AC Delayed Until Early Next Week

The Board, in conjunction with the new management and keeping an eye on the weather forecast, scheduled the switch from heat to air conditioning for mid-week this past week, a week earlier than the switchover last year. With lows in the 30s as recently as Sunday night and highs in the 80s a few days later, the timing was trickier than usual this year.

Unfortunately, as the switch was being made, it was discovered that the cooling tower had suffered damage over the winter; a line was damaged and there was debris in the system. The repair company was here yesterday and will be returning Monday or Tuesday to finish the work and turn on the AC. Labor shortages and supply chain issues being what they are, an immediate, emergency repair does not appear to be an option.

Your Board has been discussing the situation and regrets the delay; they realize it’s frustrating for everyone and particularly uncomfortable for folks on the upper floors. It’s the Board’s intention to make a regular May 1st inspection of the cooling tower part of the building’s maintenance schedule going forward. As for now, today should be the worst of the current heat wave; lower temperatures are predicted for tomorrow and the following days.

23 thoughts on “AC Delayed Until Early Next Week”

  1. Temperatures in my unit are well into the 80’s. I am forced to sleep elsewhere. This happens every year, and is never pleasant. The preliminary inspection is a prudent idea going forward.

    1. It’s also worth noting that once interior temperatures get into the 80’s, even temperatures in the 70’s outside do not cool off the 6th floor. (We get continued heat rise from lower floors long after the peak outdoor temperature is reached). This is approaching a health issue for upper floor residents if things can’t be stabilized. The loop temperature is now over 130 degrees, and heat pump compressors will begin to fail.

    2. Definitely a good idea Craig! Better to check this early because it’s the same problem every year. Temperatures in my apartment are into the 80’s as well…

  2. Same here on the 5th floor-in the 80s. Clearly requires inspection before the need arises. We have nowhere else to stay…

  3. It’s good to hear about a regular May 1st inspection! I can’t wait for the switch over. My unit got to 86 degrees last night.

    I don’t understand how the in-unit heat pumps work. My heat pump won’t cool until the building switch to AC is made, correct?

    1. You are correct. The pump in your unit circulates water that is either being heated by our boilers or cooled by the cooling tower on the roof. Unfortunately, the cooling tower needs repairs and the water temp in the loop is very high right now. Attempting to run the AC in the current situation just raises your electricity bill and strains your pumps.

      1. Thank you for the detailed response! I did run my heat pump 8 hours last night, and was confused about the temperature not changing. I appreciate your explanation.

        1. You’re welcome. There’s frequently confusion when the system’s being switched over and there absolutely needs to be better communication; the Board is still working on that. I knew the repair folks were supposed to be here yesterday so I expected the AC to work last night myself. But I gave it time to run for a bit and it was still blowing out lukewarm air so I shut it off. I didn’t learn until today that the repairs hadn’t been completed. When the AC is working properly, the air coming through the vents should clearly feel cooler. If it doesn’t, I’d turn it off and check with management.

  4. Agreed. 85 degrees upstairs last night and with children and elderly in the building this is an inspection that should be scheduled in the April transition/slower period going forward.

  5. It’s 83 degrees in our first floor unit right now for the record. I don’t doubt there are variances between floors and that upper, sun-drenched floors that don’t have the benefit of the cool garage air under their feet are more uncomfortable (or uncomfortable in new and exciting ways) but this is for sure a problem for all 100+ of our homes.

    We’ve got the blinds closed and fans on and are trying not to move around too much and it’s managable but as the cooler air columns we have (atrium and basement) equilibrate, it’s gonna get stuffier.

  6. It is currently 75 degrees outside. Overnight is supposed to get down to 64 degrees. Be sure to get you fans in as many windows as you can, and hopefully we will feel better tomorrow, when the high will be 75!

    Hope everyone sleeps well.

  7. I have been renting in this building for five years now. This is a major issue every single summer. As a renter, I don’t get any inputs to the board. It baffles me how folks that live here and have a voice allow for this to happen year after year. The windows upstairs in this unit do not safely seat in the sills when unlocked, so opening those windows isn’t even an option. It is 89 degrees up there.

