Cold Weather Action – FROZEN PIPES AND HEAT PUMPS

Date: January 31, 2021
Subject: Cold Weather Action – FROZEN PIPES AND HEAT PUMPS

Good Morning QL,

 

Preparing for Winter and Owner Maintenance Responsibility information was previously sent out on 10/6/2020 and on 10/29/2020. However, with the current cold weather and possibility for snow, a third reminder focusing on frozen pipes and providing a tip for those owners with heat pumps as well as a reminder for the protocol in case of snow seemed in order.  First, as a reminder…

 

Outside Hose Bibs per QL Rules & Regs:

 
2.13 (h) Water pressure to outside hose bibs must be shut off, and hoses disconnected and drained by residents no later than November 1 of each year and remain shut off until March 31. Landlords shall notify and ensure that their tenants comply with this section. If not in compliance, the unit owner or his/her tenant responsible for damaging the unit or neighboring units, limited common elements and/or common elements will be responsible for the damage in accordance with the Queen’s Landing governing documents and the Maryland Condominium Act.
 
Previous notices sent out advised owners of the requirement to have the hose bibs shut off and drained by November 1.  Maintenance then followed up by installing faucet covers. If you have since turned the water to your hose bib back on and you experience frozen pipes in that area due to the water on in that area that results in water damage to your and/or your neighbor’s unit, please know that your condo insurance and the Association’s insurance most likely will deny coverage.  So, if you have gone against the governing documents and turned the water back on to your hosebibs you must turn it off immediately, drain the line and reinstall the faucet cover.  Water is not to be turned back on until March 31st of each year.
 
Know Where Main Water Shut Off is Located:
 
Other recommended action sent out to owners previously included identifying 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 have not yet done this, please do so now.  Knowing where the shut offs are will save you and/or your neighbors from having severe damage in the case of a water loss issue.
 
Tips for Preventing Frozen Pipes:
  • 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.
 
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.
 
Other Information
 
Tip for Unit Owners with Heat Pumps - If your home has a heat pump, it is important to keep an eye out for ice build up due to maintenance issues that need to be addressed by your HVAC service company, for example a stuck reversing valve.  Also, if it snows owners should remove snow build up off and away from the coils on your outdoor unit. The outdoor unit needs airflow across the coils to work properly. This will also help prevent the most expensive part of your heat pump system from having to come on as often….the Emergency Back Up Heat!  Excess snow will also prevent the outdoor unit from defrosting properly during the defrost cycle. Excessive build up of ice on the coils can cause damage….remember, ice has the power to burst pipes and crush hulls of a boat…ice can damage your outdoor unit. Just brush away the snow.  It doesn’t have to be perfect – just clear enough to allow the system to work properly. Remove the heavy snow and the defrost cycle will do the rest. This little tip could save money on your electric bill,  prevent avoidable service calls and prevent repairs.
 
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.
 
Snow Removal Protocol:
 
Guidelines established by the Association is for the Manager to confer with Board President. General guidelines for plowing is 3″ on the ground, however, decisions for shoveling and plowing are based on the continuing weather forecast and review with the snow removal contractor.  Residents should be aware of existing conditions with regards to sidewalks and streets.  All reasonable efforts will be made to ensure safe conditions as is feasible but residents must also take responsiblity to be aware of your surroundings and refrain from walking or driving until conditions are safe.
 
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.
 
Useful Numbers:
 
Ward Plumbing (410) 438-3317
 
Magothy Plumbing (410) 604-3443 or (301) 802-1087
 
North Shore Restoration (Water/Smoke/Fire Damage Mitigation) (410) 708-3266
 
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
 
Thank you,
 
Tammy Eaton
On-Site Community Association Manager
www.tidewaterproperty.com
 
Queen’s Landing CUO
500 Queen’s Landing Drive
Chester, MD  21619
[email protected]
O: 410-643-5192  F:410-604-2712

Queen's Landing