With WATER being the largest single item in the annual budget of Barclay Park Condo Association – as well as the precious resource that it is — all residents are urged to conserve water at every opportunity AND to repair immediately any leak or faulty fixture. Association investments have been made in sensors to detect rain water (and shut off sprinklers when water is not needed). A well provides the water for the front fountains here at BP – and may be connected to meet some sprinkler needs. Water-saving suggestions are welcome at any time. Besides local supply houses, the non-profit energy efficiency materials company www.EFI.org is an on-line source for conservation products.
Here are TIPS on water conservation for Barclay residents. Thanks for considering them!
- select water and energy-efficient appliances and toilets
- fix leaky faucets and running toilets as if they were “emergency repairs”
- install aerators on taps and showers
- keep a pitcher of water in the fridge rather than run tap water to get it cold
- run full loads of wash (and dishes)
- pre-soak dishes instead of scrubbing under running water
- try limiting showers to 5-minutes (some say this saves 1000 gallons/month)
FURNACE CARE IS YEAR ROUND WITH A/C
When in use, furnaces and humidifiers need to have their filters checked year-round and replaced or cleaned at least every 4 to 6-months. A pre-winter furnace inspection typically cleans (vacuums) the area and checks for cracks in the heat exchanger. To avoid leaks from the humidifier’s water filter, be certain that it is installed correctly. (The rubber tube must be in the correct hole; the bottom of the filter has to be snug in its hole, and the plastic pipe from the humidifier must be set properly into the floor drain.) Your liability for any damages to neighboring units (and your own) underscores the importance of this. Furnaces are controlled both by a blower switch and the thermostat. Outdoors, check your air conditioning condenser unit periodically to keep it clear of debris, i.e., to “breathe” as it exchanges heat extracted from inside. This prevents refrigerant lines from freezing, bursting and leaking inside the home, also a potential liability. Besides BP’s own contractors (734-216-7335), one of the local companies acquainted with Barclay is Neff Mechanical (734-320-5528).
Because water pipes are pressurized to supply a continuous flow, one must stop the water flow “upstream” of any pipe break or mechanical failure (to stop a leak). Learn where the water SHUT-OFFS are in your condominium and how to operate them: (A) whole house = an inlet (supply) line (coming through the drywall) behind your water heater; turn this “ball valve” 90º to cut off flow of new water into the pipelines of your condo; (B) fixture shut-offs = each supply line normally has a similar twist-to-close shut-off valve (“ball valve” type being more reliable and trustworthy than “gate valve” type); (C) whole building = large shut-off valve in ONE unit of each building. Caveats: (1) at all times of freezing temperatures, keep the furnace on and interior heat near 60ºF in all spaces of your condo; (2) maintain homeowner’s liability insurance coverage for you’re your property and repairs of any damage to others that your fixtures might cause.
FIRE SUPPRESSION SPRINKLERS
If you notice a leak from a fire suppression sprinkler in your condo or garage (all of which are pressurized via supply controlled in only the solitary Riser Room* of your building), report the leak immediately to BP maintenance (734-216-7335). The installation company for the system, A2 Fire Protection Service 734-761-8088 is also a resource (with Riser Room access normally required). Each year, a visual inspection of the sprinkler heads in 25% of the units at Barclay Park is required – along with a physical test of the water control valves in each building’s “riser room” (* the closet in ONE unit of each building where supply lines for the building feed into the building from the parking lot, i.e., where Shut Off controls are located.) When your condo is inspected, it’s purpose is (1) to make sure that all sprinkler heads are not obstructed, i.e., look for tape, paint, clips, hangers, or anything that could block the spray area of the sprinkler head; and (2) to make sure that the sprinkler heads and surrounding drywall show no sign of leakage (either of water (clear) or antifreeze, dark). If problem-free, each unit’s visual inspection only requires 5-10 minutes. Those units containing the water control “riser room” take longer, perhaps 20-30 minutes, if no problems are found. During the inspections, audible alarms are sounded as flow alarm tests are made.
