Snowbirds Do Not Forget to Winterize Your Condo Unit’s Pipes Before Flying South!

The freezing cold temperatures of winter are right around the corner and now is the time that a lot of Michigan’s Snowbirds begin making their way to warmer temperatures. But for Snowbirds living in attached condominiums in Michigan during the warmer months of the year, it is important that they see that their condominium units’ pipes are property winterized before heading south.

No homeowner wants to deal with a burst pipe. It is a mess and inevitably involves filing a home insurance claim. But when you own an attached condominium, it can be even more of a pain. Why? Well, if you do not properly winterize your unit, you will not have to pay your insurance deductible, the condominium association’s insurance deductible, perhaps the insurance deductibles of your neighbors (if their units were damaged), and any costs to repair damage not covered by insurance. In short, it can cost you a lot of money.

So, what should you do to properly winterize your unit? There are a few things everyone can do. However, because each condominium project is different, is a good idea to check with your condominium’s management company (or if there is no management company, your condominium Board of Directors) to see if there is anything specific that should be done to your unit to properly winterize it.

  1. Shut of the Water – This seems like a no brainer, but you would be surprised how many people do not do this. Also, depending on the water system in your condominium, make sure you are only turning off the water to your unit and not to others. Your neighbors are not going to be happy if they wake up and try to take a shower only to find they have no water. If you are unsure where the water shutoff to your unit is located, call your condominium’s management company for assistance.
  2. Turn Off Water to Outside Spigots – Depending on your condominium, your condominium’s maintenance staff may take care of this. If you are unsure, contact your condominium’s management company for assistance.
  3. DO NOT TURN OFF YOUR HEAT! – This is a big one. While you do not need to heat your unit as if you are living there, you do need to keep the heat on. Usually, heating the unit to between 50-55 degrees Fahrenheit should be sufficient.
  4. Let Your Neighbors Know You Are Going Away – If you are going to be gone for several months, it is a good idea to let the neighbors in the adjoining units know that. Then if there is an issue, they will know that you are not there to take care of the issue. Also, give your neighbors your contact information so that they know how to reach you.
  5. Leave a Key – Leave a key to your unit with either your condominium’s management company, a member of the Board, or a neighbor you trust. If there is an issue in your unit when you are gone, then access to your unit can be gained without having to “break” in.

Many condominiums send out notices in the fall to all their co-owners explaining proper winterization procedures. DO NOT IGNORE THEM.

Water losses in attached condominiums can be very expensive and it is important that you do what you can to avoid them. If you live in condominium and have suffered a water loss or if your condominium association is dealing with water loss issues, the attorneys at Tilchin & Hall, P.C. are here to assist you. Give us a call at 248-349-6203 or send us a message below for more information.

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