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Porters, Handymen, and Doorman, or PHD's Blog
  Questions For Supers - 950 to 999  

last update on Friday January 25, 2008 12:02 PM PT


"New knowledge is the most valuable commodity on earth. The more truth we have to work with, the richer we become." - Kurt Vonnegut


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  last update on Friday January 25, 2008 12:02 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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Question #1000: I have a problem with an ice cap type wall unit freezing the heating coil that lays on top, so that the coil bursts. I have an apartment that had the coil burst 3 times in the past 3 summer months. All three times it was cool out. The last time was Friday night when it was 57 degrees out. Has anyone else come across this problem with their heating coils bursting in the Summer? Post your answer

Answer/Comment: I have a question of my own about your problem: is there per chance any water in your heating coil? Because if your shut-off valve to your heating coil is not holding then your coil would freeze. Hot water freezes faster than cold water because the molecules in hot water expand. There should be no water in your coil when the a\c is on. It could also be that your return line is not pulling down all of the water out of your line -- check your steam trap, it may be faulty. Roberto Cardona

Answer/Comment: In my 35 years of experience I have never heard of a steam coil freezing in summer. Actually I never heard of a coil freezing when the outdoor temperature was not at least 30 degrees or less outside. Peter Grech, GBOC

  Question #999: I am trying to find out the current NYS pay scale for boiler cleaners. I am a member of Local 32BJ. My title is boiler cleaner, but lately we have moved into doing new things such as refractory wall, and because of my small frame I am always picked to do this but under the union contract I am not a masonry worker - or plumber. Now don't get me wrong, it is work that I don't mind doing to learn more, but I feel my pay rate is way, way way too low for that kind of work. It is almost like demolition work. How can this be resolved? I have already spoken to my boss, and bottom line, I was just given the impression that if you don't like the work, get another job. Post your answer or comment

Answer/Comment: The obvious answer to this question is: ask your union. If they don't know I have no clue who would. You mentioned that you felt like it was demolition work - let me tell you, demo workers make next to nothing. IF the union cannot resolve this, then get more training, and fine a new job. But get the new job first before you quit this one. Perhaps it is time for you to move FORWARD with your career. Peter Grech, GBOC

  Question #998: For five years I have been living with my girlfriend (the lease holder) in her apartment, and two years ago I was hired as the super. The building is a Manhattan 14 unit building, not-for-profit, six floors. Other than the ground floor all are 8x4. I am to keep the building & basement clean, do minor repairs, and take out the garbage at 225.00 a week. Based on other supers I know, I have been told that my salary is much too little and that rent for the apartment I live in should be free under some code. I have demanded free rent, but have been refused. I want to know if I am entitled to paying no rent? Post your answer or comment

Answer/Comment: No. You are not entitled to free rent. Supers get free rent in some buildings while in others they don't. It is all in the size of the building and what they have to do. Some supers might get free rent and no money. In your case 14 apartments is not really a big enough building to get free rent. As for the money you earn, you are a part-time super, therefore the money you are making is for part time work. Peter Grech, GBOC

  Question #997: Regarding chrome grab safety bars in bathrooms of residential units, especially 18 & 24 inch, tenants are perceiving considerable rust & corrosion in the set screws under the flanges that hold the safety grab bars in place on the fiberglass bathtub wall. What is most effective method of removing the rust on these critical set screws inside the flanges on the bathroom grab support bars that are chrome and about 15 years old? Could this rust accumulation on these chrome screws render these grab safety bars dangerous and unsafe? Post your answer or comment

Answer/Comment: You should get the grab bars that are ADA approved - they come with all the right hardware to do the job safely  and correctly. Curt Bergeest

Answer/Comment: Chrome under normal conditions rarely rusts. Use stainless steel screws when you replace the old rusted screws. Peter Grech, GBOC

  Question #996: I'm a new superintendent of a building, and my landlord say that he is going to pay me extra for construction jobs. How much do I charge for painting a one bedroom apartment and installing 450 tiles on the floor? Post your answer or comment

Answer/Comment: First, when charging for tile installation, you charge by the square feet of the area being done. Second, about $150.00 per 10x10 foot room. Figure out the square footage from there.

