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Water Is a New Fire In Toronto High Rise Buildings - Close Your Condo Balcony Door When It's Freezing

Posted in , on February 22, 2020 By Admin

Why You Need To Close Your Balcony Doors In Freezing Cold Days Before Leaving Your Condo

According to TD Insurance, more than 40% of the Condo Insurance Claims are due to Flooding In Condos in recent years. Last week, we had witnessed another flooding incident in one of Etobicoke Condo Units.

The story 

 In January & February 2020, we had witnessed extreme cold days in the City of Toronto & surrounding areas. A Toronto Condo Resident In Etobicoke, reached out to us in frustration in the middle of a cold Toronto Saturday afternoon, saying that her unit is flooding and the water is coming outs from her fan coil system. In an emergency situation, the building supervisor or maintenance staff are responsible to immediately shut off the water from the mechanical room. Fortunately, she was able to reach out to the building manager fast enough to shut the water to stop the building from getting more damages. The Condo Board had reported that the super had turned off hot and cold water risers once they are notified.

Condo Management Investigation

Soon after this incident, the Condo Management invited the building HVAC & Plumber Contractor to report their investigation. 

Management Response 

Management took one week to provide the resident with a written answer. The finding was that "the fan coil unit ruptured due to freezing, which was caused by your balcony door being left open by your tenants and the outside temperature at the time was -20 which caused the water pipe to freeze."

Collection of Payment Notice

At this point, the letter goes on and the condo management is asking the landlord to pay $442.11 plus HST for "2.5 Hours of The Emergency Service Call For Fan Coil Unit Flood". for the investigation process plus $10,000 in damage costs for the insurance deductible. 

So What Happened?

Leaving the balcony door open on a freezing day can quickly drop the temperature inside the condominium units. Due to limited and compact space in most modern condominiums, some fan coil units are installed near the balcony doors in which they can easily be exposed to freezing temperatures inside your unit.

In condos, there is cold and hot water flow across the common element plumbing system of the building throughout 365 days of the year. These pipes carry hot and cold water from mechanical rooms branching off to each unit's fan coils to supply heating and cooling. Freezing water can cause a leak inside the coil and water copper piping connected to the units.

Some Condominium Use Cautious Sign Sticker

Due to recent flooding issues in condos, Condominium Property Managements & Condo Builders have now started to leave signs in new Condo Fan Coil Systems to provide more awareness.

Know Your Insurance Coverage

It is important to know your insurance coverage when you live in a condominium. Water damage protection plans come as an add-on for most home insurance policies. Insurance Companies will hold you liable for flood damage if you don't have proper coverage.

Flooding and damage inside your unit may be more devastating since water can ultimately damage all floors below your unit except if you live in a penthouse. 

Fan Coil Freezing - Older Buildings Are More In Danger

Buildings over 20 years old are more in danger and prone to fan coil flood risks. Annual Fan Coil Maintenance is an important practice in older homes because a professional fan coil technician can detect corrosion and rust inside the units and report necessary recommendations to the management. Most Condo Management provides HVAC Maintenance twice a year before the heating & cooling season.

Condo HVAC Systems Are Your Responsibility

In older condominium buildings, the water piping leading to your unit fan coil system could be at risk due to rust and corrosion. These pipes are not as durable as they once used to be because of mechanical wear and tear. Hence, the homeowners & landlords can easily be exposed to condo flooding risk problems if the fan coil pipes are not upgraded when its life is reached.

Common Issues With Older Building Plumbing Infrastructure

Copper is the most common material used in water plumming in high rise buildings. Copper usually tend to build corrosion product inside. Also, water velocity and building water turbulence inside copper tubes can force excessive pressure inside the pipes and melt-away copper inner walls which can result in leaks and failure.

7 Flood Mitigations & Solutions Tips For Condo Owners & Property Managers

Condo Water Damages is devastating to the building. Not only your property gets damage but also it will have repercussions such as resident displacement, degradation of infrastructure, financial damage, health and safety issues. 

To Mitigate the risk of the flooding problems from Condo Residents are recommended to do the following:

  1. Close Your Balcony Door During Cold Freezing Days In Winter
  2. Ask Your Condo Management To Shutt of Your Unit Water Valves During Long Term Absence
  3. Annual Condo HVAC Maintenance Is Highly Recommended To Ensure Proper & Safe Operation
  4. Retrofit Solutions For Buildings Over 20 Years Old
  5. Inspect your 2-Way or 3-Way Valve, Cartridge, Actuator & Service Valve Annually to Ensure They Are In a Safe Condition
  6. Use Glycol & Anti Freeze In The Building Water Supply
  7. Insulating Copper Piping To Protect From Freezing

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