Project Details

Heat Seek

Helping New York City keep the heat on

Project URL:
Project Twitter: @heatseeknyc

  • Health
  • Data
  • Internet
  • Mobile
  • Physical Computing

New York winters are notoriously cold, with over 230,000 complaints about inadequate heating received by the city from tenants each winter. Landlords are required by law to heat apartments to a certain level relative to the temperature outside, but when they violate the regulations it is a long and bureaucratic process for tenants to hold them to task. And when inspectors turn up to see for themselves, they often find the apartments toasty warm as landlords crank up the heating for their benefit.

Heat Seek is a device that measures and records temperatures at hourly intervals and uploads them to the internet. The data is analysed and logged, and the information can be downloaded in a printable form to be used as evidence in housing court. It is easy, fuss-free, and far more accurate than manually collected data.  Finally, landlords can be held accountable for withholding heat, and tenants will no longer have to suffer freezing winters inside their homes.

Heat Seek has teamed up with Housing Preservation and Development to undertake a pilot in October 2015. They have already trialled it with a small group of users in winter 2014, when they recorded over 150,000 hours of temperature readings, and almost 4,000 hours of violations.

Eventually, the team at Heat Seek hopes that the presence of these devices in rental properties will encourage landlords not to violate the heating laws, and so preventing the problem before it arises.

Developed to deal with a specific social issue in New York, the sensors have the potential to be used globally.

To help provide Heat Seek sensors for people in need, go to and click ‘Donate’. 

Image courtesy of Heat Seek 

Last updated: 29th of June, 2015

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