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Porters, Handymen, and Doorman, or PHD's Blog
 
  Questions For Supers - 500 to 549  
       
 

frequently asked questions  ask a question  questions by category

 
  last update on Thursday January 31, 2008 09:43 PM PT  
 

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  The information given on these question and answer pages has been carefully checked and is believed to be accurate; however, no responsibility is assumed for inaccuracies. All answers sent in and published on these pages are the sole opinions of the authors and do not represent any legal, medical, or professional advice.

The Supers Technical Association reserves the right to make changes to any and all content without notice, and to edit all questions and answers received for accuracy or clarity, or for any other purpose.

Although the Supers Technical Association believes the content to be accurate, complete, and current, the Supers Technical Association makes no warranty as to its accuracy or completeness of the content. It is your responsibility to verify any information before relying on it. The content of this site may also include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. From time to time changes will be made, without prior notice, to the content herein.

Do not construe any answers we give as legally binding in any way. We don't practice law and do NOT dispense legal advice.

 
 
 

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  QUESTIONS POSTED  
     
  Question #549: Am I allowed to use an incinerator with a pollution control chimney in Brooklyn? Post your answer

Answer: NO. All incinerators in New York City have been banned. PGrech, gboc.net

 
  Question #548: I live on the fifteenth floor of a Manhattan high rise. Our terrace was recently renovated and the height of the floor was elevated by 4 inches. The existing rail now seems unsafe - especially for young children. What are the child safety regulations for height and width (between slats) for a rail on a terrace in a residential dwelling? Post your answer

Answer: Minimum distance between the floor and the bottom of the horizontal rail is 40 inches. The space between the vertical pieces cannot exceed 5 inches. PGrech, gboc.net

 
  Question #547: Is it unlawful for a super or handyman to perform the duties of a locksmith in New York City? Post your answer

Answer: Yes in at least most cases it is.

Answer: A New York City locksmith license is required for changing cylinders, or doing any type of maintenance on an existing lock. The installation of a new lock does NOT require a license. Technically, the removal of an existing lock, and the subsequent installation of a replacement requires a license, but no one follows those rules that closely. Rick Duskiewicz info@locksmith.org.

 
  Question #546: Do tall buildings sway with the wind? If so why and how? Post your answer

Answer: Tall buildings DO NOT sway back and forth with the wind. This has always been a misleading description of what occurs. More accurately, what does happen is the building will vibrate with the wind, causing some movement. This movement is so small that it is measured in fractions of an inch. The tallest buildings in the heaviest winds would vibrate 1/2 inch each way for a total of one inch. Most occupants will never feel the vibrations - some who are very sensitive will. Many people confuse the movement due to vibrations with what is known as bending or leaning in buildings, which is caused mainly by changes in temperature and not winds. The vibrations cause by temperature changes can exceed one inch. Example of this is when the sun shines on one side of the building. PGrech, gboc.net

 
  Question #545: A contractor said that I cannot add a floor to the top of a condo townhouse (want to add a 5th floor to my 4th floor unit) because when the building was converted to condominiums they did not do it to the proper fire code, i.e. fire stairs, sprinklers in halls, etc. Is this true? Post your answer

Answer: An architect can best answer this question. I am surprised you asked a contractor before asking an architect. PGrech, gboc.net

 
  Question #544: I was recently directed to a very good apartment through the building's super. How much money should I give him for his help? Post your answer

Answer: I am glad you are thinking of rewarding the person who gave you the tip on the apartment. I can not make any recommendations on what to give him for ethical reasons. One way to do it: see how much you are saving, then figure out a small percentage to give him.  PGrech, gboc.net

 
  Question #543: Are landlords required to install carbon monoxide detectors in 10 family apartment buildings in Yonkers? Post your answer

Answer: The City of Yonkers may have their own code / law for CO detectors. Call the city and ask them. In any event even if the landlord was required to install one, you would be charged for it. So why not put it in yourself. Don't buy a cheap one, buy a good one for about $25. PGrech, gboc.net