  Question #995: Referencing question #756 about the new LL/11, the installation of support brackets for air conditioning units. The management company is charging the tenants to bring the building into code - is this proper? Who SHOULD pay, the management company, or the tenants in each unit? Post your answer or comment

Answer/Comment: The answer is simple. Whoever owns the A/C unit has to pay for the proper installation of the unit, even if they had paid a while ago to have it installed. Peter Grech, GBOC

Question #994: Is there a code, OSHA or otherwise, for apartment buildings' garbage chute doors to have a protective rubber flop? Post your answer or comment

Answer/Comment: There are no OSHA regs to cover this issue. However, there are regulations under the building code that require a flapper to prevent any fly ash from the hopper door. Peter Grech, GBOC

Question #993: Is it legal if the circuit breaker for my apartment is in someone else's apartment? I ask because my power has blown out a lot recently. Post your answer or comment

Answer/Comment: If it were being built today, of course it wouldn't be legal to build it that way. Since it's an older building it's probably not violating any code, just a nightmare for you every time a circuit get overloaded enough to blow a fuse or trip a breaker. It's probably happening because you have an a/c unit or other heavy usage appliance on the same circuit with too many other things. If you can figure out which circuit it is and eliminate some of the load at least you can take care of your immediate problem.

  Question #992: I just started my first job as a superintendent. The company brought me in during the final stage of construction. The building is condo, a low rise, very high end. I am working very hard in maintaining the units, sweeping and mopping due to small punch list items that need finishing. I understand that cleaning is very important to sell units to future owners, but also I need to learn my HVAC and plumbing before the contractors leave the site so I can pick their brains. I requested a porter but was told that they are waiting for the first owner to move in to justify another employee. Sometimes I feel I'm being used for things that are not priorities. They are paying me well, but it seems that things are behind the scenes. I left a 15-year career in a city job for this opportunity. WHAT IS YOUR ADVICE? Post your answer or comment

Answer/Comment: This is a tricky question, as you are closest to the situation, and as such most qualified to determine whether or not you're being used, as you sometimes suspect. Don't be too quick to assign ulterior motives to those in charge, they are often put in untenable positions themselves, being squeezed from above and below. For the super, when opening a building there is always too much to do and too little time in which to do it. You will be working very long hours for the first several years at worst, so I'd say hang in there and make the best of it, tell yourself that this is only temporary, which it is, and that when it all quiets down you can get the building set up exactly they way you like to work, which is a good thing. And eventually you will be bored, believe it or not. Your HVAC and plumbing companies will be there for some time to come to make sure that all systems are go and operating at peak efficiency, so don't worry too much that you won't have time to pick their brains. At the same time, I find it hard to believe that the units are not already sold out, or very close - especially if you're in Manhattan. Meaning that there should be money for more staff if you need it. Ask more questions of your manager, and keep pressing for what you really need to have.

  Question #991: I am a new super in an 88 unit co-op building. The board would like a thorough examination of all elements of the building in order to do a capital plan which is sorely needed. They suspect that there is need for a new heating system, a new roof, elevator, and plumbing work. My questions is this: can we hire an engineering firm to look at the entire building or must we hire engineers to look at each individual system? Post your answer or comment

Answer/Comment: I suggest that you search out many engineering firms and interview the principals of all that immediately appeal to you and that you have time to do, as some firms are very comprehensive in scope and some quite limited.

  Question #990: I am interested in finding a job as a super, and I have the skills that would qualify me. However, I have a prison record. Will this prevent me from finding a job as a super? Post your answer or comment

Answer/Comment: See the answer to Question 606 and other similar questions in the categorized questions pages for supers.

  Question #989: I am interested in buying a home in Brooklyn. The house has one bedroom with no window, nor air vent. Is this a violation in New York City. Post your answer or comment

Answer/Comment: According to the description you gave, yes it is. Peter Grech, GBOC

  Question #988: I rented a basement in Brooklyn on a nine month lease while attending NYU. My lease stated I was responsible for Services & Utilities either directly or to the landlord when billed. The Con Edison bill was in my landlord's name and there was two meters located in the basement. I was never billed by the landlord. Now that I have moved and asked for the return of my deposit he is now saying he is going to use my security deposit to pay the Con Edison bill. How do I know the copies of the bills he sent are for the basement only? One bill was $255.84. My unit didn't even have a thermostat. He said he won't send copies of both meter bills because his is personal information. Is this fair? Is there anything I can do? Post your answer or comment

Answer/Comment: He has your security deposit. Not much you can do. What is fair - or not - is not what counts, both in law and in life. You have the right to see the bill. Once he deducts the money from your security you can take him to small claims court. It would be the cheapest and fastest way to deal with it. Peter Grech, GBOC

Answer/Comment: You should try the tenant's bulletin board on That forum is much more geared to this type of question than we are.

