Know What to Do If You Lose Heat or Hot Water at Home

Report immediately any loss of heat or hot water to your building superintendent, property manager or owner. NYC regulations require landlords to keep indoor temperatures within certain ranges between October 1 and May 31.

  • Between 6 AM and 10 PM indoor temperatures must be at least 68° when it is below 55° outside
  • Between 10 PM and 6 AM, indoor temperatures must be at least 55° when it is below 40° outside
  • Hot water is required to be maintained at 120°
  • Visit the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (PDF) for more information about heat and hot water requirements in New York City

Call 311 if you are having difficulty paying for heat or repairing heating equipment. The Human Resources Administration (HRA) provides low-income homeowners and renters emergency heating assistance through the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP).  Emergency assistance is given to those who qualify only once per heating season.

Check on neighbors who might need extra help.

  • Help them get to a warm place, like a relative’s home.
  • Call 911 if you see someone with signs of hypothermia.

Stay with family or friends or go to a NYC warming center, if one is open near you, until heat is restored.  Call 311 to see if a warming center near you is open.

Wear hats, gloves, and extra layers of dry clothing.

Keep your baby warm safely.  Continue to put your baby to sleep in his or her crib.  Dress your baby in layers of warm sleep clothing like one-piece cotton sleepers or wearable blankets,  and mittens. Use a flannel fitted crib sheet.  If a blanket must be used, place your baby so his or her feet are at the foot of the crib and tuck ends of the blanket under the crib mattress.  Cover the baby no higher than chest level.  Always keep the blanket away from your baby’s face.

Eat hot food and avoid alcohol as it actually lowers your body temperature even though you may feel warmer.

Prevent fires.

  • Make sure your home has a working smoke alarm.
  • Use space heaters carefully. Never leave space heaters unattended, especially around children. Plug them directly into a wall outlet, not an extension cord. Unplug space heaters whenever you leave the room or go to sleep.
  • Keep flammable materials, including furniture, curtains and carpeting at least three feet away from sources of heat. NEVER hang clothes over a space heater to dry.
  • For more information on how to prevent fires, visit the NYC Fire Department website and search “Winter & Holiday Fire Safety."

Prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.

  • Make sure your home has a working carbon monoxide detector.
  • Never use a gas stove or charcoal grill to heat your home. Kerosene heaters and propane space heaters are illegal in New York City.
  • Clear snow from your car’s tailpipe before running the engine.  NEVER run your car inside a garage or against a snowbank as carbon monoxide can build up inside your car or garage. 
  • If a carbon monoxide detector sounds or you smell gas, open nearby windows then go outside and call 911.
  • For more information on how to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, visit Carbon Monoxide.