The Blog

CONDO CONDENSATION : How to deal with condensation in your townhome

Question : Maria, I live in a Bare-land Condominium just west of the City and believe I may have an issue with condensation in my attic. Do you have any helpful tips that I can use to combat this concern?

It’s no secret that Calgary is experiencing extreme weather instability, some say, more so this year then we’ve had in the last two. Brrrrrr, is all I have to say! With the fluctuation between -25 in the weather and the sudden drop to -7 it’s no wonder that were seeing more calls about water dripping from the bathroom fans or signs of stained ceilings or water streaming from
windows are often indications of excessive water vapour in the air.

This is most likely caused by condensation inside the duct. In the winter, the warm moist air from the bathroom hits cool air in the attic or outside and it condenses, sending drips back down
the ductwork. This can also be seen during the summer time when the air is saturated with humidity; the excess amount of humidity will start to condensate (i.e., transforms itself back into water). This can create numerous problems inside your unit if not properly addressed. So, what to do, well, I spoke with Tyrone

Mellon, from Mellon Real Estate Inspections. Tyrone and his company come across this very issue all the time. Here’s what Tyrone has to say: “It’s important to increase the flow of air
inside your unit to supply fresh air, which is necessary to vent off water vapour. Here are a few helpful tips to help you address some of the basic concerns with condensation.”

“First and foremost-check the attic inside your unit and ensure you have an adequate and a properly installed ventilation system. This is essential to allow the moisture to escape from the property before it turns into condensation. Once a year it’s of value to peak into the attic to see what’s going on, simple checks with a flashlight looking to see that the Bathroom exhaust vent hoses are still attached to the underside of the roof sheathing.

It’s important to periodically open your windows to allow fresh air to enter your unit. Not only, is it healthy for you; it’s the most efficient way to solve your moisture problem.
Of course we DO NOT recommend leaving windows open during a cold snap or over night during the winter season, as it can cause an array of problems.

Tyrone says, is it important to ensure that you have proper insulation around the ventilation pipes and attic inside your unit “Depending on the year of construction, the attic will have different levels and types of insulation. Insulation will compress over time, with older properties 6 inches of insulation would be deemed a minimum level. Brand new homes today require R-50
levels for insulation in the attic space this would be equivalent to approximately 18 inches of loose fill fiberglass.”

Yes, this can be a pain when you have to remember to turn them on; but, very important to use them when you are taking a shower, bath or cooking. The use of fans helps remove moisture from the air. Run the fan for 15-20 minutes is sufficient after your shower, bathe or cook. A simple recommendation: install a timer switch for the bathroom fan versus a manual on/off
switch. The key is to remember to use them, I cannot stress how import it is to run the fan or keep the timer on for at least 15 minutes after you have finished using the bathroom, cooking or laundry to properly expel the humidity from these areas.

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Putting in place a Code of Ethics helps condo boards resolve disputes

Question : Dear Maria; How important is it for an elected Officer or Director to maintain confidentiality of Board decisions?
Answer : Very important is the correct answer. We need only look at the current political scandals in Canada and the U.S. to see how important it is to conform to a code of ethics.

Boards have an obligation to act honestly and in good faith and in the best interest of the condominium corporation. If the board chooses not to follow the standard of care, this can put the condominium corporation in a position of liability.

In addition, the board of directors must exercise care, diligence and skill that a prudent person would exercise in comparable circumstances. In other words, not putting the condominium corporation in harms way and always acting with prudence when making decisions.

Once elected, the condominium board of directors have specific and critical duties that they must adhere to. These duties are listed in the condominium corporation bylaws. It’s important for board members to understand and be familiar with the bylaws, since they will be held accountable to them and the owners.

It’s also recommended that boards implement a Code of Ethics that can be signed by all members of the board. A Code of Ethics will set clear and precise guidelines that members of the board can follow, and it will help set the framework of how to handle conflicts within their condominium community.

For example: if a director has a relative they want to hire to complete a certain project at the condominium or in the insistence where a director is in breach of a bylaw. The Code of Ethics can help determine the best course of action to address that particular situation.

It can be overwhelming and time consuming for a board to create a code of ethics. So let me help set you in the right direction. New Concept Management Inc. recommends some, if not all of the
following to be included in your code of ethics.

• Honesty and Good Faith
• Care, Diligence and Skill
• Conflict of Interest
• Confidentiality
• Good Conduct
• Education
• Abuse of Proxies
• Support
• Defamation
• Minimize Conflict
• Performance of Duties
• Scope of Authority
• Agreement
• Unsanctioned Board Meetings

When you as a board create your code of ethics, be sure to define in detail and set the parameters for each of the codes. This way, there is clear understanding behind the meaning of the rules. Also, don’t forget to sign and date your code of ethics.

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The maintenance of your condo is in your hands

Hi Maria; Can you tell me why condo fees are so important?

Answer : You’ve heard me say it before and it goes without saying. A condo is a living organism and the condo fee is its lifeline. If you’re living in a condo, this is as constant as giving birth and paying taxes, but it is completely necessary for the good of your condo.

Every condominium operates under the same basic financial principles. Owners pay condominium contributions (also referred to as “fees”) to the condominium corporation. These contributions are
calculated based on unit factor assigned to their unit.

Condominium contributions vary with large amenity-rich buildings usually having higher fees than smaller buildings with minimal to no amenities.

The condo fees are made up of all the costs associated with running the condo corporation. From water and sewer expenses, common electricity, insurance, payment to a management company, legal, landscaping and snow removal are just a few items that may be included in putting together a budget.

And let’s not forget, a portion of this fee is allocated towards the capital reserves to pay for major expenditures over the lifetime of the building. The great thing about being on a condominium board is they decide how owners’ contributions will be allocated each year. The board is required to provide owners with a yearly financial reporting, typically done at an annual general meeting, showing how their money was allocated in the previous year and how it proposes to use the upcoming year’s contributions. Condominium fees are not optional or negotiable and must be paid to the corporation on a monthly basis, normally on the first of the month. Owners who default in paying their condo fees can put their condo corporation in jeopardy, and
tend to place a burden on those owners who do pay.

Before making the decision to move into a condo, ask yourself, “can I afford to pay the monthly condo fees and any extra expenses that might occur.” Condominiums are not the same as
purchasing a single-family home. A side from paying condo fees, you also have a responsibility to follow bylaws that govern the condominium corporation. These are specific rules that must be followed. The moral of this story is simple: If you choose to live in a condo, be prepared. Know the facts and always plan for the unexpected. Don’t place the burden on other owners to pay your fees

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