This Is our Village

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Turning off water

If an upstairs condo unit owner is gone for the summer and we notice that his main water valve is left in the open position can we as a board member allowed to turn the valve off for preventive measures. Thank you so much for your advice.

3 comments:

elaineb said...

You could phone him and make sure the water heater fuse is OFF. As a first step.
Some associations have standing orders to turn all off if the owner has neglected to do so.

Frank LaFountain President Berkshire B said...

No one is supposed to turn off the water valves except the water department.. If you are caught there is a hefty fine.. Unless you have condo installed water valves that were added on and are now owned by the condo.

Lanny Howe said...

This issue has been discussed before. If you have condo-installed water valves, the condo association is paying about $300 for every set of two shutoffs, I believe—which end up being located in a pit right beside the water company pit! This would cost our 26-unit association $3900! Fine if you can afford it—many of us cannot.

Yes, I guess technically you could incur a hefty fine (likely to be over $3900?) if found turning water on or off in the water company pits, but hundreds in the Village have been doing this for years, I feel sure. I am not hearing of this being enforced. How, other than this way, or if your association has paid for the second pits, do you turn the water on and off? To have a shutoff installed in the apartment would cost probably $250 (might as well get the second pit) and would leave the water pipe going up to the second floor (in the wall) under pressure and vulnerable.

Pay the water company to turn the water on and off? Yes, that’s the sensible solution for those who are not here ONLY over the summer months. Last I heard, it cost $39 to have the water turned on and nothing to have it turned off.

But what about those who come and go? Who may be gone SEVERAL times during the year for a weekend or weeks? A pipe could burst just as well during a short absence as during a long one. Shall we be shelling out $39 several times during the year?

It is recommended everyone have the new kind of ¼-turn shutoffs under the sinks and toilets. Yes, they do make sense, and okay, turning them off would help, but that still leaves the tub & shower vulnerable (most have no shutoff) and the water heater vulnerable (shutoffs for them are for all practical purposes inaccessible in many of the units—who’s going to pull the stove out and squeeze behind the heater?).

The point is that this remains a knotty problem for those of us on tight budgets.