  Question #987: Is it ok to rent my given apartment to family members and I move in with my brother who is also super two streets from where I'm supposed to live? Post your answer or comment

Answer/Comment: No. It is not. Peter Grech, GBOC

  Question #986:  I recently moved into a place, this past week. I found two things that were broken when I moved in. One being a light fixture not working, the other the toilet constantly running (which affects the hot water). I didn't give the super a tip in my mini moves but will be moving the large stuff tomorrow. The guy has done nothing to help with the prior problems the apartment has. In fact telling me that he'd be around at a certain time but never showing up. I'm pretty pissed about that and now that I'm moving my stuff in tomorrow, I don't really feel the need to tip him at all for the lack of courtesy. How can I get him to fix the two very minor things? The apartment should be in shape prior to any tipping, right? Am I wrong in that? Post your answer or comment

Answer/Comment: If you moved into an apartment that is rented out by a landlord who owns the building, then the super has an obligation to fix those two items. IF you moved into a condo or co-op, regardless if you purchased it or are renting it from someone who owns the apartment, then the super has no obligation to fix. Peter Grech, GBOC

  Question #985: We own a two family home in Linden, New Jersey and want to have the oil tanks taken out and switch to gas heat.  Are there certain steps to follow to have the tanks removed. Post your answer or comment

Answer/Comment: While I am not familiar with the environmental codes of New Jersey, I can assure you there are steps to be followed. You should contact the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) for your state and they will be able to let you know what the procedures are. Also, a good reliable oil company would know. If you do find it out, would you be kind enough to email me the info so we can have it in our files should anyone else ask in the future. Peter Grech, GBOC

Answer/Comment: You can contact your local government - city, township, or county, for the correct way to get this done. Or, the gas company (PSE&G) that you will be switching to would also know, or could tell you where to get the info you need.

  Question #984: I live in a prewar multiple dwelling condo (60 apartments). The board of directors will not permit new dishwashers to be installed, claiming it would cause damage to pipes and affect water pressure. Is this a real concern? Do energy efficient, properly installed dishwashers cause such problems? Post your answer or comment

Answer/Comment: The reason for not allowing dishwashers or washing machines to be installed into a prewar building is that when the building was built, the architect and engineer calculated how much hot water demand would be needed as well has how much drain water would be removed. Dishwashers use only hot water, washers use both hot and cold water. They both draw water at a very high rate, which, if the design of the plumbing was such that it wasn't made to handle such a draw, it would drop the water pressure throughout the building. If you are in the shower when someone turns on the washer or dishwater, your hot water may decrease or even totally go away for awhile due to the draw of those machines. On the drain side, both machines have a pump. So, when the machine discharges the water it does so with a large volume and pressure. Again, if the drain pipes were not designed for it, the water has to go somewhere, and that usually is in someone's bathtub or sink. Peter Grech, GBOC

  Question #983: Domestic hot water: by code what are the minimum and maximum temperature requirements for apartment buildings? Post your answer or comment

Answer/Comment: This question has been asked and answered many times before -- check the frequently asked questions (FAQs) for the answer. Note that there is no apparent maximum hot water temperature specified in the code applicable to New York City, only a minimum temperature.

  Question #982: I live on the second floor of a condominium and the stairs are being replaced. I will not have access into or out of my home for twelve hours. Is this legal? Post your answer or comment

Answer/Comment: I do not know if it is legal or not. But, if the work is necessary and there is no other way, just bear it. It is to your benefit that stairs are being replaced, and while it may or may not be legal, the inconvenience is temporary. Living in multifamily buildings means at times that cooperation is needed for the good of all. Peter Grech, GBOC

  Question #981: Do I need a license to operate a gas fired boiler? Post your answer or comment

Answer/Comment: No. Peter Grech, GBOC

  Question #980: I have been a superintendent at a class A building with a staff of 10 people in Manhattan for the past 8 years. My question is if 21 dollars an hour is a fair rate? Post your answer or comment

