ASK THE INSPECTOR: Shared Water Issues in Condos

Welcome to our latest in the “Ask the Inspector” series where Al Dingerfeld, one of only 6 Certified Master Inspectors in the State of Connecticut, answers your questions related to home inspections, safety and regulations you should know about. 

This month’s question is one that matters to a lot of people – renters, owners and real estate agents! As condominiums where renters and owner’s live in a shared building space could potentially realize a disruption in their services or utilities due to an issue not directly affecting them.

Our reader wrote in asking if Condo buildings with shared water as part of their monthly utility fees would mean any plumbing work done in another unit requiring water shut off affected the rest of the residents. 

Keep reading to see why this question doesn’t really have a direct Yes or No answer and what important things to look our for if you’re thinking about buying or renting a Condo. 

Plumber man fixing kitchen sink

Plumber man fixing kitchen sink

Q: 

If each building in the complex has shared water, hot and cold for all units covered under a monthly utilities fee, when plumbing work is being done in a unit and it is necessary to shut off the water, is the water supply shut off for all units in the building?

A: 

First it’s important to know that many plumbing repairs will not require water to be shut off to the entire larger building. Most modern plumbing has local shutoffs on individual fixtures (toilets, sinks, laundry/kitchen appliances etc.) This allows many problems to be solved with no impact on other units

In addition, designed, large multi-family buildings will make use of  plumbing manifolds or branch shut-offs to allow shut-off of only certain units, floors or areas.

This is a good thing as planned plumbing repairs with multiple shutoffs will allow for less disruption to more units.  Emergency plumbing issues are also more quickly resolved with less damage, to possibly many units, when centralized shut-offs are available.

To know what the Condo units you’re looking at have for water shut offs you should speak with the building’s professional property management staff who should know the specifics on the property they care for.

Finally, like any real estate purchase, have your new home inspected before you buy it!

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Have questions? Want to book a dependable home inspector? Call Accuracy Plus Home Inspections today! We’ve been providing inspections for both buyers and sellers for over 13 years and are accredited by the CT BBB with an A+ Accreditation Certified Master Inspector Badge!