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Subject: Determining Leaks in a Condo Development
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Author Messages
KatL
(Alabama)

Posts:11


09/23/2019 1:12 PM  
HI Everyone,

I would like advice on an action plan for preventing and/or determining leaks at an older (built in the 1970s) condominium community of approx 200 units. Do you do consistent unit by unit inspections to assess for leaky faucets, toilets, etc.? Contact a leak detection company, etc. We welcome your input and advice.

Thank you very much. All input is greatly appreciated.
MelissaP1
(Alabama)

Posts:8601


09/23/2019 3:17 PM  
May need some more details. Why the concern? Who is responsible for the leaks? Does the HOA pay for the water?

This is really a plumber kind of issue. They may be able to do pressure checks or recommendations for new products on the market. It's going to be difficult to replace these seals and fix leaks unless the HOA wants to bear the expense and responsibility. Something that I am not sure every member would want to agree to.

Former HOA President
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:16481


09/23/2019 3:22 PM  
Posted By MelissaP1 on 09/23/2019 3:17 PM

Why the concern?




They live in a condominium complex and likely on the board (from the way the question is phrased).




Kat,

Sorry, I haven't lived in condos and simply don't have the experience to assist.

Tim
SamE2
(New Jersey)

Posts:162


09/24/2019 4:58 AM  
In our condo each unit has their own water meter and pays their own bill so we do not check for leaks in their water systems.
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:459


09/24/2019 5:46 AM  
The association pays for water in my condo community. The community is less than 20 years old, so may not have the same issues as an older one.

Our property manager monitors water usage, and if there is an unexplained increase she investigates with residents in the affected building. Typically it's the result of a malfunctioning water softener. The controls for the sprinkler systems are in closets on the backs of the buildings, and these systems must be inspected annually or we risk being fined by the fire department.

Aside from that the few leaks we've had were usually discovered by homeowners, although that can be pretty hit or miss. We do try to educate them about fixing leaky toilets and similar issues. Everyone pays the price, literally, if owners neglect such things, but that's an unavoidable consequence of having water as a common expense.

However, doing inspections of interiors would not fly around here. For one thing, most people are gone during the day and wouldn't be able to let the workers in. Second, it's a bit high handed and would very likely be met with resistance. It's one thing to enter a unit if there is an emergency - our Declaration allows that - but there is no justification for entering a home that has not reported an issue.
SueW6
(Michigan)

Posts:586


09/24/2019 6:08 AM  
There are companies that can determine if there is a leak from the water main to the building. That’s fairly easy to determine.

After that, each unit should become aware that there is a spike in the bill and ask them to check their toilets, water softeners, outside faucets, etc. And provide a plumber contact who knows your complex and is reputable.

Individual usage gauges are an option, but at a cost.
NpS
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:3758


09/24/2019 7:35 AM  
80 unit townhouse community with single water meter. Things we have done:

1. Got the local water utility to provide us with hour-by-hour usage reports over a 48-hour period. Before the first 24 hours, we asked all homeowners not to use any water between 9am and 11 am. Reminded them again that afternoon not to use any water between 9am and 11am the next day. Second day results were better. Objective was to see where our lowest point was and determine if it was worth the expense to "search" common ground for leaks.

2. Paid owners $150 for every toilet they replaced with a WaterSense labeled toilet.

3. Bulk purchased WaterSense labeled shower heads and faucet aerators and gave them to homeowners at no charge.

4. Distribute leak testing tablets after every winter. Homeowners report on whether leaks were found and fixed.

5. Initiated an $85 per quarter fee for water in addition to monthly fees. All homeowners can earn up to $72 per quarter in credits based on what they report in annual conservation survey.

6. Periodically distribute promotional materials provided by WaterSense.

More than 85% of our toilets have been switched out. We get 95% response rate on the survey. More than half of our owners pay the minimum $13 per quarter.

Investigated individual meters, but concluded that it wouldn't be cost effective.

Saved millions of gallons and tens of thousands of dollars.

Initial investment less than $40k which we borrowed from reserves. Paid it back in less than 3 years.

Current water use is steady-state at around 50 gallons per person per day.

Some of these actions might be worth considering in any single meter setup.

Sikubali jukumu. Read all posts at your own risk.
SueW6
(Michigan)

Posts:586


09/24/2019 8:21 AM  
Nps ,
What’s your resident profile? Seniors? Couples? Families?
NpS
(Pennsylvania)

Posts:3758


09/24/2019 2:55 PM  
Posted By SueW6 on 09/24/2019 8:21 AM
Nps ,
What’s your resident profile? Seniors? Couples? Families?



With 95% reporting:

Adults: 123 (33 living alone). Includes families with adult children.
Children under 18 y/o: 24 in 12 households.
93% owner occupied.

Guessing that at least 60% of residents are 55+.

Sikubali jukumu. Read all posts at your own risk.
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