Is it smart – or permissible – for co-op and condo residents to hire outside workers to install window air conditioners during the pandemic?
Until June 8, when the city entered its first reopening phase, many co-op and condo boards barred outside vendors from entering the building – even for work that may have been permitted as essential during the full shutdown, like HVAC service. But now that nonessential construction is allowed, including apartment renovations, crews will be using elevators and other public areas. So this might be a good time to get ready for hot weather.
“Right now it’s probably easier to get an air conditioner (installed), before all the other work starts up,” Dan Wurtzel, the president of FirstService Residential, tells the Ask Real Estate column in the New York Times. When jobs ramp up, crews will have to stagger their rides in service elevators, meaning it will take longer and be harder to get any kind of work done in an apartment, including installation of AC units.
Harold Wissner, the company manager of Air-Wave Air Conditioning in the Bronx, which sells, stores and installs window units, expects a rush of orders – and delays – in the next few weeks as the city reopens. “It becomes a problem with manpower,” Wissner says. “We’ve only got so many trucks and so many men you can send out.”
Before you schedule the job, call your management company and find out how it is handling vendors. It may give your contractor a time slot for arrival. Ask the vendor to explain its safety protocols. The workers should wear masks, gloves, and protective coverings over their shoes. Open any doors leading to the rooms where the units will be installed, so workers don’t need to touch door handles unnecessarily. Open windows for ventilation (not just the one where the unit is going). You and anyone else living in the apartment should wear masks, and stay out of the room if possible. Once the workers leave, wipe down any surfaces that were touched. Now you're ready to chill.
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