The cost of the heating is recharged to leaseholders in their service charges (currently c. £900 per year). There is annual servicing for the heat exchanger and booster fan system over the summer months.
The communal heating system runs from October (with a test period in mid-September to clear out air-blocks) to mid-May. The system was designed in the 1960s to the standards that were current then and only heats one of the floors in a maisonette. It works by pumping hot water round the whole block. Then in each flat there is a booster fan that pushes warm air into the flat, in response to a thermostat. There are four levels of heat:
The heating is put into standby mode between 12am - 6am and in the event the weather drops down below 3C, the heating will turn on (after a 15min delay) to bring the temperature in the flats back up again.
Occasionally the system doesn’t work and can go off for hours or sometimes for days, in which case you should phone the Westminster Housing repairs call centre. Do phone: Westminster Housing has a policy that one phone call is assumed to be a problem with an individual flat, whereas more than one call elevates the problem to being a fault in the communal system. The LTRA keeps a record of outages and requests a refund from Westminster Housing. In the case of a prolonged breakdown Westminster Housing may be able to provide temporary electric heaters.
It is recommended you have alternative heating:
There is currently a consultation about the future of the communal heating system because it is nearing the end of its design life. Whatever changes are agreed upon will not take effect until summer 2020 at the earliest: this is the current position.
Although the communal gas boiler has been renewed, the pipework within Luxborough Tower has not, and will shortly reach the end of its useful life. This is evidenced by several recent leaks arising from pipework failures, which have caused serious water damage and disruption. Westminster Housing are currently examining future options and are consulting on them with both the LTRA committee and leaseholders in general.
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