Snapshot: Heat Seek sensor data

In our last two blog posts, we delved deep into the heat/hot water complaint data collected by New York City’s 311 service. We found that the number of complaints per year has been rising since the city began releasing complaint data, and that now over half of all residential rental buildings in NYC report a complaint each year. Now we turn to our data.

During last heating season, we outfitted six buildings with Heat Seek temperature sensors: two in Upper Manhattan, one in the South Bronx, and three in northern Brooklyn, all areas which — according to our Coldmap — are known to have historically high complaint counts.

Red pins on Heat Seek’s cold map mark each building with one or more Heat Seek sensor. To preserve tenant anonymity, all locations are approximate.

From these six buildings, Heat Seek sensors recorded 151,385 hourly temperature readings and caught 3,931 violations, equal to 163 full days without heat. Tenants in these buildings are constantly at risk, never confident that they will receive heat in their homes when they need it most.

These six buildings are just the tip of the iceberg. As we prepare to install sensors in forty buildings this fall, we expect to find similarly troubling results. By increasing accountability, however, we are confident that we can solve New York City’s heating crisis and ensure all New Yorkers have a safe — and warm — place to call home.