    Furthermore, communication is always awful. At least get the word out that we shouldn’t bother turning on our AC units. I am concerned that my upstairs compressor died last night as I left it running overnight. I didn’t see any emails on the matter and checked this forum repeatedly to see if there was any news. I imagine Steve at A1 must have 100 voicemails with everyone calling him since no one knew what was going on.

  8. Just to clarify something: This switchover was the first one since our manager of almost 30 years retired. There was a real effort on the part of the Board and the new management to make sure it was done in a timely fashion with proper communication. Obviously it didn’t go as hoped and yes, there was a communication failure that arose from an unfortunate combination of factors.

    There’s a learning curve here for a process which was new to both the Board (in the sense they’ve never been actively involved in the timing before) and the management. But both are indeed learning and are actively working together to improve communication while insuring the smooth operation of the building as we move forward.

  9. Went out last night and bought a portable a/c unit so we could sleep. One of us has asthma that is exacerbated by high heat and humidity. It was either an a/c unit or a hotel for us. I feel for those in the building who can’t afford either option or can’t make it work for logistical reasons.

    It was loud, but at least it did a good job cooling off the bedroom and we were able to sleep.

    The rest of our unit remains unbearable even with windows open and fans running.

    I applaud the idea of an annual inspection, but wonder if we should make it a week or two sooner than May 1st. I just worry about lead time for repairs that may have to be made in the future, as we all know, the weather in New England changes on a dime…

  10. I agree with Wayne and just want to add that I think better communication is needed. I ran into 3 separate people in the building this am who had no idea the system was broken and have been running their units non stop…

  11. Also wanted to ask – didn’t we just have the cooling towers updated (within the last couple years)? Are these ‘newer’ units now broken?

    1. Several updates were done in recent years which have — much as it doesn’t seem like it just now — made the AC more dependable than it was and much better at handling the load as we get worse heat waves. My understanding is that it was a line that gave out, and that that in turn allowed debris to enter the system, rather than any failure of the upgrades. Once the debris got into the system, running the cooling tower without proper cleaning and repairs could have put everything at risk, potentially leaving us without AC indefinitely and saddling the Association with huge repair or replacement bills.

      1. Just to clarify that last part, was the system run with the debris, or is it currently not running to mitigate that risk?

        1. The cooling tower is not being, and has not been, been run with the debris. The problem was discovered when Ron went up to the roof last Tuesday or Wednesday to get it operational for the summer. He left it alone and we’ve been working to arrange for repairs ever since. The cooling tower has not been run since it was shut down last fall.

  12. Steve over at A1 reached out to me to let me know that the expected repair date was delayed from Monday/Tuesday to Friday. It sounds like that isn’t a guarantee. Fingers crossed as we are forecasting 100° on Saturday.

    It sounds like an email went out this afternoon but I wasn’t included on the distribution. I wanted to post the update here in case others were omitted as well.

    1. Please leave a notice at the office with your email and phone number asking to be added to the Property Management database.

  13. Just so we’re all clear about the what if here: the predicted 103 feels-like weather on Saturday is over 20 degrees hotter than it was yesterday/today (78-80), with several in the building having already recorded temperatures 10 degrees higher than that at near 90 upstairs. This means we can expect 110+ degree temperatures in our building this Saturday, with less than 10 degree lowering of temps and higher humidity forecast on Sunday. That’s potentially residents in hospitals from heat exhaustion level.

  14. It seems I misunderstood something I was told early on. The line to the cooling tower had not failed and dumped debris in the system; rather, it had visibly deteriorated and clearly needed replacing. Had the cooling tower been put into use, that line could have failed and not only damaged the system, but released large quantities of water into the floors below potentially causing a whole cascade of serious issues. The result was the same—repairs had to be made before it was safe to run the tower—but my description was in error.

    I’ll post a correction at the same time I post the latest on repairs once I have the info.

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