How to prevent water damage?

The occurrence of a disaster is never good news. Significant water damage is likely to cause lasting damage within the building (e.g. fungal developments inside walls and ceilings). There is no miracle solution to avoid water-induced disasters. However, considering their impact on the budget of a co-ownership, prevention measures must be put in place to monitor components and equipment more at risk. To limit the risk of disaster, especially water damage, some good resolutions are to be made on a daily basis.


Common portions

The maintenance of common portions is under the responsibility of the syndicate. You should know that generally the envelope of the building (roof and perimeter walls) and pipes are common. These components are (in theory) maintained in accordance with the maintenance logbook of the syndicate. The latter has custody of the mechanical and plumbing plans of the building and must keep up to date a log of the interventions to such equipment.

For example, regular maintenance of the water mains and sewers and of the water proofing elements of the roofs and terraces is in the best interest of the co-ownership as it will prevent leaks. Furthermore, the pipes running close to the perimeter walls and the roof must be protected from frost.

Finally, it is necessary to make each co-owner responsible (replacement of obsolete appliances, waterproofing of windows, verification of the condition of the plumbing, etc.). In this regard, it is crucial that co-owners are able to find the main water inlet of their unit and close it effectively if necessary. In addition, to allow rapid response in the event of an incident, it is important to determine a custodian of the double keys of each unit.

Private portions

In a private portion, it is possible to reduce water losses with a few regular checks. First, as soon as you move in, it is necessary to identify the different water supply taps to ensure that they are all in good condition and accessible in case of problems. This will allow you to reduce the damage that water can cause. Then, make sure to become an exemplary co-owner, and this by following these few practical tips:

  • Replacing water heaters before the end of their useful life;
  • Never leaving an apartment with an open window;
  • Avoid using a washing machine or dishwasher when nobody is present, even for a short period of time;
  • Closing the water main of the apartment in the case of a long absence;
  • Closing the windows in case of absence when the weather is uncertain, to avoid infiltration in case
  • Verifying, on a regular basis, if the windows are watertight;
  • Keeping an eye on the gaskets under and around the sanitary equipment (such as: bath and shower);
  • Keep a regular eye on your ducts and faucets to intervene quickly in the event of a leak;
  • Regular maintenance of the water main, including the shutdown valve or faucet;
  • Installing a water detector and an overflow alarm, to shut down the water main in case of leaks or frost;
  • Have the joints of the shower, bathtub, sinks and tiles redone as often as necessary;
  • Regularly check the condition of faucets and water pipes (Pipes and fittings under sinks as well as floors around toilets, washers and water heaters should be dry).

In addition, if plumbing work is undertaken in your unit, be vigilant; do not leave the room until the area is secure enough.


 WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW It is recommended to replace the washer and dishwasher hoses every 5 years when they are made of rubber and every 10 years when they are made of braided steel. WHAT TO KEEP IN MIND: More and more Quebec co-ownerships are opting for the installation, in all their units, of a system that detects water leaks. This practice has become necessary, not to say essential, since several claims have had a negative impact on insurance premiums and deductibles. The experience of these systems in the co-ownerships that had them installed shows, according to the managers, that they reduce the number and magnitude of disasters.

 WARNING! To avoid water damage, water heaters must be at the top of the list of devices to be placed under high surveillance. Identifying their installation date, along with a plumber's bill and a replacement schedule, is a preventative approach that should pay off. These devices must be replaced no later than every 10 years, otherwise the risk of leaks will increase significantly.


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