Answer/Comment: That depends on a few things. IF you have an apartment and garage etc., included in your position, then $21.00 per hour is decent. It also depends on your job description and what kind of bonus you receive at the end of the year. There is always room for salary improvement. Ask for a raise, you have nothing to lose, just don't get greedy. Peter Grech, GBOC

  Question #979: As a member of 32BJ residential contract handyman, I will probably be hired (I hope) as a superintendent of a 120,000 square feet commercial building 32BJ. Is there a new-hire rate for a commercial superintendent in a 2 man building? If no, how do I find out the union scale for that building. Post your answer or comment

Answer/Comment: STA is a not-for-profit organization for all types of workers in multifamily buildings. Sorry I have no clue what a union scale commercial super would earn. My advice is find the district that the building is located in and talk to the union delegate from that district. Peter Grech, GBOC

Question #978: I am in search of a company to service my generator. Can you recommend at least two? Service contract? Also, can you recommend a metal polishing company? I need to get proposals from three companies. Post your answer or comment



  Question #977: I was wondering if anyone had any information on what kind of management company Cooper Square Realty is? Post your answer or comment



  Question #976: What are the requirements or certificates you need to obtain in order to be a superintendent of a building? Post your answer or comment

Answer/Comment: Read the FAQs page and research the categorized Certificates of Fitness & Exams page.

  Question #975: My apartment in infested with mice. I have contacted the landlord and made a complaint to 311. The mice are living in my stove and the landlord refuses to remove it. Who can I get to disconnect the stove so I can remove it, and does the landlord have to replace the contaminated stove? I live in a rent stabilized six floor building. Tonight I found a mouse in my bed. This building has never had a professional exterminator in the 40 years I have lived here. Post your answer or comment

Answer/Comment: After trying to work it out with the landlord first, you will need to file your complaint with HPD - call 311 and ask for HPD. Extermination services are required under state and city codes for apartments on a regular monthly basis. Peter Grech, GBOC

  Question #974: I will be starting a superintendent position soon. I have a brand new building, 10 apartments. This is my first superintendent job. My manager has asked me to create a wish list for tools, etc., things needed to start up the building. I will be working with a porter. Can you give me some guidance on a start-up job and things needed for my building, the porter etc., etc. Post your answer or comment

Answer/Comment: May I add to the list a hacksaw with extra blades, an electrical tester, an electric snake, two plungers, one for toilets and one for kitchen sinks (please label them) and always carry with you a lot of patience. Because we at STA feel that the best tool to carry on any job is the mind. Roberto Cardona

Answer/Comment: You have to ask yourself a few questions. The building being small and new won't require as much in the way of tools as a larger, older building. Also you need to ask, just what kind of repairs / work will you be doing. Standard tools: Large 1/2" cordless drill, small cordless screw driver, reversible 4 or 6 way screw driver, flashlights, large, medium and small channellocks, good hammer, hex keys, Torax drivers, socket wrench set, open and closed wrench set, pipe wrenches, safety goggles, a stationary or bench grinder, first aide kit, linesman pliers, Call Larry at Pearl Green, 212 283 0505, Dino at Every Supply, 800 596 3350, or Steve at Borut Supply, 718 338 3676. Peter Grech, GBOC

Answer/Comment: I hope others can give you newer advice as well, but in the meantime, research the questions and answers on our Supers & Management page of categorized questions. Specifically read question number 522, but also questions such as #740, #671, #580, #573, #512, #464 and more. Also peruse the FAQs page. You can learn a lot on this website if you take the time.

  Question #973: Has anyone had this problem: I have a bad clog in one of my dryer vent risers. As the riser goes up it changes direction and might even meet another riser before it reaches the roof. I have been told we might have to open ceilings and walls. My question is: if anyone has had this problem, who did you use to solve the problem? Does anyone have a good recommendation for a company? A regular chute cleaning company I've already tried. Post your answer or comment

Answer/Comment: YES. My building had this problem. We have 4 dryers per floor times 26 floors and the vent was completely stuffed. I MEAN COMPLETELY. Yes some walls and ceilings had to be broken to get to the stoppages. THANK GOODNESS for IES. They came in and took care of it. Actually they didn't stop until it was 100% free. They did a great job and the residents loved them as they are a very personable crew. Call Maria, IES is a member of STA, at 718 834 6531. Peter Grech, GBOC

  Question #972: I just became a member of STA this month! I like what I see. The question I have is, how many members are in this organization? Post your answer or comment

Answer/Comment: Easy - look at your membership card and note your member number. Take off about 15% and thereabouts is the real number of members. Peter Grech, GBOC

Question #971: What is the best way to install an A/C unit into a window in which it doesn't fit perfectly? Post your answer or comment



  Question #970:  We live in a co-op with an old flush valve toilet. When we flush it, it leaks from the top of the pipe. Can I just take a wrench and tighten it, or is it something else? Post your answer or comment

Answer/Comment: Seems to be you need a new vacuum breaker. Mike S.

