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The cost of cool: Tipping advice for a/c season

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As the local mercury flirts with 90 degrees this weekend, you may find yourself seeking the pleasure of your window a/c’s company again.

But how much do you tip your super--or pay an outside company--for the backbreaking service of hauling your a/c out of cold storage and into your window?

If your building allows your super to do the job—and for liability reasons related to potential smashing of passers-by, many buildings don’t—the normal gratuity is $50-75 per unit, says Joseph Shkreli, a BrickTank expert who has worked as a resident manager in several Manhattan apartment buildings.  Walk-up dwellers should consider being even more generous, he says.

Curt Bergeest, resident manager of an Upper East Side prewar co-op and the vice-president of the Superintendent's Technical Association, says the gratuity should be “a fair percentage of what it costs to bring in an outside company.”

BrickUnderground compared prices at two local air conditioner installation companies and found a wide range of costs:   Air-Wave Air Conditioning quoted $175-225 depending on the addition of a security bar, while Liberty Cool wanted only $70-80 for the same service.

“Depending on where you live, the price goes up or down. Sad to say, but true,” says Bergeest. “Sometimes it depends on how upscale the neighborhood is. But most of the companies that perform any work of this nature are located outside of city, so if you live in the Bronx chances are you going to call some company from the Bronx, less travel time, easy parking equals lower prices."

Related posts:

The Big Chill:  Putting central air in a prewar apartment

The 1st Annual BrickUnderground Guide to Holiday Tipping

Cashing in on holiday tipping

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