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Common Tenant Problems - Heat

This section is for renters to discuss issues regarding Heat in your apartment.

For apartments in Toronto where the landlord controls the heat, the City of Toronto Municipal Code requires your landlord to provide a minimum temperature of 21 degrees Celsius in all areas of your apartment, between September 15 and June 1.  You can read the bylaw here (see section “497-1.2. Minimum temperature.”):  Toronto Municipal Code, Chapter 497

If your landlord breaks this rule, then you can call the city at 311 and file a complaint.  Generally the city takes complaints about the heat seriously, and they have the legal authority to compel your landlord to respect this bylaw and to provide heat.

Note that other jurisdictions within Ontario have different heat bylaws, for more information see FAQ Question 7 at the Ontario Tenants Rights website: My apartment is too cold. What heating must the landlord provide?

In addition to this forum there are some terrific information resources available on this topic:

• From The City of Toronto, Bylaw enforcement - Low or No Heat/Other Vital Services in Rental Units

• From the Federation of Metro Tenants' Associations, Heat/vital services

Author Topic: Radiator Help?  (Read 7035 times)

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Radiator Help?
« on: October 24, 2021, 11:24:49 am »
My building's heat is on, but my radiators are cold, and I don't want the landlord to enter my apartment because of COVID.  Does anyone know how to "turn on" radiators?


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Re: Radiator Help?
« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2021, 10:37:21 am »

If your building is heated by hot-water radiators then there is a boiler system (usually in the basement) that heats water for the rads, and if your radiators are not warm (assuming that the boiler is indeed on) then your radiators are either turned-off, or full of air that needs to be bled.

• If your rads are off, then you will need to open your radiator’s valves.  Each radiator will have at least one valve (and sometimes two) that you will have to open in order for the hot water to flow through, heating the radiator.  Turn the valve’s handle counterclockwise to open it.  If your radiators have two valves (one at each end) then both must be open for the radiator to work.

• Additionally, your rads may need to be “bled” to remove air bubbles from the pipes.  Every rad has a “bleed valve” at one end – often it is a little turn screw with a grip at the end, so it looks like you could twist it open or closed with your fingers, but I have always found it much easier to use a small pair of pliers.  (Also, the rad can get quite hot when bleeding... so be careful.)

The procedure is to twist open the screw a bit, and you’ll hear air bubbles escaping and see just a little bit of water squirting out.  Hold a disposable cup under the bleed valve to catch the water.  Once the air bubbles stop and there’s only water coming out, then you’re done – twist the screw closed again and move on to the next rad.  Wash your hands when you are done, and don’t use that cup for drinking – you would not want to accidentally ingest any of the water from the rads.

Note that you will likely have to bleed your rads more than once – as the water starts circulating, additional air bubbles trapped below are freed and rise, refilling your rads with air until eventually all of the air is out of the system.

If you are in any way uncomfortable with the idea of bleeding your rads yourself or if you can’t find the bleed valves etc., then get your landlord to do this.  Also, if the valve handles or bleed valves don’t turn easily – don’t force them, again, call your landlord to come and check on things.

If you continue to have problems with your heat then keep complaining to your landlord, preferably by e-mail so you have a record of your complaints, and get a thermometer so you can document your apartment’s temperature.

I have found in the past that my landlord responds faster to complaints about the heat if I indicate to them that I know about the City of Toronto Heat Bylaw and am willing to file a complaint with the city by calling “311” if they don’t fix the problem quickly.  For your information, the City of Toronto Municipal Code 497-1.2 ( requires your landlord to provide a minimum temperature of 21° Celsius in all areas of your apartments (including every room, hallway, closet, bathroom, etc.) between September 15 and June 1.  The City of Toronto takes heat complaints seriously;  they will have a bylaw officer investigate promptly, who can fine the landlord or otherwise compel them to resolve heating problems.  Usually making the threat is all it takes to get a heating problem resolved (although there have been exceptions, it has taken my landlord a long time to resolve heat problems for some of my neighbours).


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