Turning Up the Heat
Mobile Steam Boiler Rental Corp. celebrates more than 50 years of service to East Coast clients
Mobile Steam Boiler Rental Corp. prides itself on keeping the New York tri-state region’s facilities up and running when steam plants fail. Over the last five decades, the business has helped thousands of building owners and facility managers, logging more heating hours and pounds of steam in the region than any other firm, according to company leaders.
The company, located in Mount Vernon, New York, rents boilers to provide temporary steam and hot water for heating, industrial applications and domestic use. Jeff Moskowitz and his brother, Larry, represent the third generation of family in the business.
This legacy started when their grandfather and great-uncle formed an oil and boiler installation company in Brooklyn in the 1940s to help bring heat to the rapidly modernizing area. Jeff and Larry’s father, Lenny “Len” Moskowitz, along with cousins Mel and Shelly Moskowitz, were involved in the company at the time and saw an opportunity to introduce the mobile boiler concept to the region. In 1968, they created Mobile Steam Boiler Rental Corp. (Mobile Steam).
Initially, the firm focused on providing temporary heat to the cargo ships docked along the Brooklyn waterfront and steam to the many industrial dye houses, electroplating facilities and laundries operating in the city at that time. Soon thereafter, building owners and the city of New York began to pay attention to how Mobile Steam could ease the discomfort of people living in buildings with rundown or broken boilers. This was during hard economic times, and many aspects of building maintenance had become compromised. The company has been servicing many industrial, commercial and residential sectors ever since.
After decades of working together, Jeff assumed leadership of the firm from his father, Len, at the turn of the century. Jeff was joined by his brother, Larry, who previously had a successful career in advertising and corporate communications. Their father retired from the business last year at the age of 80. “We have a strong sense of those who came before us,” Jeff says.
Exceptional Versatility and Knowledge
Mobile Steam maintains an extensive fleet of temporary boilers. Capabilities include high- or low-pressure steam, hot water heat and domestic hot water. “We are ready for almost any contingency,” Larry says.
The team members also have a wide breadth of experience. “Most of our mechanics, fitters and plumbers have been with us for decades. Our high employee retention works well for the firm and our customers,” Jeff says. “There’s not as much of a learning curve for us.” While some companies may specialize in servicing apartment buildings, Mobile Steam is well versed in the intricacies of servicing large and small commercial and residential spaces, factories that rely on steam and hot water to keep production lines going, and many other kinds of facilities where being without steam for even a moment creates a real crisis.
Mobile Steam’s large fleet of mobile heating units provides the variety of equipment needed to effectively respond to most emergency situations.
When Hurricane Sandy slammed into New York City in 2012, unprecedented storm surges and flooding devastated many facilities along the coast. The storm struck in late October, just as the heating season was beginning. “We worked day and night to make sure those in need had access to our equipment,” Jeff says. “Although many of our own homes were impacted, we understood our responsibility to New York,” he continues.
The leaders of Mobile Steam are also very proud to have provided temporary steam after both the 1993 and 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center. As Jeff explains, even the below-ground steam grid was impacted by these attacks, so a temporary solution was needed to heat the buildings and construction sites during the reconstruction phase that followed each event.
Planning Is Key
While Mobile Steam is no stranger to emergencies, the process of providing temporary steam and hot water is smoother when things can be planned before they reach the crisis stage. “We began as an emergency response business, but our greatest value is in providing owners, large contractors, engineers and facility managers with peace of mind throughout the planning process,” Larry says. The company educates its customers about how the site should be prepped, what permitting may be required and how the delivery of units should be timed to ensure smooth project management.
This expertise proves invaluable during major capital improvement projects, such as when municipal housing authorities or school systems renovate their heating plants. It is no exaggeration to say that over the course of its 51 years in business, Mobile Steam has provided a safe and warm heating environment for hundreds of thousands of New York City children and has kept hundreds of thousands of families living in public housing heated and with hot water while their boilers were out of service.
Mobile Steam is perhaps even responsible for the expansion of major heating repairs and renovations on the East Coast, turning it from a half-year industry into a 12-month one. “Before we introduced the concept of temporary boilers to the tri-state region, heating renovations could only be done in warm weather,” Jeff says. “Industrial facilities that rely on steam or hot water for production no longer have to potentially lose millions of dollars in lost output if they have an outage. We are proud to have helped alleviate these historic issues.”
In addition to offering a wealth of expertise and versatile solutions, Mobile Steam has a large quantity of boilers available for rent. Its staff works easily with facility managers and engineers to make sure there is no down time when repairs or maintenance need to be conducted.
Mobile Steam’s success has been based on decades of family-owned leadership, a solid work ethic and niche specialization. The firm does one thing: rent boilers. By doing so in a reliable way, mechanical contractors and facility managers are free to focus on what they do best. This gives Mobile Steam’s customers peace of mind that operations will continue while their system issues are being addressed.