 
  Question #542: I represent a large residential building in Manhattan which has a high pressure boiler and a standpipe. We have a licensed employee to look after the boiler and pipe during regular working hours (9-5 M-F). Do we need to have a licensed employee available 24/7 for boiler and standpipe problems if we install a quick response alarm system? Post your answer

Answer: A quick-response system may satisfy the requirements. But never-the-less, the law requires someone 24/7 to cover the high pressure system. Now, only rarely is that done in the industry. You should ask your managing agent to look into this. A far as the standpipe is concerned you do not need 24/7 coverage unless you have a fire pump system. Both of these can be cured by having other staff members holding both High Pressure Steam and Fire Pump certificates of fitness. PGrech, gboc.net

 
  Question #541: We live in a 126-unit building and there are exhaust vents in the bathrooms which have no windows. Lately, I have noticed that both bathrooms have what the super calls "negative drafts", air is actually coming into the bathrooms instead of being sucked out through the vent. Management has been unresponsive - saying that cleaning the whole system would be an inconvenience to tenants and that most buildings just don't clean the vents. Is there some sort of building regulation that addresses this issue? We have been getting lots of cigar and cigarette smoke through the vents and it really is becoming a health issue. Post your answer

Answer: Most vents are not cleaned in New York City, but should be cleaned once every ten years or so. Negative air usually is not a sign of dirty vents. First thing to check is the vent housing on the roof. Just because the motor is running that does not mean the fan is running. The housing needs to be removed and the motor, V-belt and fan checked for proper operation. Sometimes the fan may be running backwards, other times the belt is slipping. All these are just some of the problems that cause negative air. With the housing attached, the super should be able to feel the air coming out of the housing discharge vent. Secondly, in your apartment, open a window say a few inches and put one piece of toilet paper on the vent (see tip of the week). If the moving air holds the paper against the vent, then you don't have negative air anymore. For positive air to be true an air supply is needed to fill in the space taken by the air that is removed by the vent. Usually this is done by the gap under the front door and is sometimes lost when carpeting is installed or when weatherstripping is put on the door. PGrech, gboc.net

 
  Question #540: I live in an apartment that shares the electric meter with the landlord. I know that is illegal, but is it also illegal for him to shut off our air conditioner because he thinks it uses too much electricity? Post your answer

Answer: There is only one illegality here, and that is that you are on his meter. The other is moot - since he pays for it, he controls it. Work out a deal where you can pay him the difference in the monthly rent for the additional electric for a/c. Most probably you are already paying rent to him - sounds like this is a one family house with an illegal conversion to two. HINT: if true, that's your bargaining chip. PGrech, gboc.net

 
  Question #539: My wife and I live in a three bedroom apartment in Manhattan. There is a highly noxious, very chemical-like smell that's in one of our bathrooms, that seems to be emanating from the radiator.  The odor is making my wife and I sick (burning throat, eyes, dizziness, etc.). Given that our drains have been snaked and that sewage has been removed from adjacent pipes, it does not appear to be mold or sewage gas. Does anyone have any idea what it may be? Post your answer

Answer: Check with your super and building's managing agent to see if a "skunk test" was performed. This test is done on a boiler heating system to see where there are leaks in the system. This is my best guess. If you have a one-pipe radiator system, then this test should not have been performed. Have the super check the air vents on your radiators if it's a one-pipe system. The air vent(s) may not be functioning properly. Let us know if you do find out what was the cause, so we may know for future reference. PGrech, gboc.net

 
  Question #538: How do I get a license to operate an HVAC system? Post your answer

Answer: I have never heard of a HVAC License for NYC. Perhaps you are referring to the refrigeration and air-conditioning operators license. If so, please check for this answer under previously asked and answered questions. PGrech, gboc.net

 
  Question #537: I am a Superintendent of a commercial building, my domestic water pumps are not working in the auto mode but they work in hand mode. Is the float the only area I should be checking? Post your answer

Answer: The house pump system is the simplest system. As you know the floats tell the pumps when to go on and off. Since the pumps go on in hand (manual) mode then you have a control problem. Check:

- Floats to make sure they move up and down freely, grease if necessary.

