Damage resulting from water is a hot topic with owners and insurance companies. In response to conversations with insurance brokers, owners and tenants about water damage, we have created some property management tips to help you protect yourself and your property.
Using Emerald Management & Realty Ltd.’s experience dealing with a variety
Emerald Management & Realty Ltd.
of different issues, we are proud to share our experience.
Summarized as 3 simple tips, find out what you can do to prevent a water leak and how to respond in the event you experience a water loss:
TIP #1: Before you move in:
Review the condominium bylaws and your mortgage to make sure you understand what you are required to insure. You can take the bylaws to your insurance broker who understands your account to discuss your insurance needs. The following are some questions to review with your broker:
- What do I need coverage for?
- What are my deductibles in the event I have a loss?
- Could I be responsible for the Corporation’s deductible if the loss is my fault? If so, can I get a deductible rider for such situations?
- If there is major damage to the property and I have to move-out, how are my living and mortgage expenses covered?
- What are considered “improvements and betterments” and I am covered?
- If I am away from my home do, I need someone to check on it? If so, how often?
- Do I have enough coverage for improvements, contents (i.e. clothes, furniture, electronics, etc.,), special assessments, liabilities, etc.?
- If I am renting out my home, do I need any different types of coverage (ie) coverage for lost income in the event of an insured loss?
TIP #2: Now that you’re home, remember:
Keep your emergency contact information handy and know where the water shut off valves are.
In the event of a leak, know who to call and when. Emerald Management & Realty Ltd. can be reached at its 24-hour emergency line: 403-237-8600. For useful emergency contacts visit our recent blog: “What is an Emergency”
Typically, the water shut off valves for your home will be:
- Apartment: Usually there will be a shut off valve in any room where water is used. Example: under the bathroom sink or next to the toilet tank. In the event you have in floor heating, there should be a few valves in a closet or the laundry room. You can use these valves to turn off the water for your unit.
- Single family home or townhome: Usually there will be a shut off valve in any room where water is used. Example: under the bathroom sink, next to the toilet tank. The main shut off valve is typically found in the basement or ground floor where the pipes come into the house. Don’t forget to check the garage if it is attached to the house. If you have an internal water meter, the valve will be on the pipe going to the meter.
FYI – Shut off valves for washing machines and dishwashers are typically located behind the machine on the pipes. Carefully turn the tap clockwise to shut off the water supply. Do not force the valve because you don’t want to break it.
TIP #3: Prevent water damage
There are some simple things you can do to avoid unnecessary water leaks.
- Contract a professional when completing plumbing repairs, replacements or upgrades
- Never leave running water taps unattended.
- Don’t leave washers or dishwashers running when you are not home or while you are sleeping
- Only use a toilet for what it was intended for. To keep your toilet and pipes clog-free, avoid disposing:
- Baby wipes
- Paper towels & tissues
- Personal products: Q-tips, cotton pads, sanitary items, condoms, dental floss
- Cigarette butts
- Kitty litter
- Cooking grease and food
- Test your toilet for leaks periodically throughout the year by dropping some food colouring into the toilet tank. If the colouring appears in the toilet bowl, you have a leak.
- Never leave a toilet running. Be sure it has stopped filling prior to leaving your home. If the toilet takes a long time to fill, there may be a leak in the tank or the fill valve may be stuck open.
- If you will be away for an extended period, have a trusted friend or neighbour check in on your home. Often, your insurance policy will have a requirement that you need to have your home inspected regularly when you are away.
- During cold weather, make sure your heat is set at a minimum of 15 degrees Celsius. Typically, this is a good rule of thumb, but your home may be different. Temperatures should register at 15-21 in cold weather to avoid frozen pipes.
- During cold weather, never leave a window open. Temperatures can fluctuate quickly and a pipe can freeze in minutes.
- If you experience a water or power outage, make sure your taps are turned to the “off” position.
