Unit Owner Questions Condo Board’s Mandated Water Heater Replacement

G.M. from outside of Connecticut writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

The Condo Association Board wants to mandate having the Hot Water Heaters updated every 10 years. Is this common practice? We are a small Owners Association, 10 Buildings with 4 condos in a building. Each building has a basement, and each condo has its own Hot Water Heater in the common basement room, along with the 4 individual Hot Air GAS Furnace. Some hot water heaters have already been replaced, as the condos are 14 years old. Your comments please.

Mister Condo replies:

G.M., in my experience, it is quite common for associations to have maintenance standards in place for any appliances, water hoses, etc. which requires unit owners to replace these appliances within “X” amount of years, where “X” is the number of years of the manufacturer’s usable life expectancy of the product or when the association’s insurer will no longer cover any damage caused by the appliance after it exceeds its usable life. For instance, if you had a twenty-year-old hot water heater that failed and flooded your neighbor’s unit, the association would not be able to process a claim because the appliance that failed had not been replaced within the 10 years as required by your association’s maintenance standard. In other words, by not enforcing maintenance standards, the association puts itself at risk of denied insurance claims. That could be far more expensive than the cost of updating appliances, not to mention the reduced potential for damage to all units because of such a program. Hope that explanation helps. All the best!

2 thoughts on “Unit Owner Questions Condo Board’s Mandated Water Heater Replacement

  1. I Agee there should be standards! Our 3 story townhome apartment complex has water heater in each unit. A bunch of the water heaters and the owners started replacing them at 7 years. Cheap builder hot water tanks. I checked mine and sure enough corrosion at the pipe joint to the tank with a small leak starting and I replaced mine. All but 2 owners replaced theirs as no rules in the condo bylaws. The remaining owners tanks leaked and caused extensive water damage to their units and the next two floors below them. Our condo building insurance deductible doubled for 5 years to $50,000 because two claims in one term. Now all the units were replaced and per the existing Bylaw owners were responsible for replacing their tanks and the bylaws were also changed that the owner must be change their hot water tank at a minimum of every 10 years!

    My tank cost $350 as I had someone bring and install it on a Sunday as I was concerned. Heck of a lot cheaper then a condo unit owners insurance deductible. Because two owners refused to replace the original ones our condo Corp now had to pay that extreme deductible for any water damage. Pipe burst in wall, etc. So in effect all of us were penalized due to the two owners reluctance. My new tank was more energy efficient, saved money, larger capacity, heated better and no dealing with my insurance, two units below and the condo Corp insurance. Win, win! You replace your tank every ten years. If you can pick it up yourself not expensive for your plumber to install!

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