- Check to see if there is power to the float, it could be a wiring problem and not a movement problem.

- Once the above are eliminated, check to see if the microswitch in the float is working. Most likely it is the microswitch. PGrech, gboc.net

 

Answer: Here is a way to work through the problem:

Leave the H-O-A selector switch on Auto. Go up to the roof tank, assuming that you have a gravity tank set-up and not a constant pressure system. In the tank you will find at least one float switch. If there is more than one, look to see which has the biggest float ball, that is probably the one responsible for pump activation. The other float switch(es) probably govern alarms. Look carefully at the float switch. You will see an arm through which the rod passes. Lift the arm gently until it clicks. If you see water start to enter the tank, you know that the magnetic starter, the electric line to the roof and the float switch are all fine. Your problem is with the float ball and rod. Inspect the rod, make sure that it is not bent, and make sure that it is free and does not bind. Make sure that the float ball is still attached to the rod and that the ball is able to float and is not punctured. Float balls are weighted, so if it feels somewhat heavy, it is not necessarily bad. There should be a total of 4 locking collars. One under the ball, one over the ball, one under the float arm and one above the float arm. Make sure that all the collars are still there, are that all are securely locked.

If the pump does not activate when the arm is lifted, check to see if there is power to energize the float switch. Be careful, depending on how the switch was wired, you could have high voltage here. Use a tester and test the leads coming to the switch. If there is no power, you could have a short in the long electric line between the pump and the roof tank, or a problem with the magnetic starter. If you have power at the leads, the problem is the float switch itself. Float switches can easily be replaced.
Lee Hamer, AcePump.com

 
  Question #536: I live in a 2-family brownstone in Brooklyn and awoke this morning to the (very loud) sound of pipes banging as the tenants above flushed the toilet. What are the possible causes of this potential problem? Post your answer

Answer:

 
  Question #535:  I live in an old pre-war co-op building and recently there was a leak (evidently from my toilet lead bend inside the floor) to the apartment below. The Super (unlicensed for plumbing) came and made a big hole in the floor and replaced the T-bend flange under the toilet. I subsequently had a friend help me cement and tile the floor (special tiles $) and reinstall the toilet. Then, I relaxed, but the neighbor from below called to say there was water dripping again and her paint is a mess. OK so I think the co-op has to rip up the floor all over again and we have to demand money from them for the tiles and labor. Also, shouldn't we ask for a licensed plumber this time? Post your answer

Answer: Before ripping up the floor again:, You stated that you reinstalled the toilet. Did you put a new wax ring on the horn at the bottom of the bowl? if not, this could be where the leak is coming from now. Secondly, corrective work should have been tested many times before you put back the floor - did no one test after the repair was made? Email the answers to pgrech4214@aol.com.

 
  Question #534: Are uniforms provided standard with a super's job. Post your answer

Answer: Uniforms are supplied by the employer if the job is union. If it is not union, then the super and staff have to negotiate for uniforms. Remember, if you must buy uniforms for work because they are required by the job, then you can deduct that expense on your taxes, but as always, consult your tax preparer first. PGrech, gboc.net

 
  Question #533: Is it possible to join ABS piping to a lead pipe and have it work/stay? Post your answer

Answer: In most cases, yes. You need to check your local building codes to see if it's legal. Note: ABS piping is not the same as PVC, for those who might have been wondering. ABS is plastic also but its color is black while PVC is a white plastic. You can not glue ABS to PVC, but you can join the two by using clamps. PGrech, gboc.net

 
  Question #532: Regarding a toilet in the cellar - has anyone heard of a problem where sewage is siphoned up the toilet and waste comes out of the toilet? Post your answer

