Hello Queen’s Landing,
It’s that time again – time to prepare your condo for winter. Below, I have outlined two items to attend to by November 1st as well as some additional information of what to do during freezing temperatures or if you are going to be away for an extended period of time and other maintenance items you should complete inside your unit.
- BY NOVEMBER 1 – Please turn off the water to your outside hose bibs from the inside shut off; remove any hoses that are attached; drain the water that may be in the line and leave the faucet open. This is very important to avoid frozen pipes and to allow Maintenance to start installing faucet protectors on the hose bibs next week. IF YOU DO NOT KNOW WHERE THE SHUT OFF VALVE IS LOCATED, ARE OUT OF TOWN AND DID NOT TURN OFF THE EXTERIOR HOSE BIB VALVE BEFORE LEAVING OR YOU ARE HAVING A HARD TIME TURNING THE VALVE OFF PLEASE CONTACT THE OFFICE IMMEDIATELY! We will send someone over to assist you.
- Identify the location for the main water shutoff in your home. Find out how it works in case you have to use it and make sure everyone in your family knows where the water shutoff valve is and how to open and close it. If you have a fire protection sprinkler system in your unit make sure you know what valve that is as this is a separate valve from the main and the fire suppression system MUST BE LEFT ON! We recommend you mark that valve as the fire suppession system. If you need assistance with this, please contact the office
Other Steps to Take…
- A trickle of hot and cold water might be all it takes to keep your pipes from freezing. During frigid temperatures let warm water drip overnight, preferably from a faucet on an outside wall.
- Keep your thermostat set at the same temperature during both day and night. You might be in the habit of turning down the heat when you’re asleep, but further drops in the temperature—more common overnight—could catch you off guard and freeze your pipes.
- Open cabinet doors to allow heat to get to un-insulated pipes under sinks and appliances near exterior walls.
- If you have a condo that has a garage be sure to keep the garage doors closed. The door from the garage to inside the condo is probably not as well–insulated as an exterior door.
If you are going to be out of town…
- Make sure that the thermostat in your house is set no lower than 55°F (12°C).
- Ask a friend or neighbor to check your house daily to make sure it’s warm enough to prevent freezing and that nothing has frozen or burst.
- Shut off and drain the water system. If you have a fire protection sprinkler system in your house DO NOT shut that portion of the water system off. There is a separate valve for the fire suppression system which MUST BE LEFT ON! If you need assistance with this, please contact the office.
If your pipes do freeze
What if your pipes still freeze, despite your best preventive measures? First step: Don’t panic. Just because they’re frozen doesn’t mean they’ve already burst. Here’s what you can do:
If you turn on your faucets and nothing comes out, leave the faucets turned on, turn off the main water supply (If you have a fire protection sprinkler system in your house DO NOT shut that portion of the water system off. There is a separate valve for the fire suppression system which MUST BE LEFT ON!) and call a plumber. The number for two plumbers that have done work in Queen’s Landing are included at the bottom of this notice.
If your water pipes have already burst, turn off the water at the main shutoff valve in the house; leave the water faucets turned on and contact the office if during office hours or the emergency number if after hours (both numbers are listed below) and remember that owners are responsible for the first $10,000 of damage so you will want to contact your insurance company.
Other Items to Address
HVAC and Heat Pumps – Your HVAC systems should be checked by a professional once a year. So if you have a standard central AC or a furnace, each of these units should be maintained, each year and if you didn’t do it in Spring you need to do it now. If you have a heat pump system that you use year-round, then you’ll want to schedule this service once every 6 months.
Hot Water Heater – Industry recommendations are that owners should flush their water heaters at least once a year, but if you have extremely hard water, you may want to do it more often. Flushing your hotwater heater will extend the life of your heater and is easy to do should you want to do it yourself vs hiring a plumber. With proper maintenance, a gas water heater tank should last between eight to 12 years. An electric tank typically offers up to 15 years of quality use, while the life expectancy of tankless electric water heaters can surpass 20 years. If your hotwater heater has exceeded it’s useful life expectancy you should have it replaced. The bottoms will rust out causing major damage to your and possibly your neighbor’s unit so it is imperative to service them and replace when necessary.
Fireplaces – If you have a fireplace (wood or propane) please have a top to bottom inspection and servicing to include chimney cleaned where applicable and provide proof of service completed to the management office. This inspection and servicing should be done every year.
Toilets – Check your toilet(s) to make sure they are secure and that the flapper works properly to prevent the toilet from continually “filling”. In general a toilet flapper should be replaced every 3 to 5 years. If left unattended, a faulty flapper will leave you with a leaky toilet that eventually impacts your water bill. In fact, a warped or poorly fitted flapper wastes up to 200 gallons of water per day. There’s a very simple test to tell if your flapper is leaking. Add a few drops of food coloring to your toilet tank. You can also use a dye tablet specially designed for this purpose. Wait about 15 minutes after adding the dye. If there’s a water leak, you’ll see the color inside the toilet bowl. Wax rings normally last for 20 or more years, however, signs to look for that indicate the wax ring should be replaced are Water around the toilet Base: Bad Odors Coming from the toilet; Ceiling or Floor Damage in the area a toilet is located (this can occur especially if the base has been caulked). Sometimes a toilet leaks around the base and it has nothing to do with the wax ring. For example,the bolts that attach the toilet to the floor are loose or damaged allowing water to leak out from base. Tightening or replacing these bolts should solve the problem. Another issue that leads to water around the toilet base is a leaky supply line. The water pipe that runs from the back of the toilet to the wall might have come loose and needs to be fixed, or, it’s possible the pipe is corroded and has developed a small leak. For supply line issues it is recommended you contact a plumber.
Unit Access – Please make sure you have provided a working key to the management office for your unit in case emergency access is needed. Also, have you thought about installing a smart keyless door lock? These start at around $119 and allows you the ability to easily change the code or provide temporary codes as well as the ability to unlock the door via voice command (pin access, still).
Landlords, it is your responsibility to make certain that your tenants are provided the information in this email. The best and easiest way for that to happen is to make sure you are complying with Queen’s Landing Rules & Regulations and have provided this office with a copy of the lease and the lease addendum as well as having added your tenant and their email address to your portal account as an additional user. This is the only way your tenant will receive broadcast messages from the Association and is the landlord’s responsiblity to do so.
To all – communicate with your neighbors. If we all work together making sure everyone is informed and prepared, hopefully we can reduce, if not completely prevent, costly damage due to frozen pipes, HVACs not being regularly serviced, hotwater heaters not serviced and/or replaced and toilets not properly maintained.
As always, if you have any questions or need more information, please feel free to contact the Management Office by using the contact information below. This notice will be posted on the portal under Property Information > Unit Owner Maintenance Responsibility” and it is recommended that you print this notice and put it somewhere you can get to easily – just in case…
Ward Plumbing (410) 438-3317
Magothy Plumbing (410) 604-3443 or (301) 802-1087
ServPro of Annopolis (Water/Smoke/Fire Damage Mitigation) (410) 923-6166
Thomasville Restoration (Water/Smoke/Fire Damage Mitigation) (410) 360-1075
Tidewater After Hours Maintenance Emergency Number
(443) 548-0191 and press 9
On-Site Community Association Manager
Queen’s Landing CUO
500 Queen’s Landing Drive
Chester, MD 21619
O: 410-643-5192 F:410-604-2712