.
4. Concealed beneath the gold colored rim of the thermostat is another control lever. This lever regulates how quickly the thermostat anticipates calling for heat. When set on a lower number, heat is turned on within two or three degrees of the requested temperature setting resulting in more heating cycles per hour. When set on a higher number, the heat is turned on in say 5 or 6 degrees of the requested temperature setting resulting in fewer heating cycles per hour. The user may adjust this in small increments to reach the most desirable heating cycles per hour for personal comfort.
The oil and maintenance for the 165 units using the shared boiler system is supplied by an oil supplier selected by Council. The Association has a contract that offers a discount from normal retail rates due to our large buying power. The residents in the townhouse units may use any supplier or maintenance firm of their choice.
The Condominium Association is fully responsible for the ultimate payment of oil and maintenance bills for the 165 units. It was only through this guarantee of payment that any oil company would supply the complex. Therefore, it is essential that all residents understand that these bills are legal obligations of the Association and each unit owner. They will be enforced for full payment, if necessary, to recoup the Association’s funds if delinquent. Specific resolutions and amendments to the Code of Regulations have been passed drawing direct liability regarding oil billing, as well as legal fees, delinquent fees, and similar costs.
At the start of the heating season (approximately September 15), and on the day the boilers are turned on, a reading is recorded on each of the 165 elapsed time meters located in each boiler room. On approximately the tenth of each billing month, a reading is recorded on each of the 165 elapsed time meters and the 25 oil tanks are filled by the supplier. The difference between the two elapsed time readings is the time used by each unit for that heating period. The amount of oil that was used to fill each boiler is also recorded. With this information, the following charges are billed;
“SPACE” = The unit’s elapsed time multiplied by the per minute cost to provide oil, based on the per gallon price. This cost may increase or decrease each year depending on the contract price of oil.
“BASE” = The difference between the total oil bill for filling the 25 tanks and the total ‘SPACE’ bill, which is divided by 165 units. Each unit is charged the same amount for ‘BASE’ for ‘heat on demand”. While a hot water system is an efficient method of heat transfer in a large shared system, it also requires that a certain heat capacity be expended in providing ‘heat on demand” (standby heat) in such a system. For any days where there is little or no demand for heat, the boilers continue to heat circulating water, although at a lower rate. The charge for this ‘heat on demand” is shared by all 165 users. The charge for ‘BASE” is normally higher in the first and last heating periods since ‘SPACE” usage has been shown to the about 15% of normal usage, while boilers operate by about 57% during these periods. The minimum “BASE’ charge is $4.00 depending on total elapsed time.
“FEE” = $14.00 per month for eight (8) months ($112.00 per unit per year), levied to cover boiler and system maintenance, and electricity to run the boilers. This charge is reviewed annually by Council and may increase or decrease accordingly.Therefore, your bill is calculated on the following equation;
“SPACE” + “”BASE” + “FEE” = TOTAL BILL
HEATING SYSTEM CALENDAR (On or about)
- September 15: Heat is turned on to 25 boilers, M-1 through M-25.
- November 10: Meter reading, oil delivery, and invoices mailed to 165 unit owners
- December 1: Oil heating bill due (for the period of Sept. 15 – Nov. 10). (This invoice may be higher than normal to reflect two months of oil usage)
- December 10: Meter reading, oil delivery, and invoices mailed to 165 unit owners.
- January 1: Oil heating bill due (for period of Nov. 10 – Dec. 10).
- January 10: Meter reading, oil delivery, and invoices mailed to 165 unit owners.
- February 1: Oil heating bill due (for period of Dec. 10 – Jan 10).
- February 10: Meter reading, oil delivery, and invoices mailed to 165 unit owners.
- March 1: Oil heating bill due (for period of Jan. 10 – Feb 10).
- March 10: Meter reading, oil delivery, and invoices mailed to 165 unit owners.
- April 1: Oil heating bill due (for period of Feb. 10 – Mar 10).
- April 10: Meter reading, oil delivery, and invoices mailed to 165 unit owners.
