According to TD Insurance, more than 40% of the Condo Insurance Claims are due to Flooding In Condos in recent years. Just last week, a flooding incident happened in a prominent high rise condo building in downtown Toronto. Here is the story.
Starting early days of January 2021, we are experiencing colder days in the City of Toronto & GTA. A Toronto Condo Resident In Etobicoke reached out to us in the middle of a cold Toronto Saturday afternoon, saying that her unit is flooding and the water is coming out 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 suite or the mechanical room. Fortunately, the building manager was able to act quickly to shut the water before more suites get damaged.
Condo Management Investigation
Soon after this incident, the Condo Management invited Home Trade Standards to provide an official report as a building HVAC & Plumber Contractor to report their investigation.
Property 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 leaks 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 learn more about 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 Concern – 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 Managements provide HVAC Maintenance twice a year before the heating & cooling season.
Condo HVAC Repair & Maintenance Are Individual Owner’s 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 are 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:
- Close Your Balcony Door During Cold Freezing Days In Winter
- Ask Your Condo Management To Shutt of Your Unit Water Valves During Long Term Absence
- Annual Condo HVAC Maintenance Is Highly Recommended To Ensure Proper & Safe Operation
- Retrofit Solutions For Buildings Over 20 Years Old
- Inspect your 2-Way or 3-Way Valve, Cartridge, Actuator & Service Valve Annually to Ensure They Are In a Safe Condition
- Use Glycol & Anti Freeze In The Building Water Supply
- Insulating Copper Piping To Protect From Freezing
About The Author – Who Is Home Trade Standards?
Home Trade Standards is a Trusted Condo HVAC Company Offering In-Suite Heating, Air Conditioning & Ventilation Services in Toronto & GTA Area. Our Services Are Used by Condo Boards, Property Managers, Superintendents, Landlords & Tenants. Our HVAC Experts Provide The Following HVAC Services in High Rise & Low Rise Buildings.
You can learn more about Home Trade Standards by visiting our website.