Question #969:  I've been offered a superintendent position with Goldman Properties. Have you heard any positive or negative info on this company? Post your answer or comment

Answer/Comment: First of all, you're a smart super for seeking knowledge about a management company before going into a building. More supers should do this. Goldman properties are not on my Avoid list. This doesn't me they are the perfect company, it just means I have not heard anything bad about them. If any super has a great management company or a bad one, let me know by email. I try to keep track of the good, the bad, and the in between. Peter Grech, GBOC

  Question #968:  When are the next classes? Can anyone attend, even if they are not a member or a super? Post your answer or comment

Answer/Comment: Thank you for asking. Next classes from STA will begin the 3rd week in September. Those classes are: Sprinkler / Standpipe Certificate of Fitness preparation, Low Pressure Burner Certificate of Fitness preparation, and Air Compressor Certificate of Fitness preparation. See our website under CERTIFICATION or STA SCHOOL for more details. The new application form and class dates will be posted there in August. Any one can attend. Member or not, super or not. There is a modest fee. Remember, members get over 50% discount on courses. Membership has it privileges. STA is working on adding more classes on other subjects, so stay tuned. Peter Grech, GBOC

  Question #967: What is the best way to let NY building superintendents know about HVAC product updates and awards? Post your answer or comment

Answer/Comment: Consider an ad in SUPER! or on this website.

Question #966: Are there more brown banded roaches around than those German roaches? Are the pest control measures the same to eliminate those BROWN BANDED roaches as for the GERMAN roaches? Which type of cockroach is easier to control and manage, especially in LOW INCOME rental units? Post your answer or comment
Answer/Comment: Do yourself a great favor, on June 25, 2007 come to our meeting where Metro Pest Control is giving a talk on pest control! You can ask the folks from Metro about different kinds of roaches. If you are not a member, that's OK. ALL ARE WELCOMED! William Aristtovulos
  Question #965: I'm currently working on a project and am trying to find information regarding the appropriate compensation for a super who manages 4 buildings in the upper east side of New York City, with a total of about 150 apartments.  He has no degree, he also does masonry work, new wood flooring, plumbing, painting etc., in addition to the standard duties.  Also, how big of a difference would it make if he were NOT a live-in super as opposed to a live-in super? Post your answer or comment

Answer/Comment: Try contacting Peter Grech at Grech Building Operations Consulting, he may be able to help you figure it out. Glen Stoltz

  Question #964: I recently found out that the apartment assigned to my building's super is being occupied by his cousins and not him. Is this legal? Post your answer or comment

Answer/Comment: Is this legal? I don't know. If the cousin is occupying it, where is the super living? The super's apartment is for the super and his family. Cousin is family but only if the cousin is living with the super. If the super is not living in the building then your building has a problem. This is a case for management. Peter Grech, GBOC

  Question #963: Does a 32-unit co-op need 2 supers? Post your answer or comment

Answer/Comment: I would say that it depends on the needs of the building!

Answer/Comment: Well, NEED is a relative term. Does the law require two supers for 32 families - NO. Do you need two supers? That can only be answered by what demands are made by the owners. Peter Grech, GBOC

Question #962: As a superintendent in a multi-unit condo. is there a requirement for live-in status or proximity to the building for the superintendent? I know that there is one for rentals & co-ops. Post your answer or comment

Answer/Comment: There is a misunderstanding about supers and living in the buildings. First of all in a condo, as all owners are indeed property owners and not holders of shares as in a co-op, the law is vague about whether or not a super must live in or within 200 feet of the building. Secondly and probably the most important issue, is New York city Fire Department laws. Fire prevention equipment such as sprinklers, standpipes, fire pumps, heavy oil burners, etc. require a certificate holder to be present 24 hours a day. This is where the super living in the building is very important. So even if the condo may not require (and it is unclear) a live in super, if the building has any of the above-mentioned fire prevention equipment, then the super has to live in the building and not just within 200 feet or 1 block. Supers living in buildings for free is not part of the package and as most managers say, "oh you get a free apartment so you get a cheap salary or no overtime." Living in many buildings is a requirement that is by law - not just under housing laws, but also fire codes. Peter Grech, GBOC

