NYC Advice on Servicing PTAC Units?

Good Questions

Q: A previous owner of my pre-war NYC apartment ripped out the good old steam radiators and replaced them with forced air units — PTACs to the trade — that blow hot or cold air. Whatever the wisdom of that decision, a year after I moved in the units decided to go on strike — and now I have to deal with one on the fritz and another that makes a disturbing clicking sound:

Retrofitted PTACs are not that common in pre-war buildings, so my super won't go near them, and I have never felt so vulnerable dealing with tradespeople, who seem only to want to sign me up for yearly servicing contracts and otherwise will charge me over $100 just to diagnose the problem. The only semi-firm estimates I've gotten so far are (1) a total of $500 to replace one $8 thermostat wire, and (2) $1,000 to fix the compressor on a unit that I can buy new for $800, but will cost $1,500 in labor to replace. This all sounds nuts to me.

Does anyone in a New York coop have experience dealing with PTACs, or a vendor recommendation based on personal experience?

Apartment Therapy community, you are the only ones I can turn to for this very local and very time-sensitive question — please help!

Sent by Gabrielle

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