Even when all the precautions have been taken, a leak can happen. In the event of a leak, a quick response is essential. This is why it is so important to know where your water shut off valves are and who to contact, especially at 2 am!
Prevention is key but If you experience a leak, the following action can help minimize losses:
- Turn off the water
- Turn off all electrical appliances in the area
- Grab a bucket and place it under the leak to catch the water, if possible
- If you live in an apartment style building and experiencing an extensive leak, check with your neighbours to make sure they aren’t flooding. Vis-versa, if you are experiencing flooding and don’t know where the water is coming from, check with your neighbours to see if they are the source.
- Call Emerald Management & Realty Ltd. at 403-237-8600 and report the leak
These maintenance tips are an important step towards mitigating the risk of water damage and keeping any damage that does occur to a minimum. Dealing with any type of leak and potential insurance claims doesn’t have to be frustrating. By implementing these types you are arming yourself with the knowledge of what you can do to prevent an emergency situation
With over 40 years of property management experience, Emerald Management & Realty Ltd. is trusted to respond with experience and responsive systems to assist property owners and condominium boards with these types of stressful situations. We value the opportunity to provide condominium management in Calgary & Area and available to discuss our services. Contact us to find out more!
We are pleased to announce that the Resident Managers of the month for April 2019 are … Jim and Jean T. at River Heights located in Calgary, AB. They have been full time Resident Managers since May 1st, 2016, and were part time Resident Manager’s prior to moving to full time positions.
Emerald Management & Realty Ltd. congratulates the April 2019 Resident Manager of the Month
Jim and Jean have lived in this 64 unit building located in Mission for many years, and have an abundance of knowledge and experience that is a great help in managing the building.
They have a great rapport with their tenants, many of whom are also long term residents.
Jim & Jean … from all of us at Emerald Management & Realty Ltd., “Congratulations!”, and thank you for all your hard work!
Seeking a resident manager position in Calgary & Area … we are always looking for great people. Check out our current opportunities for property management career jobs.
What is an Emergency
An emergency is defined as any situation that might cause an injury, death, damage to property, and/or impacts your normal activities and safety. This type of sudden or impending situation requires immediate attention and remedial action from the fire department, emergency medical services and/or the police department.
In the event of a Fire, Medical or Police emergency call: 9-1-1.
What would be considered a Maintenance Emergency?
24 hours a day, 7 days a week, Emerald Management & Realty Ltd. is proud to support it’s residents and condominium owners with emergency maintenance support. If you have a maintenance emergency, you can reach our on-call property manager, by calling:
*Please do not text, email or post emergencies on social media, as these communication channels are not monitored around the clock.
If you are calling regarding an emergency where yours or someone else’s safety is at risk and/or requires Fire, Medical or Police support: call 9-1-1
(before calling Emerald Management & Realty Ltd.)
The following is what we consider a Maintenance Emergency:
- Water loss (i.e. flood, leaking pipes, roof leak)
- Sewer back up
- In cold weather conditions, where you experience no heat and your thermostat registers less than 18’C (make sure it is turned on high or set to the maximum)
- Toilet not flushing (for homes with only 1 toilet). Please note that you will be responsible for the cost of repairs if the line is plugged by negligence or mis-use.
- Bathtub not draining (for homes with only 1 bathtub)
- No hot water
- Property security is compromised (i.e. broken window/door or a parkade garage door will not open/close). If you have experienced a break-in or theft: call 9-1-1 and report to the police immediately
- Electrical power outage and you have checked your electrical panel breakers and utility account status to problem solve potential issues
- Any situation that could result in an insurance loss and requires immediate action to mitigate property damage.
- Noise. Noise complaints are typically best dealt with by your local police department. Do not call 9-1-1 in such situations. Every town or city has a non-emergency police number. For example, the City of Calgary Police Department’s non-emergency line is 401-266-1234. If the noise complaint has something to do with an animal, contact your local animal control department. Such a situation should result in a follow up letter to your Property Manager, outlining the nature of complaint, time, date, any witnesses and action taken.