  Question #961: Could I please have the questions & answers for the Low Pressure Oil Boiler Exam sent to me in Spanish? Post your answer or comment

Answer/Comment: There are NO question and answers - in English or in Spanish. Sorry. There are only study guides (in English) and they have no questions and answers, only STUDY materials. Peter Grech, GBOC

  Question #960: When a union superintendent is thinking of leaving (not terminated) one building and in search of another what is a good reason(s) for him to tell to his potentially new management company and employers without offending anyone from his previous building. Post your answer or comment

Answer/Comment: I tell them that I need a bigger apartment.

Answer/Comment: Saying you need larger space does not work all the time. Boards want to hear that you want their building for value and not for your convenience. The TRUTH. Tell them the truth... sooner or later the truth always catches up to you anyways. Peter Grech, GBOC

Answer/Comment: You can tell them that you are seeking growth and new challenges.  Roberto Cardona
  Question #959:  What is the best way to dispose of fluorescent tubes in New York City? I have approximately 30 old bulbs. I once heard that there was a special eco-friendly pick-up for these, but the regular sanitation guys have told me to put them out with the regular trash. Post your answer or comment

Answer/Comment: Sorry I do not know the answer to this. Call 311, ask for sanitation and they may have the answer. When you do find out, please, let us know. Peter Grech, GBOC

Question #958: What is the best way to obtain a doorman position in New York City? Post your answer or comment

Answer/Comment: I would advise a polished look: casual clothing, polished shoes and a neat haircut. Get an early start in Manhattan and go from building to building, asking for the super. Market yourself; make good eye contact and a firm handshake helps, if they say there are no openings ask if you can start as a summer vacation replacement. If an opportunity shows and someone has to leave due to illness they may ask you to stay. Roberto Cardona

  Question #957: I'm about to buy an apartment in a hi-rise building in Brooklyn. I believe that gas is used for cooking, and an oil tank is in the bottom floor which I assume is for winter heating. The apartment is on the 2nd floor (directly above the oil tank). Will noise be an issue in the winter from oil burning and heating distribution (and should I have other concerns with this location above the oil tank as well)? Post your answer or comment

Answer/Comment:  While you said the tank is directly below the apartment you're considering buying, you didn't say whether or not the boiler is also directly beneath that apartment (the two aren't necessarily in the same vicinity). The boiler could be a noise problem if near you and if there is inadequate insulation between you and it. Almost certainly the fuel storage tank itself would not become a noise issue for you. However, you may want to consider whether or not smells bother you, since IF there is a fuel spill or leakage (not likely but it can happen) it could directly affect you. The heat distribution system can also be a noise producer if not properly balanced, but that noise problem, if any should exist, is not necessarily confined to the area of the boiler itself.


Question #956: I own an apartment in a 130 unit condo. I have a large air conditioner in a utility closet that is cooled from a water tower on the roof. The condo recently replaced the cooling tower. In setting up my unit for the summer, my plumber said that my unit was fine, but that the supply line from the building was clogged, so the unit can't operate. Part of the supply line is exposed in the utility closet, and then it goes into the wall. My plumber could not identify exactly where the blockage is, but he said the building would have to close a valve somewhere above my first-floor apartment and probably open the riser to clear the blockage. I have had a prior issue with the super disputing my plumber on responsibility for a blockage affecting my air conditioner. Is there a general rule on exactly where a condo tenant's responsibility for a blockage ends and the condo association's begins? Post your answer or comment

Answer/Comment: Your offering plan is your bible, so it should be spelled out there. If not, then this "rule of thumb" usually holds true 99% of the time in co-ops and condos: First of all, check when the cooling tower is in operation. As it is now May, most buildings are not running cooling towers until heating season ends which would be May 31. If the cooling tower is in operation then I would call management and inform them that your AC unit is not receiving any water from the cooling tower. Note: "When a water supply or drain line has failed to work, i.e. leak, stoppage, etc, the part that is the building's responsibility is that part that serves "in common" - mostly risers. The part that does not serve in common is not the building's responsibility, but in fact the owner's. This would be that part of the plumbing that comes off the riser to service the unit. Thus the branch lines are the owner's problems and the risers are the building's problems. Peter Grech, GBOC