Answer: This problem is typical of a house trap (main trap) problem. Buildings and houses should have the main trap or traps cleaned out at least once every 3 to 4 years. Call a drain & sewer guy, he can snake out the trap(s). PGrech, gboc.net

 
  Question #531: My NYC rental apartment is up for lease renewal. My room for the past year has been filled with a disgusting smoky-cigarette smell from my neighbors (fumes traveling through the wall). My rent was raised $150 for next year and it would be a burden financially and physically for me to move to another building. What are my legal remedies with the landlord, if any? No rent increase? Allow accommodations to move to another apartment in the building? Post your answer

Answer: This is not the forum for a landlord/tenant legal question. You should probably consult a lawyer with experience in this field, and you might try asking your question at tenant.net.

Answer: Your lease should give you a warranty of habitability. Talk to your landlord and/or super and see what can be done. If you have kitchen or bathroom vents instead of windows, most likely the smell is coming from there. The vent fan needs to be checked. If no vent, then the smell could be coming from the baseboards. The baseboard and not the wall is the weakest link in the wall. Try sealing off all the baseboards top and bottom of the molding. Check for holes in walls in the kitchen and bathroom where the plumbing comes through the wall. Seal them off too. Note: only the walls next to the apartment of the smoker need to be done. So first find out who is the smoker.

 
  Question #530: I am considering enclosing my boiler and hot water heater, creating a boiler room that's fire proof - if possible. What regulations must I be aware of regarding this type of work? Post your answer

Answer: The rules depend on the jurisdiction in which the building is located, which you didn't reveal. Check first with your city's building department. There are no universal rules, except that you should be sure to allow for plenty of outdoor air to enter the enclosure, which the boiler needs for combustion. Dick Koral

Answer: Also, make the room large enough so that maintenance and repairs can be easily made. Too often these rooms are made too small, which makes repairs difficult. The materials should be fireproof and DEP may require that the room be able to hold a certain amount of oil (assuming you have an oil burner) in case of an oil leak from the line in the "boiler room". Consulting your fuel supplier may be a good place to start. PGrech, gboc.net

 
  Question #529: I have been the resident manager of a 35-unit property located in Westwood California. While just 35 units it is home to 200 college students. I have spent an average of 40-50 hours per week trying to keep up with all that is expected. What would be a fair salary for this position? Post your answer

Answer: Your salary is a matter of negotiation, and the salary standards in your area. Obviously, you are entitled to the salary of a 24/7 super. Sounds, also, that you need the assistance of a porter. Ask your fellow supers/resident managers in the neighborhood. PGrech, gboc.net

 
  Question #528: What are the OSHA colors for all plumbing, red for standpipe, yellow for gas, etc.? Post your answer

Answer: This question has previously been asked and answered. Readers, please check the FAQs and the Categorized Questions before asking a question.

 
  Question #527: What type of credentials would one look for when hiring a contractor to install a staircase, in particular, a staircase between a ground floor and the second floor, a steel staircase with concrete pans? Post your answer

Answer: As always when hiring a contractor, references are one of your best defenses in getting the right contractor. One source is an architect. Another is word of mouth. Don't forget the Better Business Bureau. PGrech, gboc.net

Answer: In addition to the good advice above, you should advertise for bids, specifying exactly what you want, and asking contractors to list at least three jobs they have done like the one you contemplate. Then, compare the bids and the submitted credentials. You might employ a consultant to help you pick the winner. Dick Koral

 
  Question #526: Can anyone advise of a school offering an EPA Air Pollution course, along with phone number and/or email address? Post your answer

Answer: The two places that I know of are: if you are a member of Local 32BJ, you can take their course, call 212-388-3500 for member benefits, and NYC College of Technology, call 718-552-1190 for more info. Tell them the Supers Technical Association referred you. PGrech, gboc.net

