The type of heating system for your condo typically depends on the age of your building.
In newer buildings heating and air conditioning are fully controlled by one or more thermostats in the suite. Air conditioning or heating can be selected at any time of the year.
Older buildings may be capable of offering only heating or air conditioning at any given time. Each year management or the condo board decides when heat is to be turned on and off for the season. There may be an interim period where neither heat nor air conditioning is available.
The unpredictability of weather can result in heat turned off too soon or on too early. An unexpected hot or cold period causes discomfort for those requiring warmth or cooling. For heating, some condo buildings have additional baseboard heating that can be turned on at any time independent of other heating systems.
Baseboard heating is intended for use when the main heating system is unable to provide adequate warmth to an area, or when heat is needed because the central heating system is not operational.
Despite its high cost and energy requirement, baseboard heating can be a heavily used feature residents are reluctant to give up. It offers a degree of control over heating unavailable through the central heating system.
Baseboard heating can be misused. Some run it while using air conditioning. During winter it can offer supplemental heat to those choosing to keep windows open. Suite metering of baseboard heating can identify these heavy energy users. In buildings with suite metering of electricity, a separate meter may be required to monitor baseboard heating. In a building where baseboard heating is metered, management can monitor use by suite, identify the heaviest or excessive use of baseboard heating and educate on its proper use.