  Question #955: I am looking to acquire a Machine Operator's License.  What schools can I look into to get this license? Post your answer or comment

Answer/Comment: What machine? Hoist machine operator? Refrigeration machine operator? Vending machine operator? Some other machine? First you need to define what machine you want to operate. Put that term or terms into a Google search string along with "new york schools" or similar, to find online info about schools for the machine you want to get licensed to operate.

Question #954: I am a union building superintendent of a condo here in Manhattan. I am receiving harassing letters containing completely false negative statements about myself from the "pseudo" management company. I don't feel that my union delegate seems to be too concerned about these continuing abusive letters. If I find no satisfaction from my union delegate would it be a wise idea to seek help from the Department of Labor or any other outside professional organization? Post your answer or comment

Answer/Comment: From what I understand from your question you have three issues: 1. the letters from management. Are these letters copied to the union and the board? What does the board say about the letters? 2. You feel that the union may not be doing enough. I would not go over the union by going to the Department of Labor, simply for the fact that the Labor Department will most likely throw it back to the Union. 3. There is a big issue of communications. My suggestion is to have a sit-down with you and your delegate and the management company to put everything on the table and discuss it. You will need to KEEP YOUR COOL and be very open minded. You should do this as your first approach to curing this situation. Peter Grech, GBOC

  Question #953: My husband was a super before, he had the #6 boiler license but he lost it, now he is applying for a super job again. Does he need to take a course to get that #6 boiler license again? Does he also need the fitness certification and HVAC license? Also, if my husband needs to take the courses, we are in Florida right now - is there anywhere he could get the courses close by to us or is it really only in New York City?
 Post your answer or comment

Answer/Comment: Your question has several parts: 1. I assume his #6 oil Certificate of Fitness was from FDNY. If he kept up with the payments and renewals, no problem, FDNY has the best records and will issue a new one for a small fee. If he allowed it to expire, then he will have to take the test again. 2. As far as I know, in NYC there is no HVAC certificate of fitness, unless you are referring to the A/C refrigeration license. Only buildings that have compressors of 100 tons or more need this license. That's only a few buildings. 3. I do not know of any places in Florida that will teach about permits for NYC. However, if you send an email to our Education Department requesting it, I am sure they will send you the study material. Peter Grech, GBOC

Question #952: For the past 4 years I've lived in an illegally converted one-bedroom apartment. I know it's illegal because the bedroom doesn't have a window. Until recently I've said nothing to the landlord. Now my lease is up next month and they said they won't be renewing it. Do I have any recourse of action? Should I be legally monetarily compensated for this? I know that if I tell the Fire Department they'll probably immediately tell me to leave the premises until work has been done. But that doesn't benefit me in any way. It just gets the landlord in trouble. Post your answer or comment

Answer/Comment: The Fire Department has no say in what is a legal one bedroom apartment or not. If you have fire violations that is different. The Buildings Department has that authority about one bedrooms or not. If you want to strong arm the landlord via blackmail to get a lease or monetary gains, that is not what we are about. Seems you were fine about your situation while you had a lease. Call a lawyer - if you're not too cheap to hire one, that is. Peter Grech, GBOC

  Question #951: Where can I get a STA patch or hat or t-shirt from? Post your answer or comment

Answer/Comment: Well your timing could not be better. We are in the process of obtaining hats, jackets and patches - and maybe t-shirts - with our logo on it. I would call or email Dick Koral for that. Don't wait too long, they will go fast, and quantities are limited. Peter Grech, GBOC

  Question #950: I have been a super in a hundred-unit building for 7 years. I believe I was wrongfully terminated. How much time do I have to vacate the premises, and do I have any rights? Post your answer or comment

Answer/Comment Well, I assume you are not in a union. If you didn't make a contract with the employer, then you are "hire at will". Employers do not need a reason to end your employment as long as no federal or state employment laws were broken, such as race, religion, family orientation etc. Normally, 30 days would be the rule. Be warned, that after that time you may have to pay rent. You may have to pay rent from the first day you were terminated. Peter Grech, GBOC