 
  Question #525: I live in a pre-war co-op and have an original shower body inside the wall. I want to have an acrylic wall system installed in my stall shower. I've had drip issues since buying the apartment. My super has replaced the valve stems & changed the washers twice. I'd like a one valve unit installed while work is done to the walls/floor. Since now would be the time to avoid further plumbing issues with the shower body, I'd like to know how I can have the co-op pick up the tab. The unit isn't leaking into the wall, yet. I would pay for all parts. What are my options? How can I position myself for having this done as a proactive measure? Post your answer

Answer: The problem with most co-ops and condos is that the board has little idea of what proactive or preventive maintenance means. However, in the case of a shower body, it is a close call. Look to your offering plan, that should state who owns the shower body. From my experience, the shower body, even though it is behind the wall, does belong to the owner of the apartment. One, it is for your exclusive use, and two you can see the controls from the apartment. Sorry. But in some cases the building may pick up the cost. Just ask. PGrech, gboc.net

 
  Question #524: When the steam starts to rise in the heating system in my building the steam pipes start to knock and bang. I think it's air in the system, but anyway how do I stop the noise. Post your answer

Answer: First of all the banging is the result of water - more than air - that is trapped in the pipes. Different heating systems have different solutions. Do you have a one pipe gravity or one pipe mechanical system? Do you have a two pipe gravity or two pipe mechanical system? Is the system steam or hot water and lastly, is the system under pressure or vacuum? Also in the analysis, when does the banging occur - this is important. Does the banging occur when the steam comes up? Midway of boiler firing or towards the end? Answer these questions and we can narrow down the causes and give an opinion on the cure. PGrech, gboc.net

Answer: This "water hammer" is caused when you have the hot steam hitting colder water that is stuck somewhere in the piping. It could be caused by non venting air, the piping configuration, bad steam traps, or a number of other system problems. You need a professional experienced with steam systems to diagnose the cause and recommend solutions. Joe Lambert  www.leonardpowers.com

 
  Question #523: Whenever my landlord improves an apartment that's been vacated, the fumes from the polyurethane floor treatment fill other apartments. I like my super and don't want to cause trouble for him, but stinging eyes, headaches, and upset babies are a real problem. What suggestions can I make to my super? Post your answer

Answer: I sure know what you mean about that odor and watery eyes. There is no real solution. This I know because we treat our apartment floors the same way. I have found to reduce the effects of floor treatment, putting a cheap, boxed fan in the window works very well. Secondly, when possible only apply the polyurethane on dry days. The humidity only slows down the drying and keeps the odors locked indoors. These two simple things will greatly reduce the effects. Good luck. PGrech, gboc.net

Answer: The only other way to get rid of the odors more quickly is to use a water based polyurethane. The oil based one is the one that throws off the odors for hours or days. Mike Mac

 
  Question #522: I need a list of all the tools and equipment a super will need to operate a newly constructed 22 unit building. Post your answer

Answer: The answer can range from $200 to over $2000. You need to ask yourself what do you expect from your superintendent? The standard startup tools: two good flashlights, a set of screwdrivers, a hammer, a pair of channellocks, a linesman's pliers, a 4-step and a 7-step ladder, electrical tester, two plungers, a hand snake. These would be a good place to start. Don't buy cheap tools, spend the money once and have good tools. All building purchased tools should be inventoried and have the building address engraved on each tool. PGrech, gboc.net

 
  Question #521: Is there a set distance from a sprinkler head that should be free of objects (example: boxes are piled high near a sprinkler head) is there a minimum distance? Post your answer

Answer: 18 inches is the minimum clearance below a sprinkler head. PGrech, gboc.net

 
  Question #520: I am 32 years of age and have been working in construction and remodeling for the past 10-12 years. Where can I get formal training in New York City to be certified as a Superintendent, and is it costly? Post your answer

Answer: There is no formal certification for supers in New York City - yet. However, if you follow the links on our Continuing Education page, you will find several choices, along with tuition information, that will help you get a good education in the multifamily building services field.

