Air & Heat

Tips for Controlling Room Temperature

Keeping your room a comfortable temperature in a large, shared building is a little different than when living in a house or apartment. Below are some tips to help negotiate the various temperature controls as you get settled into your room.


All residence halls except Mayflower are heated with steam. When the outside air falls below a predetermined temperature, the main supply valves to the building are automatically opened to allow steam to circulate throughout the building. Typically, the steam is turned on in the residence hall buildings by October 15.

In each residence hall room that is heated with steam, the heat can be individually controlled. There is a control valve to each radiator in all student rooms. These valves are either a black control knob on the lower right or left of the radiator or behind a small hinged door on the radiator cabinet. Turning the valve counter-clockwise all the way will allow the maximum amount of steam to flow through the valve, heating the room to a high temperature. Turning the valve all the way clockwise turns off the steam, reducing heat to the room.

Mayflower rooms are serviced by one unit that provides both heating and air conditioning, although not at the same time. Students need to set the dial on the units to a temperature that is comfortable for all residents.

Your room will be more evenly and efficiently heated if you keep the desk, bed, boxes, etc., at least one foot away from the front and top of your radiator. It is important that there is unrestricted air flow around the radiator. Opening windows will cause the heater to increase heat output. Try to regulate temperature with the control valve first.

Problems should be reported to your front desk.

Diagram of radiator control valve

convector       knobs

Turn valve counterclockwise = more steam = more heat in room
Turn valve clockwise = less steam = less heat in room

Air Conditioning

Room air conditioners are provided in many residence hall rooms. Students may not bring their own units. Air conditioners are designed for use during the "cooling season" from April 15 - October 15. Requests for air conditioner repair or replacement are only acted upon during this time period. The following are detailed instructions on air conditioner operation. Report any problems by going to your front desk. Students should not make repairs themselves.

  1. Operate the unit only with the windows closed.
  2. Set the thermostat dial at 6; if this is too cool, decrease the setting to where it is comfortable.
  3. Never set the dial at the maximum setting for long periods of time.
  4. Keep the front of the unit free of drapes, posters, etc.
  5. Do not operate the unit when it is below freezing outdoors. If you do so, ice will form on the coils and the unit will be damaged. You will be charged for repairs.
  6. After turning the unit off, wait several minutes before restarting the air conditioner to avoid damaging the unit.
  7. Use the wall outlet specifically designed for your air conditioner. Other outlets in the room are not designed to handle the additional electrical load.

Professor Therm's Guide to Heating Burge

Professor Therm's Guide to Heating Currier

Professor Therm's Guide to Heating Daum

Professor Therm's Guide to Heating Hillcrest

Professor Therm's Guide to Heating Stanley

Professor Therm's Guide to Heating Rienow

Professor Therm's Guide to Heating Slater