- Locked out? Before emergency strikes … be prepared! Being locked out of your home is a frustrating experience but it is typically not considered an emergency and it is something you can prepared for by:
- Keep a spare key with a trusted friend or neighbour
- Call a locksmith
How can I submit a Non-Emergency Maintenance Request?
A good rule of thumb to keep in mind is that if it is a minor inconvenience and it can wait until tomorrow … it’s probably not an emergency. In such situations, please complete our Maintenance Request Form and your Property Manager will review and schedule where required.
Again, if it’s a safety issue or could ruin your entire home, its most likely an emergency. Common sense should prevail.
Keep your list of emergency contacts handy so you know who to call and when!
Emergency Contact Numbers (June 2019)
Useful Tips to help in an emergency:
- Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors monthly and change batteries on a regular basis. This only takes minutes and can save your life. It’s also smart to keep a portable fire extinguisher in your kitchen. Read more about the importance of working smoke detectors: here.
- Maintain the appropriate insurance. For more information about condominium owner and/or tenant insurance, read: Why Every Condominium Owner & Tenant should have Insurance.
- If you don’t know them don’t let them in. Be aware of your surroundings and get to know your neighbours. Be mindful of your personal security and take time to pre-plan your escape route in the event of an emergency by knowing your exits and making sure they are kept clear.
- No power? If your lights are not working and/or you are experiencing problems with electrical power, be sure to turn the applicable breaker on the panel: off, and then, on. Sometimes breakers don’t appear to have tripped, but they have. Also take a moment to contact your utility provider to ensure that your payments are current. If you are in arrears, your account could be suspended and power limited (or event turned off). In the event of a power outage, make sure to:
- Turn off all electrical appliances and equipment to avoid damage by a possible surge when the power comes back on.
- Do not use any appliances that could create carbon monoxide.
- Keep warm with layered clothes and blankets.
- Stock up on batteries so you can operate a radio or flashlight.
- Make sure you have access to a phone that doesn’t need electricity to operate.
- If you are experiencing a leak, shut off the water valve. “Righty-tighty … lefty-loosy”. Typically shut off valves are located under the sink or next to the toilet. If it is a serious leak and there is no evident shut off valves to the leaking pipe, you may need to turn off the main water line until a plumber can attend. In a house, often times the main water shut off is located near the hot water tank in the basement area on an exterior wall where the water pipe comes into the house.
- If you smell gas, it is an emergency (especially if the smell doesn’t dissipate right away). First, evacuate your home or building, and then call the gas company to report the gas smell. Of if you prefer, call 9-1-1. In any event, get out of the house first. The gas company or the fire department will shut off the gas and try to determine the source. ATCO Gas (403-245-7222) is on call 24-hours a day and will respond to emergencies involving;
- Natural gas odour
- Hit or ruptured natural gas lines
- Carbon monoxide
- Natural gas outage
- Natural gas furnace not working in cold weather
- Have an Emergency Plan. In an emergency it is important to know where your friends and family are. It’s a great idea to keep a list of these phone numbers with you at all time. Choose a person as your emergency contact who everyone can reach if you are separated.
- Prepare a 72-hour emergency kit for your home. Keep it accessible and in a water-proof easy to carry container. For tips on what to include in this kit, visit: https://www.alberta.ca/build-an-emergency-kit.aspx
While we can do everything possible to avoid emergencies, sometimes the best laid plans are still not fail proof. Emergencies can strike anytime and impact many people. We might not be able to avoid an emergency but we can be prepared.
To learn more about what you can do to protect yourself, your family and your property visit the Calgary Emergency Management Agency (CEMA) at www.calgary.ca/cema
With over 40 years of experience in the property management industry, Emerald Management & Realty Ltd. is proud to be of service to communities in Alberta. You can reach us at 403-237-8600. For information regarding our office hours, please visit our website at www.emeraldmanagement.com “Contact Us”.