Answer: If you are serious about becoming a super, then become a member of our association! Apart from great workshops that earn certificates, you will be able to circulate amongst supers, board members and managing agents, to name a few. This networking is a valuable asset that the club provides. These are only a few of the benefits membership has to offer. Come. Join! Be all you can be. Pgrech, President STA

Answer: The first, best and smartest thing you can do for yourself if you want to get into the life of a super is to network with other supers. Come to our meetings. You'll meet other supers of whom you can ask questions, and they are the ones who know first of new job openings in their neighborhood - even before they're on this website.

 
  Question #519:  I live in an apartment building with four other apartments. I just found out that the hallway lights are hooked to my electric. Am I responsible for this extra bill or is the landlord supposed to take care of this?  Post your answer

Answer: Not only are you not responsible for electric consumption outside your apartment but the connection is illegal. Look up and call the NYS Public Service Commission's consumer complaint line (there's an office in NYC) and it will be taken care of. You are due a fat refund! Dick Koral

Answer: This is a common situation in buildings where there are 10 apartments or less. I'm not saying it's legal or illegal, just that it's common. PGrech, gboc.net

 
  Question #518: I have a family of five with three children under the age of 4. We live in a rented 2 bedroom apartment. We have had an ongoing mice problem since Christmas of 2004. The landlord says we have a lot of clutter. He has sent people to come by and plug up some holes in the walls a few times but we still have mice. What course of action can I now take to get rid of these mice and protect my young family? Post your answer

Answer: Mice are attracted to FOOD. Remove the food and the mice will move on. Clutter only gives the mice refuge and encourages them to live in your apartment. Remove the food, remove the refuge and the mice will move on. Once you have done this and the mice still won't move, send the landlord a written letter advising him of his obligation. In addition to the above, you may want to bring in your own exterminator after advising the landlord that you are going to do it. If you do this, you may be able to collect the money spent from the landlord. May I suggest using one of our vendor members (See the March 2005 newsletter). PGrech, gboc.net

 
  Question #517:  I want to replace the bin on the sidewalk where we store bags of garbage and recycling until it is time to put it out for pickup. I need to know where to find fabricators of such bins. Post your answer

Answer: There are several options you should consider: Rubbermaid horizontal sheds (#3747-01) would be the best solution, unfortunately they were discontinued and cannot be purchased anymore from rubbermaid.com. Our customers on the other hand, do have access to our leftover inventory for the Item# 3747-01 (54 pcs to date). This is an item in the range of $250 - $270. Other solution depending on the actual site and desired look is the metal dumpster. A metal dumpster can be found in several sizes (standard sizes go from 1 yd and up, metal or plastic lids, casters or not). This option would allow you to discard existing pails. Also visit www.rubbermaidcommercial.com and search for "cube trucks". These come from yd and up. Lids can be purchased as well. Dino Leva, 914-667-7713 Every Supply Company, Inc.

Answer: You can also have one or more made of wood. Wood can be quite durable, painted and easily maintained. Ask your super if he could build them for you for extra pay. PGrech, gboc.net

 
  Question #516: Is there a requirement for landlords to install electronic ignition rather than the pilot light in stoves and ovens? Post your answer

Answer: There is no law or code that requires a landlord to replace working stoves with electronic ignition. However, when the stove has to be replaced with a NEW stove, that new stove has to have electronic ignition. The landlord is NOT required to install a new appliance as a replacement for a non-operational one. The landlord can replace it with an old or used appliance as long as it is of the same size or larger, and that it works. In this case, if he is replacing a stove with a USED stove, that used stove does NOT have to have electronic ignition - ONLY if he gives you a new one. A tenant can request a new stove or appliance rather then getting a used one, but the cost of the new stove/appliance is divided by 40 and 1/40 of the cost is added to the rent forever. PGrech, gboc.net

 
  Question #515: To become a member of the Supers Association, do I have to be a superintendent? Is my membership tax deductible? Post your answer

