If you're like many New Yorkers, cold weather brings your ancient cast-iron radiator to life. That means your apartment is probably too hot (or too cold) and filled with loud clanking that sounds like trolls banging on your pipes with metal hammers.
Don't worry though. These pre-war building inconveniences don't need to last a lifetime.
Meet Marshall Cox, founder and CEO of a New York City startup called Radiator Labs. His company is working to solve your heating woes, dampen the noise and even reduce energy expenditures and pollution.
Cox and his team have developed a heat-resistant radiator enclosure fitted with a small fan, temperature sensors and a ZigBee wireless radio transmitter. You place the device over your radiator, Velcro it in place, then control the temperature in the room through a web interface.
"It's a glorified oven mitt and a fan that's controlled with pretty simple electronics," Cox said.
The Radiator Labs system will allow users to control how much heat goes from the radiator to the room and doesn't require any special equipment in the boiler room or changes to the pipes or radiators themselves.
According to Cox, once the interior of the enclosure heats up to 100 degrees Celsius, it will no longer accept steam.
That's where the energy savings and pollution reduction come in. The dispersed steam is redistributed to other radiators in the system. Since the boiler will have to turn on less frequently, less heating oil will be burned.
Cox estimates the technology could save building owners between 20 and 30 percent in energy costs.
As for the noise, Cox says the device will stop the banging and clanking sounds, but won't necessarily stop the hissing.
The only bad news is that the Radiator Labs device is still in development, so the product is not yet on the market.