NOISE FROM NEIGHBORS
Shared walls allow some noises to be audible to your neighbor(s) and vice versa. Disturbances can be unintentional and often result simply from different daily routines. If noise is a concern, please act as a good neighbor and WRITE an explanatory letter of concern, copying your letter to management for its files. Management may be able to refer a contractor or to suggest floor treatments or pads for movable chairs and tables. Condo documents restrict wood and ceramic in upper unit flooring (and, if approved pursuant to special application, require special insulation under same). To buffer and reduce noise, wall cavities (and even sub-floors) can be filled with a foam spray (insulation). Walls themselves can be “furred out” and another layer of insulation and drywall added, again pursuant to Alteration Form submission and approval. For automatic garage door openers, plastic rather than metal wheels can be used and quiet motors can be purchased. When replacing carpet in upstairs units, try and ADD a HEAVY rebond pad under the carpet to minimize noise transfer to rooms underneath.
WINDOW GLASS & SASH
Impressive for their views, window openings are a key responsibility for co-owners whether the task be washing, covering, repairing glass or replacing. Locally, Diamond Glass (repair) is commonly used 769-2722. East of the airport, Leigh’s Glass is a competitor 734-287-3533 that makes house calls. Replacements, if needed, bring upgrading into consideration. Triple-glazing is now offered by some local manufacturers, as well as magnetically-operated blinds between thermo panes of glass (e.g., royaltechwindows.com 313-295-4100). When plans are made, let’s your fingers do the walking – and be sure to emphasize insulation and secure membrane flashings in any replacement work. A consult with BP’s maintenance company may also be worthwhile (734-216-7335).
BIRDS, CRITTERS & INSECTS
Despite the ample wetlands and park lands around Barclay (and their protection as these features are kept natural), our housing structures have attractive roosting and nesting spots for birds, bees and occasional critters. Porch overhangs and vents seem to attract birds. The underside of wood railings, as well as roof overhangs and eaves troughs, seem to keep bees-a-buzzing. Critters will slip into garages and through spaces between foundations and floor plates. For on-site service, put in a work request by e-mail or at the on-site office (734-216-7335). For eradication treatment (e.g., interior spraying of ants), the Association maintains a monthly service contract #14422331 with “Eradico” 734-722-8850. Under the contract, any co-owner can call and place a service request at any time.
PORCH & DECK DUTIES
Cleaning of all porches and decks plus the periodic re-sealing (cleaning and painting with sealer) these limited common elements are a co-owner responsibility. The materials recommended for use are . . .
And, the recommended interval for cleaning and re-sealing deck-porch wood is every 3-years, about twice as often as each building’s trim and exposed wood is re-stained (painted). If the deck or porch of a co-owner has NOT been re-sealed and painted within that time frame (or falls into poor maintenance condition, as determined by management) – the Association performs the deck clean and seal at the time of the scheduled work on your building and invoices for cost of the service to you. Colors are to remain the same and are indicated on www.barclaypark.org. Local painters with experience at BP include ATP (Jerome Franklin) 734-216-2826 and MBG Services (Mike Grasley ) 734-635-3692.
FRONT DOOR PAINTING
If not painted by personal action of the co-owner (possibly more frequently than by Association action), the front entry door to each condo and the garage door will be painted on the same 5 to 6 year schedule used for re-painting of the wood trim on the buildings. Front door painting requires that the door be left ajar for edges to dry – and will be paid for by the Association ONLY if the painting is done in conjunction with the painting of the building. This requires an appointment with the painter (or arrangements for access). Outside of normal painting times for the Association’s contract, each co-owner or resident would be required to cover the expense personally. Front door colors must conform to the original doors shades, as cited and referenced on the Association’s website.
INTERIOR REPAIR & MAINTENANCE
Unit elements and fixtures are many and varied, with virtually all being homeowner items of responsibility (the Association’s responsibilities being focused on exterior items). As a proprietary service company closely familiar with virtually all aspects of BarclayPark, “ATDBuilding” is available on a direct hire basis for interior work – as are any number of other handy-person repair businesses in the Ann Arbor area. Management recommends speaking with at least two companies when major repairs or interior changes are contemplated – and reminds co-owners that an Alterations Request Form (available on the website) is required in event of changes to layout or design of the condominium www.barclaypark.org tab FORMS.
MORE on GARAGE DOORS & OPENERS
The garage door is often the most frequently used door in BP condos. This makes preventive care VERY advisable and worthwhile. If the springs or cables break, the Association replaces them as part of the monthly fee. The OPENER and the door itself, however, are co-owner responsibilities, as has been the routine oiling of the opener track & rollers (which lengthens component life and makes for quieter operation). Regular garage door spray – e.g., a dry lubricant or even WD40 is typically used. The bolts mounting the tracks to the inside wall of your garage (or those mounting the panels of the door together) can be checked for tightness annually, as daily operation loosens these mounting bolts.