For as long as I have been with the Corporation, Management as been trying to tackle solutions for the feedback regarding water temperature and pressure fluctuations, as received from Owner/Residents.
This is a common issue across the condo industry, as it has to do with the supply and demand required when distributing water to many units. The general feedback that we've received is in regards to the temperature of the hot water, and other related water-performance issues during residents' peak usage times (often between 8:30-9:30am and 8:00 - 10:30pm).
As more people use hot water, for example, there is less hot water in the boiler tanks, which results in the temperature of the water getting cooler until less people use it and the tank is able to heat up water accordingly. It's the exact same concept of living in a house and having a personal water heating tank - just on a much bigger scale!
Management, with the assistance of our Superintendents (Douglas & Jason), has been keeping track of the reported issues over that last few years.
Thankfully, tracking and viewing historical date has been especially easy lately, thanks to the sophistication of the recently-installed Building Automation System, or BAS). By using the BAS system, as well as the manual data and reports that our Superintendents compiled before the BAS was installed, we found that the majority of the complaints are between the 17th to 26th floors.
These floors are all served from one common boiler, and is known as “Zone 3” according to our water distribution maps. The majority of the complaints received by zone 3 are: no hot water, water is too hot, and/or water temperatures not consistent (fluctuating).
Management has worked with numerous plumbing companies to determine why we are experiencing these issues, and they have come to the conclusion that it is the mixing valves are not functioning correctly. When Management began working with Intact Mechanical & Plumbing in late 2017, Intact M&P recommended that the Corporation look into a new system called “Flowmix” as a possible solution to these issues, and a more cost-efficient long-term fix compared to the continued and expensive repairs to the existing (and many) mixing valves.
For those who do not know, the water is supplied to the building by 4 boilers, which are divided into “zones”, as follows: Zone 1 - provides water to the P4 - 6th floors, Zone 2 - provides water to the 7th - 16th floors, and Zone 3 - provides water to the 17th - 26th floorsZone 4 - provides water to the 27th - 36th floors.
What is a mixing valve and what is the purpose of the valve?
A “mixing valve allows you to set your water heater to a higher temperature to reduce the threat of bacteria growth, yet the mixing action helps prevent scalding. Plus, you’ll increase your available hot water supply by mixing hot water with cold.” (forwardthinking.honeywellhome.com).
What is a Flowmix System?
A “Flowmix Engineered Hot Water Control System is a hot water monitoring mixing station designed specifically to be the primary domestic hot water temperature controller in a continuously pumped circulating hot water system” (www.flowmix.ca).
For more information please visit their website: www.flowmix.ca.
The Board of Directors has met several times with Feras Marish from Hi-Rise Water Engineering to discuss the system and its benefits. The Board has approved the installation of one Flowmix in Zone 3, as this is the most problematic zone, and will consider using the system in the remaining zones depending on the feedback received from Zone 3 Residents after 3 months' use of the system has passed.
We have scheduled the installation of the system to Zone 3 to be completed on March 5, 2019, by Intact Mechanical & Plumbing. To complete the installation, we will require a full building water shutdown. The water shut-down has been scheduled at night, between the hours of 11:00 pm on March 5th 11:00 pm to 9:00 am on March 6th. We have arranged the shut-down during this time as the Corporation has had numerous shutdowns in the past months due to unexpected floods and emergency repairs, and we wanted further shut-downs to minimize negatively impacting Residents during their day and evening hours.
The Board will be sending surveys to all suites between the 17th and 26thn floors (Zone 3), 3 months following the Corporation's use of the FlowMix system, to review the feedback from Residents/Owners. The information received from the surveys will help the Board consider whether we should install Flowmix in the remaining zones.
We hope the above was informative, and look forward to seeing how the Flowmix will help address the issues reported by Residents in Zone 3 so that we can explore a full-building implementation. Should you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to email Edward Chin, the Corporation’s Administrator, at Admin@EmeraldCityOne.com.
Condominium Property Manager