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Question DetailsAsked on 7/17/2013

Who would I contact to switch the steam radiator heater control and billing from the top unit to the bottom unit?

I recently purchased a two unit building and plan on living in the bottom unit. The top unit has the control for the heat for both unit and set up to pay for all the heat. We want to rent out the top unit and have them pay only for cooking gas. How would we get this switched and how much would it cost around? It's an old (probably 80+ years old) 2-flat Chicago building.

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Having an electrician switch only the control location (assuming you are talking an electrical control/thermostat rather than manual valve turning control) should not cost most than about $150-250, especially if you are willing to accept possible surface-mounted wiring to the downstairs (which could be in a nice pre-painted metal "race" or wall-mounted cover. If you have different heating zones upstairs and downstairs adding a separate zone control for them (which is usually required by code for rented units, so they can control their own heat) might only cost an additional $100 or so if done at the same time as rerouting the master control. If currently all on one zone, then you are getting into more like a $500-1000 job by a plumber to create 2 zones out of one, depending on how your piping runs.

Actualy separating the billing requires splitting the gas feed into two and installing a second meter - that runs $1000+ - several thousand in some old buildings, particularly if concrete or brick or stone walls, and involves both a plumber for inside piping and your utility for the second meter connection. Adding a separate private meter only the line to their kitchen might run only about $500 or so - depending on piping, as in most juisdictions gas meters HAVE to be installed outside, not inside a building.

If you are going to be figuring the heating and hot water cost in their rent amount, I would just estimate the cost of cooking gas use and bump up the rent amount by that amount and not worry about trying to specifically bill them for it - probably only about $15-30/month. Heat and hot water are the big $ items - cooking is only 10-15% of total gas use in a gas-fueled house or apartment.

Google this phrase - there are several articles on that very issue -
monthly cost of cooking with gas

and your local gas company can most likely give you a more accurate estimated amount keyed to your specific local gas rates.

Also, if you google this phrase, you can get more info on splitting into 2 meters -
cost to add a gas meter in Chicago

Answered 6 years ago by LCD

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