How would you heat this office?

I have a NYC office of around 2,000 square feet. I’ve complained to the landlord several times about the building’s substandard heat. Suffice it to say that nothing’s being done and nothing will be done.

The radiators will get this place to about 55 degrees in this frigid NYC weather we’ve been having lately. We’ve used 3 small electric heaters to make things bearable in here. I want to run out and get something to raise the temperature to something more comfortable, but I want to avoid buying 10 little electric heaters if there’s something I can get that will heat the whole office. An electric fireplace? Some sort of larger heater? What would you recommend?

My situation is such that I don’t want to make a five-figure investment, as I can break my lease at any time and I don’t know how much longer the company will be here. I also don’t want to pursue any solutions that involve getting the landlord in trouble with the various governmental powers-that-be in NYC. I want to buy something, bring it in and have everybody be immensely happy with me for making it nice and toasty in here.

How would you do it?

Any electric heater is limited by the current and voltage of the outlet it’s plugged into. Unless you have a 20 amp outlet (with a slightly weird-looking outlet) or a 240 volt outlet (electric dryer type of outlet), you’re not going to be able to get any more heat out than the cheapest electric heater.

Also, you can’t just plug more heaters into additional outlets on the same circuit, you’ll just trip the breakers.

Have you put plastic up over all the windows? Bought a tube or two of caulk? Maybe hang thick curtains in front of the exterior walls?

ETA: There are vent-free gas heaters, but you’d need to check local regulations to see if that’s legal. I’d be wary of that, myself.

What’s the window situation? Have you checked for drafts (as in, stood next to a window to see if it was drafty)

You might find that the existing heat situation gets significantly better if you can insulate the windows, using insulator films, caulk, or even heavy drapes. If they’re single-pane windows, the insulator kits will be your best bet. Drapes are good but they block the light which blocks incoming heat.

Yeah, there’s quite a bit of heat escaping around the windows. There’s no window trim, so the “heat with a hair dryer shrink N seal”-type kits won’t work. I’m thinking about getting some of that foam seal tape, though.

And maybe another electric heater or six.

Get some rope caulk, like so. Cheap and effective.

Here’s an easy how to. (probably unnecessary, it’s not rocket science.)

that plus a few infrared heaters will go a long way. Infrared heaters are nice because they tend to heat objects in an area, but not the air itself, which means they feel very effective in drafty places.

A salamander. :smiley:

(Anybody who’s worked construction will get the joke, hopefully.)

Serious answer, we just picked up a new heater this winter, and it is working far better than I had anticipated. It is just a small space heater, but it has both a fan and oscillating action - I didn’t realize what a difference the oscillation makes. I’d try a couple of those before moving on to any larger investments.

Depending on the radiator you might try running a fan ove the fins to extract more heat.

Look up natural gas wall heater. One with a fan will distribute heat better, but they do alright without the fan. The ones without fans don’t need to be wired in. It of course depends on your layout and situation which only you know about.

How about providing workers with electric throw blankets for over their knees?
Also, you might get a plumber in to see if something can be done about the existing heating system. Perhaps something simple can be fixed.

Sneak into the offices that are upstream from you, and turn their heat down, or cover their radiators with blankets. More heat left for you!

On a more serious note, your computers will generate heat when they’re running. Find some low memory number crunching code that runs about 12 hours, and set it to start every morning at about 4:00 am. Start as many instances as needed to use all the CPU. Set their priority to “below normal” or “low”* and they won’t slow down the computers for the users. I do this with the PC in front of the window in my office during the winter, and it puts out noticeable heat.

  • I know how to do this manually, but there must be some way to specify it head of time.

Those Amish heaters are supposed to put out a lot of heat. I use those oil-filled radiator-looking heaters, and they put out a fair amount of heat with no fear of setting a fire.

Overpriced crap with a fancy cover.

I would think the answer would be obvious: Snuggies™ for all.

sealing the drafts is a must, also if the office is a workspace and not a reception area where you need to look all professional there are a few other tricks
the oil filled heaters put out a lot of heat once they warm up, one of those with an oscillating fan behind it will move it around.
another trick is to put something near the heater which will heat up and radiate as well, I realize bricks are probably out of the question but just about anything that can store some heat will help, once it warms up it radiates more heat instead of that heat simple going up to the ceiling.
a fan that pushes cold air up to the ceiling or one that moves warm air down from the ceiling. better to have the whole office 60 than the ceiling 80 and the floor 40.

get someone in early or have a way to start things up an hour before everyone gets in. that way you dont start the day freezing your arse off.

Yeah, but I’ve heard from people who have them that they put out exactly as much heat as you’d expect from a space heater the size it is. It’s just that it’s marketed as a money-saving device, but it doesn’t save any money; you’re just paying a huge electric bill instead of a gas or oil bill. Maybe you can find other electric space heaters that size that are cheaper. I use the oil-filled radiator one myself.

IF you’re going to do this you shoudl just get a regular old ceramic element heater. The oil heaters work by convection and give a very even heat, as opposed to fan-forced heaters which swing a little more.

Not going to get into how electricity is possibly the single most expensive way to heat a room short of a Ben Franklin bon-fire

Calk the windows first; my suggestion is wasted if you are losing heat to the breeze.

This is NYC, right? Is the landlord on prem? (probabably not; LIE traffic sux) Who Is? Do they have a key to the basement (where the furnace is) or the thermostat? I’m not thinking a 5-figure solution, but it will need to be in cash so you can have a full month of “Oooops? Gosh, how’d That happen?” before Mr. Fields notices. Best bet is to find out the building’s monthly Con-Ed bill cycle first, so you’ll get a full 30 days at max temp (and hopefully your caulking will keep what you bought in another 10, bringing you almost to March). But its company logo sweaters after that…