Answer: Our mission statement, in brief, is to provide education to all those persons who work in multifamily buildings. So not only supers can join but also handyman, porters and doormen. We also have board members, managing agents and not-for-profits that are members of STA. We also have vendor members that provide excellent service to our membership and others. STA is a IRS approved not-for-profit 501(c)3 organization. So donations and grants are tax deductible. Your membership is also tax deductible. But check with your tax man anyway. PGrech, gboc.net

 
  Question #514: I live in a prewar building in Brooklyn. The noise of my upstairs neighbor's every step is amplified throughout my apartment, even though he has carpets on his wood floors. I would like to install soundproofing in my ceilings to reduce the noise. Is this feasible, and will it be very expensive? Post your answer

Answer: Of course it CAN be done, and yes in all probability it will be expensive. How VERY depends on your frame of reference, as does its feasibility.

 
  Question #513: In regards to earlier question #352: It was mentioned in the answer that a law was changed sometime ago that no longer made it possible to charge onto a super's W2 form his or her rent value. I, like many supers this time of year, would like to know more about this law change. Where can it be found? Post your answer

Answer: That rule was passed over 20 years ago. Note rule - not law. A good accountant would be able to give you details. If you are a union member, talk to your union delegate. They should know too. PGrech, gboc.net

 
  Question #512: Our resident manager is leaving our co-op to go into business for himself and is taking all the tools in his workshop with him. Will the next super, that our management company hired, be expected to have his own tools or should we provide them? Post your answer

Answer: Most Superintendents / Resident Managers have their own tools, but it's not a union requirement. It usually is a good idea for the building to have the basic tools for the staff. These tools should be engraved with the building address and inventoried. Upon hiring your new resident manager, make sure he supplies a list of tools that he owns, and keep the list current by adding to that list when he purchase new tools for himself with his own money. This list should be kept with the Property agent so should the new super leave, the building would know which tools belong to whom. PGrech, gboc.net

 
  Question #511: How do you use a toner tracer to find a circuit breaker? Having a problem trying to find a breaker. Post your answer

Answer: Toner tracers work like sonar, the difference being sonar sends a pulse signal through water, the toner tracer sends the pulse through the wire. So attach the transmitter into the circuit you wish to look for on the fuse box, switch it on, and then pass the receiver over each fuse. When the receiver detects the pulse you will hear a sound or see a light. There are two types, one that is designed to have NO POWER in the circuit and on that has power in the circuit. Also, you may get a false reading at the fuse because the wires are so close together you have to pass it a few times to eliminate the false readings. PGrech, gboc.net

 
  Question #510: I'd like to make a complaint about irregular heating service in our building. All last week we did not have heat from 11am to 2pm. We called our landlord but management did not do anything, only promised. There is no heat today either. What can we do? Post your answer

Answer: Dial 311 for all residential heat complaints anywhere in New York City.

 
  Question #509: How many people are legally allowed to reside in a one bedroom apartment in New Jersey? Post your answer

Answer: In New York and New Jersey to the best of my knowledge it's not the law or building codes that put a limit on how many people can occupy an apartment, but the terms in the lease. The lease would or should state specifically how many occupants may occupy the apartment. But as in all legal matters, this questions is better answered by an attorney. Check the lease, if nothing is in the lease, then ask an attorney. PGrech, gboc.net

Answer: I suspect that the questioner is asking about another apartment in his/her building or in the neighborhood and is annoyed about the consequences of overcrowding. But before "calling the cops" I would urge making sure that your action would not make some people homeless. Let there be justice tempered by mercy! Dick Koral

 
  Question #508: How can it be determined whether our building's boiler is producing wet steam - and pushing water up through the heating system - which may be causing water hammer? Post your answer

Answer: The term for 'wet' steam coming out of boilers is carryover. Basically the water in the boiler is carrying over into the steam line. This usually happens only on boilers that have the water level too high or have very dirty water in the boiler (sort of like foaming). Some boiler piping will have a steam trap or two right on the main distribution line near the boiler. If these have a strainer before them you can see if you are getting a lot of water here.

