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Common Plumbing Problems In Strata Buildings

Plumbing problems can quickly turn into every property owner’s worst nightmare.

In strata properties, where multiple units share common plumbing systems, the stakes are even higher. A leak in one unit can quickly affect others. Strata plumbing systems comprise a complex network of pipes, pumps and fittings. This intricate setup makes installation, maintenance and repairs even more complicated.

Understanding Strata Plumbing Problems

In this guide, we’ll walk you through common strata plumbing problems and show you how to spot and prevent them like a pro.

  1. Blocked drains

    Items such as hair, food particles, grease and small objects accidentally flushed down toilets or washed down sinks can accumulate over time. Similarly, organic debris such as leaves and branches can build up and block stormwater drains.

    In a strata property, the party responsible for repairs depends on the location of the blockage:

    • Apartment owners are responsible for the upkeep of drains within their units, including those in kitchen sinks and bathtubs.
    • Blocked sewer, shower and floor drains are usually managed by the strata management company. These drains often run beneath the floor and serve the entire building, making it hard to identify the cause of the blockage. 

  2. Burst water pipes

  3. Burst water pipes can occur due to various factors, including:

    • Freezing temperatures — In cold climates, water inside pipes can freeze. This potentially blocks water flow and raises pressure inside the pipes, causing them to burst.
    • Corrosion — Over time, pipes made of galvanised iron or steel may weaken due to rust, corrosion or wear and tear, making them more prone to bursting.
    • High water pressure — Debris, sediment or mineral deposits may clog pipes, resulting in excessive water pressure. This can put stress on pipes, leading to bursts.

    Monitoring water pressure and quickly addressing any signs of pipe damage can stop costly and disruptive pipe bursts.

  4. Leaking fixtures

  5. Leaking faucets and dripping taps are bothersome and wasteful. They usually result from worn-out washers or damaged seals. Loose connections between pipes and fixtures may also cause water to escape.In some cases, simply fixing or replacing the seal can do the trick. But if the damage is extensive, replacing the entire shower valve may be necessary.

    Pay close attention to common signs of a water leak, such as dampness, discolouration or unusual odours. Taking prompt action can reduce repair costs and potential structural damage.

  6. Malfunctioning hot water systems

  7. Faulty hot water systems can disrupt daily routines and frustrate tenants. If the unit isn’t heating correctly or if you notice leaks or strange noises, it’s best to call a professional immediately.These issues can arise from sediment build-up, faulty thermostats, damaged components or worn-out heating elements. Professional plumbers have the tools and expertise to diagnose and resolve these problems.

  8. Balcony leaks

  9. Balconies are constantly exposed to the elements, making them prone to water seepage. Cracks in the balcony surface or gaps in the sealing around doors and windows can allow water to penetrate the structure. Regular inspections and maintenance of waterproofing membranes are essential to identify any defects.On top of that, inadequate drainage on balconies can result in water pooling, leading to leaks and damage. Balconies should be sloped properly to allow water to drain away from the building. Similarly, gutters and downspouts should be clear of debris to function effectively.

Tips for preventing strata plumbing problems

By following these best practices, you can minimise disruptions for residents and save on costly headaches.

  • Conduct periodic inspections — Plumbing damage may remain undetected for too long until dampness or mould emerges. Scheduling routine inspections can help you detect issues early and prevent major expenses down the line.
  • Monitor water usage — Keep track of water usage in common areas and individual units to identify any abnormal consumption patterns that may indicate leaks or other plumbing concerns.
  • Prepare for winter — Protect your strata plumbing system from freezing temperatures by insulating pipes in common areas and outdoor faucets and encouraging residents to do the same for their units. Be sure to drain plumbing equipment and condensation units before winter and safeguard them with an anti-freeze product.
  • Education and awareness — Educate residents about proper plumbing practices, such as disposing of waste properly and being mindful of what is being poured down drains. Advise them to report signs of plumbing issues promptly.

Tackle plumbing challenges head-on with MPJ Plumbing

Neglecting strata plumbing issues can cause serious water damage and mould growth, compromising property integrity and residents’ health.

At MPJ Plumbing, we offer 24/7 general and emergency plumbing and strata management services in NSW. Whether you need help clearing clogged shower drains or troubleshooting a hot water system, we’ve got you covered.

Contact us today for fast and reliable strata management services in NSW.