Condo Owners Beware: Don’t Let Water Ruin Your Dream Home
Water intrusion is a top concern for the 70 million people living in New York City and across the U.S. who call condominiums and cooperatives home. Within that setting, the smallest water emergency can quickly escalate and spread to surrounding units, including yours. This is of particular concern if your condo or co-op is currently unoccupied. Before it’s too late, below are three things you can do to help prevent water intrusion from becoming your reality: 
  1. If possible, install a whole home flow-based water shut off device that connects to your main domestic water supply. These devices monitor water flow. When unusual flow is detected, they automatically shut off your water supply, so no further damage occurs. Consult with a licensed plumber or your building management supervisor to determine whether a whole home water shut off device can be installed within your individual condominium or cooperative.
  2. Install a water detection system utilizing water-sensing rope. Water-sensing rope is activated by moisture along its length. This cabling can be placed on the floor in areas with potential leak sources such as wall mounted HVAC systems (PTACs), around water-utilizing appliances, and even along terrace entries. Water-sensing rope offers a wide area of leak detection. 
  3. Individual point of leak sensors are a simple and cost-effective measure to quickly detect a water leak. These sensors will alert you via your smartphone, so action can be taken quickly before significant damage occurs. For quickest detection, sensors should be placed near refrigerators, dishwashers, washing machines, HVAC systems, toilets, sinks and anywhere a water leak might occur. Point of leak sensors provide only minimal detection and are vulnerable to being accidentally moved out of place, but they still provide a level of protection.
Water leaks in multi-story condo and co-op buildings can become a more widespread community issue of damaged property and disruption, especially for residents who live below the leak. In addition to taking the above measures, encourage your homeowner’s association to pursue a building-wide integrated water detection solution and to investigate leak sensors and flow-based technology.  These devices, once primarily used in commercial spaces, have evolved to address residential usage. 
Some states may offer premium discounts for water detection devices on your homeowner’s policy. Check with your agent or broker
To learn more about protecting your home from water damage, visit our water damage resource center.

Terese A. Shelledy is a Senior Risk Consultant and Water Intrusion Technical Specialist at Chubb.

The opinions and positions expressed are the authors’ own and not those of Chubb. The information and/ or data provided herein is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional advice. Insurance coverage is subject to the language of the policies as issued.