New York's Cooperative and Condominium Community

Habitat Magazine Insider Guide



Leaks and Screams

It might be the cheapest, all-purpose money-saver you’ll ever find. Michael Wolfe, the president of Midboro Management, says it’s a device that will bring you peace of mind through “early detection of any water incidents that will save not only the shareholder’s apartment from damage, but also the neighbors.’ ”

Wolfe is talking about leak detectors. For an average price of about $80, you can purchase a small device that will alert you through your smartphone when there are signs of leaks, freezes, or excessive humidity in your apartment. The products – offered by Honeywell, Smarthome, ADT, and a number of other suppliers – often do more than detect leaks; some can alert you to low temperatures that can lead to frozen and/or breaking pipes.

When residents install air conditioners in their apartments, Wolfe notes, “typically the [air conditioner water-drip] pan is accessible but it’s something that they never look at. With central air conditioning, there’s usually a condensate pump, which is there to pull the condensate out so that it doesn’t flood. But if that pump fails, or that pan fills up, you’re going to have a flood.’’ At his own apartment, Wolfe has a leak detector in every air-conditioner drip pan. “If there’s a leak,” he says, “the detector screams.”

Wolfe has spoken to a few of his clients about this but offers a caveat. “Boards should inform residents about this, but the board should not be responsible for installing them,” he says. “There may be liability questions.” Still, the manager adds, “We want to give our clients a good idea, something we think they should do.”

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