Building Flaws Cause Thermostat Quarrel in Washington Twp. Government

Washington Township councilmen said that municipal employees had complained the thermostats were set too low in government offices.

Disagreements over thermostat settings in the Washington Township Municipal Complex may be the result of problems with the building itself, officials said.

During their meeting this week, Councilman Joe D'Urso and Council Vice President Fred Goetz said municipal employees had come to them about the temperature being set uncomfortably low in the township's government offices.

"This building is too cold," D'Urso said.

The employees said they felt as though they could not take their concerns to Mayor Janet Sobkowicz, according to the councilmen.

Sobkowicz said she had previously found some thermostats in the building had been set to as high as 87 degrees, so she had ordered all of them to be set at 65 or 68 degrees. Sobkowicz allowed the thermostats to be raised slightly higher recently because of the recent coldsnap.

The problem is that some of the thermostats were installed right above radiators, so the temperature in the room is often lower than is intended, Sobkowicz said. 

Township Administrator Catherine Navarro-Steinel said that some other design flaws in the building may be contributing to uncomfortable temperatures. Some windows need repair and the roof — which has already been patched several times since construction was last done — apparently has a large section in which the shingles are nailed directly into the wood with no tar paper in between.

A project to repair the roof could cost $100,000 or more because much of the wood will likely also need to be replaced, according to Navarro-Steinel.

Have a question or news tip? Contact editor Jim Leggate at Jim.Leggate@patch.com, or find us on Facebook and Twitter. For news straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Glenn M. Muller January 31, 2013 at 12:06 AM
Some missing tar paper on the roof the cause of the heating problem? A theory that is nothing short of idiotic. Tar paper doesn't insulate buildings, insulation does. Relocating thermostats could take as little as a few minutes. Fix the simple stuff first.
Had Enough January 31, 2013 at 01:51 AM
If the thermostat is near a heat source, of course it would read higher even though the room was actually colder, so turning them down only makes it worse. Great thinker the mayor is. No wonder nothing ever gets done here.
Steve Kohlreiter January 31, 2013 at 11:49 AM
I wasn't suggesting missing tar paper would fix the heating problem. I was merely stating what needs to fix a shoddy built bldg among others steps needed to bring the bldg up to par. Moving the thermostats of course would help the heat issue. This isn't a political issue, just some commons sense issue relating to a bldg. And yea, throw is some insulation. Nobody would disagree with that, I don't think?
TWP. Guy January 31, 2013 at 01:10 PM
There is no code for tar paper being between the roof deck and shingles. Ice damming shields howerver are. Why are non professioals such as an over priced administrator who hasn't kept a job more then a year in the last five and a Mayor who probably has never seen a heating system making comments. The design flaw is in the fron door area where there is a large open three story foyer. Whith all the traffic the heat loss must be astronomical. A heat curtain at the front door would correct that. Besides instead of arguing hire a mechanical engineer or better yet PSEG's free assessment team to use a simple infrared tool (the fire deptment has one too) and see exactly where the heat loss is . Insulation is cheap!
TWP. Guy January 31, 2013 at 01:14 PM
@ Tony. Rudy did OK while he was there. Even got a few condos out of his tenure and he ran the town from his office at the Harmony.


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