Wednesday, December 2, 2015

HOT WATER ISSUES IN OLDER APARTMENT BUILDINGS



I found this recent email from the law firm of Reibman & Weiner interesting because I recall in my younger days living in an old apartment building which always had this problem:

"THE HOT WATER IN YOUR HOUSE CAN CAUSE SERIOUS INJURIES 
 
This is the time of the year when people are most likely to be injured by dangerously hot water in their apartment.  During the heating season landlords increase the boiler temperature from 160 degrees Fahrenheit to more than 212 degrees Fahrenheit to provide heat.  If the hot water system is not working properly the water coming out of the tap or shower can be as much as 200 degrees Fahrenheit, nearly the same temperature as the boiler.  Obviously 200 degree water will cause severe scald/burn injuries.   
 
SCALD/BURN INJURIES
 
Scald/burn injuries are so painful that victims often receive morphine from emergency medical personnel before they even get to the hospital.  Treatment can require skin grafts and result in scarring, reduced range of motion of fingers and limbs and increased susceptibility to skin cancer.
 
THE CAUSE OF DANGEROUSLY HOT WATER
 
The hot water system in an apartment building should mix hot and cold water  so that the water coming out of the tap or shower is at a safe temperature.  Negligent maintenance or repair is the most common cause of malfunction of the hot water system.  Often the landlord or plumbing company fails to routinely check the temperature of the water or tries to save money by postponing necessary repairs. Sometimes the plumbing company installs the wrong temperature control device.

WHAT IS A SAFE TEMPERATURE FOR WATER IN AN APARTMENT

The generally accepted maximum safe temperature for domestic hot water is 140 degrees Fahrenheit. When water comes out of the tap or shower at more than 140 degrees Fahrenheit a person can suffer serious scald injuries before they have time to react.  Children and the elderly suffer scald injuries more quickly than others.   
 
DON'T PUT UP WITH DANGEROUSLY HOT WATER

People sometimes "adjust" to a dangerous hot water condition by mixing hot water with cold water at the tap or shower before they use the water.  Mixing hot and cold water is not a substitute for safe water temperature.  It only takes one forgetful moment to result in serious injury.  No one should live in an apartment or house where a momentary lapse can result in tragic injuries.

PRESERVE EVIDENCE WITH ATHERMOMETER AND A VIDEO CAMERA

If you or someone you know is injured by excessively hot water in the home it is very important to preserve evidence of the water temperature. The best way to do this is to hold a meat thermometer under the running water and videotape the temperature."
From  Reibman & Weiner, Esqs. | info@reibmanweiner.com
26 Court Street, Suite 1808, Brooklyn, NY 11242

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