However, most cases of water hammer occur because of naturally occurring water that is formed when the steam condenses. This water needs to be drained from the system, usually from the bottom of every riser. So, if you are getting hammer near the boiler or in almost every riser, you may have carryover. If you are getting hammer in one or two risers or radiators, the water problem is more localized. Joe Lambert  www.leonardpowers.com

 
  Question #507: How can you unclog a septic tank and clogged up tub?  Post your answer

Answer: Not sure what you are asking. If you are asking how to unclog a septic tank, you need to call in a septic tank cleaning company. If you are asking how can you unclog a septic tank and result in clogging up the tub, I have no idea. I don't think the two are related, just coincidental. PGrech, gboc.net

 
  Question #506: Can soot be disposed of with the regular trash? Post your answer

Answer: Yes.

 
  Question #505: What are the by-products of punching a boiler and how are they disposed of? Post your answer

Answer: There is no by-product from punching a boiler. There is, however, a byproduct of incomplete combustion which results in buildup in boiler tubes that require them to be punched. That byproduct of incomplete combustion is carbon (soot). This soot by itself is harmless, however, when it is in the presence of air and moisture it becomes a form of sulfuric acid. Best way to dispose of the soot is to put it into plastic containers such as those that laundry detergent comes in, put them into a garbage bag and dispose of them via sanitation. PGrech, gboc.net

 
  Question #504: As a retired union member who worked in Manhattan I would like to know a phone number to call to find out if there's any money coming to me.  Post your answer

Answer: The union's website is here. The member service call-in center numbers are 800-551-3225 or 212-388-3500.

Answer: You can also go to the Union headquarters, first floor members assistance, located in the main union building at 101 Ave of the Americas (just north of Canal Street). They are open during normal business hours and this is one of the newest and best features of our Local 32BJ. PGrech, gboc.net

 
  Question #503: I am a facilities manager trying to compile research to develop an operating manual for the doormen in several luxury apartment buildings in New York City. What are some sources I could use that articulate the various responsibilities to be expected of doormen, and perhaps contain some sample operating manuals? Post your answer

Answer: In all my (many) years, I have never encountered a manual for doorpersons, but it's a good idea. Suggest you develop a questionnaire and send it to the leading management companies and publish it as a joint venture? If you would like STA's help, let me know.  Dick Koral

 
  Question #502: Besides having a P-99 Certificate, what other certificate do you need to become a New York City super; I was told you need a pollution control certificate. If so, where can you take this course. Post your answer

Answer: Read the FAQs. Once again, you do NOT need ANY certificates or "licenses" to be a New York City super. The City doesn't license supers. You MAY need certain certificates of fitness for your individual building - and the ones you mentioned MAY be some of those required for the equipment in your building. Check the equipment in your building and act accordingly. Certificates of Fitness are obtained through the Fire Department of New York.

Answer: The EPA certificate for Pollution Control can be gotten after taking a course and sitting for the test. Both are available from Local 32BJ union school and from City Tech. PGrech, gboc.net

 
  Question #501: If a tenant does not comply with the garbage recycling procedure, which results in the landlord being fined, could the tenant be liable for the fine, and if this was an ongoing issue, could this be basis for the tenant’s eviction from apartment? Post your answer

Answer: If you are around when the sanitation inspectors come and watch them go through the garbage for violations, you can point out to them the tenant that did not comply. If would help if they found the name and address of the non-complying tenant in the garbage. At that point the inspector can issue the tenant a summons. If it's just bottles and cans you're out of luck. Your managing agent would need to speak with the building's attorney. PGrech, gboc.net

 
  Question #500: What are the basic responsibilities of a live-in building super in New York City? Post your answer

Answer: Please read the applicable FAQs on this website.

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