- May 1: Oil heating bill due (for period of Mar. 10 – April 10).
- May 10: Meter reading, oil delivery, and invoices mailed to 165 unit owners
- May 31: Heat is turned off to all 25 boilers. Meters are read and oil is delivered for the next heating season.
- June 1: Oil heating bill due (for period of Apr. 10 – May 10)
- June 10: Final invoice for heating season is mailed.
- July 1: Final invoice for heating season due (for period May 10 – 31).
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS:
When does the bill go out? —————– The 15th of the month.
When is the bill due? ———————– The 1st, of the following month.
When is the bill delinquent? ————— The 15th of the following month.
What is the late charge? ——————- $25.00 (See Resolution #8 for details).
Why did I get a bill when my thermostat was turned off??
“SPACE” + “BASE” + “FEE” = TOTAL BILL
Generally speaking, “SPACE” is calculated on the time that your thermostat is turned on. After the heating system is turned on for the season, you will always receive a monthly bill until the system is turned off (around May 31st). If your thermostat was turned off, you will still be billed for “BASE” (heat on demand) and the “‘FEE” (maintenance of the boiler).
I am a renter. Why isn’t the bill sent to me?
Each unit owner is legally responsible for all charges assigned to their unit. If the landlord requires that the renter pay the heating bill and you do not receive your oil bill by the 20th of the month, you should contact your landlord, or the Office Manager at Continental Property Management, Inc., at (215) 343-1550.
I rent my unit. Why did I get a bill?
Each unit owner is legally responsible for all charges assigned to their unit. Since your tenant will not receive a bill from the Association, you should make arrangements to make sure that the bill is paid by the 1st of the following month.
I am a unit owner and I did not get a bill. What should I do?
Each meter is read on the 10th of the month and an invoice is mailed to each unit owner. If you do not receive your invoice by the 20th of the month, please contact the Office Manager at Continental Property Management, Inc., at (215) 343-1550.
My bill is wrong. What should I do?
Your bill is calculated on information generated from the meters, the oil company, and from maintenance that is required to operate the system. This information is fed into a computer program that creates your bill. Each bill is reviewed by the Accounting Department and the Property Manager before being mailed to you. Every effort is made to provide you with an accurate bill. If, however, you feel that an error has been made, please write a letter explaining why your bill is wrong to:
Eric Lindbloom, Property Manager
CHESTNUT GROVE CONDOMINIUM ASSOCIATION
975 Easton Road, Suite 102
Warrington, PA 18976
Please provide as much information as possible to substantiate your claim. Upon receipt of your letter, an audit will be conducted of your oil heating account.
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO IF YOU DO NOT HAVE HEAT
Follow this Checklist:
1. Make sure that your thermostat is set correctly.
2. Make sure that your circuit breakers are in good working order.
3. Open your heating unit closet and check the pipes to see if they are hot when, touched. If the pipes are hot, the boiler for your unit is delivering heat and the problem lies within your unit. Since the maintenance of all heating equipment within the unit is the direct responsibility of each unit owner, you will need to contact a qualified contractor. Brinker’s Fuels, Inc. (215-348-2670) is one service contractor that is familiar with our heating units. You may select any qualified contractor of your choice to service the heating system inside your unit.
Tenants should call the unit owner or the owner’s agent. Landlords should provide their tenants with a key to the heating closet.
4. If the pipes are cold, a boiler problem is indicated. If possible, check with neighbors using the same boiler to see if they might have the same problem.
CALL BRINKER’S FUELS, INC.
DIRECTLY AT(215) 348-2670 OR (215) 343-0660
TO REPORT THE PROBLEM. THEIR SERVICEMEN ARE AVAILABLE 24 HOURS A DAY, SEVEN DAYS A WEEK.
Please do not call Continental Property Management, Inc., with a heating related emergency, as this will only delay the arrival of a serviceman to your unit.
If Brinker’s Fuels, Inc. finds that the problem is within the boiler, the repair will be performed at the cost of the Association. If the problem is within your unit, Brinker’s will perform the repairs subject to your authorization.