top of page

Condo Crisis Control: Navigating Plumbing and HVAC Repairs with Ease

As we explained in our specific blog post about overall condo maintenance, regular maintenance is crucial to the health and longevity of any property. Improper maintenance can lead to serious issues like leaky plumbing, which can quickly cause water damage and result in expensive repairs and long-lasting headaches for everyone.

Whether maintenance is planned with enough time in advance or unplanned as a result of some incident, no one can guarantee that it will be a smooth and “clean” process. So what condo crisis control can condo managers and boards tackle to effectively navigate plumbing and HVAC repairs with ease?

Let's take on this contentious topic together!

When repairs need to be made, it can be taxing condo managers and residents alike, and it can seem to be an endurance marathon at times. "The notice that went out clearly says 9am-5pm!" "Why don’t I have heat or hot water yet?" Those are both not only common, but fair questions.

In this blog post, we aim to explain the importance of communicating plumbing and HVAC systems repairs, and what that means for condo managers and residents during servicing and shut-downs.

Crisis Control: Communicating and Navigating Plumbing Repairs in Condos

The Proposed Repair Schedule: Following the Plan is Not Always Possible for Plumbing and HVAC Issues in Condos

Communicative condo managers will do their best to ensure that residents are notified and updated as much and as often as possible regarding maintenance works, but... not everything goes as planned. Even if the maintenance works were planned months in advance and the proper condo vendor/contractor was selected for the job, not everything goes as scheduled. Complications arise, and the result is not always in the control of the vendor, condo manager, or board of directors.

When unexpected maintenance is needed or when unexpected issues during planned repairs occur, condo managers and other condo staff have to be on a “damage control” mode and make sure they are as reactive with the problem as possible. Organized corporations have procedures and protocols to follow in cases like this which makes the situation a bit easier to handle, but there are still a lot of things to do according to said protocols and things to always go as smoothly as everyone would like.

Deviations in expected or normal plan can increase the repair time listed in the notice and cause further interruptions to hot water and heating systems. It is important for condo management to properly balance the imperative repair work that needs to be done, and the obligation to inform condo residents about what is going on. An informal or short notice shared quickly through email or in the elevators can go a long way to reassure residents that, even if things didn't go according to plan, the much needed work is getting done and property management is involved and aware of the situation.

Click here to find HVAC Technicians or Plumbers in the GTA on our vendor directory, My Condo Vendor.

But Why Do Plumbing and HVAC Repairs in Condos Take Soooo Long?

Once the repairs are completed, restoring the systems can take a significant amount of time. Residents may have their unit’s water flow reinstated quickly, but it takes time to heat up the condominium’s hot water tanks (just like it would for the tanks in a regular household), and a similar thing happens to the heating system.

Often, repairs require condo management to drain the lines. That means that, once the water is shut off, condo management will empty the entirety of the building’s water that is inside the pipes.

Take a 30 floor building for example, with an average of 12 units per floor, that is 360 units, 2 or 3 levels of parking, all the amenities and maybe a retail business on the ground floor... which is to say... that is a lot of water!

Managing the Situation and Understanding What Goes on Behind the Scenes: When HVAC and Plumbing Repairs Get Messy

Behind the scenes, the superintendents and contractors have to turn back on many pumps and machines at different times to restore, not only the flow of water, but the pressure as well. Too much pressure can cause even more problems, so it is monitored, regulated and increased over time. It's important to keep checking valves and controls to ensure everything is working properly.

These valves control the flow of water and need to be adjusted to maintain the right balance throughout the building. To get the air out of the lines and make sure there is a decent flow of water in the pipes going to all of the different systems, tanks, pumps and eventually the residential units, the Superintendents have to bleed the air out using hoses attached to open taps.

Additionally, the team might need to flush out the entire water system to remove any debris or sediment that could have accumulated during the repair process. This ensures that the water running through the pipes is clean and safe for use.

Restoring the building systems is a lengthy and manual process. It isn’t automatic. It certainly isn’t quick, and safely it is unfortunate that emergencies can happen at the same time and it can be extremely frustrating to not have heat when it is cold outside. It can be aggravating that there isn’t any running or hot water. Sometimes, though, residents must be aware of the reality that it can not be avoided.

The potential damage that can be caused by leaks and floods is devastating and costly. Damage control and repairs becomes the number one priority to minimize the impact of the issues on the wellbeing of the whole community. This can be inconvenient but it is unfortunately necessary. Condo managers must do their best to keep residents informed at all times of what is going on, it only takes 5-10 minutes to send a general email, and residents must be patient and understand that sometimes, things just go wrong and there is nothing anyone can do to prevent it.

Did you know that members of Stratastic can plan their services proactively with our Planner+ feature? It's free to join, and we even prefill your annual planner with your corporation's dates for key tasks!

Helpful tips for condo managers to navigate such situations effectively and nurture a more empathetic condo community:

Building a Collaborative Maintenance Network: In times of crisis, a strong network of maintenance partners can make all the difference. Condo managers should cultivate relationships with trusted maintenance vendors and service providers, selected through platforms like My Condo Vendor, Building a collaborative maintenance network ensures access to skilled professionals capable of delivering prompt and reliable service when it's needed most.

Leveraging Technology for Enhanced Maintenance Management: These days, technology can really help when it comes to dealing with unexpected maintenance problems. Condo managers can use digital tools like apps and software to make things easier. They can use these tools to handle maintenance requests, keep track of work orders, and let residents know what's going on right away. Using technology like this can make maintenance work smoother and more organized, and it helps everyone stay on the same page. Check out proptech companies listed on My Condo Vendor for comprehensive solutions.

Prioritizing Resident Communication and Engagement: Clear and consistent communication is essential during times of unexpected maintenance. Condo managers should maintain open lines of communication with residents through a variety of channels, including email updates, building-wide announcements, and community forums. By keeping residents informed, engaged, and reassured throughout the maintenance process, condo communities can foster a sense of unity and cooperation during challenging times. Check out our blog post: Communication Education for Condominium Corporations: How Effective Communication Creates a Compliant Condo Community

Navigating Resident Expectations and Concerns: When there's a maintenance emergency, it's important for condo managers to make sure residents know what to expect. They should give realistic estimates of how long things will take, be clear about what's happening, and listen to any worries residents might have. By showing commitment to resident satisfaction, condo managers can build trust and keep everyone feeling positive, even when things get tough.

Facing unexpected maintenance problems can be tough, but by planning ahead, getting ready in advance, and working together, condo communities can handle even the toughest challenges. Using technology, making good partnerships, talking openly, and staying strong can help both managers and residents get through these situations. We can tackle the ups and downs of condo living with confidence and strength.

And if you need help with maintenance, check out Plumbers and HVAC technicians on My Condo Vendor. Let's handle unexpected maintenance like pros – together!

-Stratastic Inc.

P.S. If you found these maintenance tips helpful, make sure to stay informed and prepared by subscribing to Stratastic. Our platform offers valuable resources and tools for condo managers, condo boards, condo residents, and condo vendors alike. Stay ahead of the curve – subscribe below and excel in your condominium community today!


bottom of page