Condo Media - July 2012 - (Page 24)

ASKED & ANSWERED Dryer Vent Cleaning Recommended vs. Required Q A QUESTION: The board of our condominium association has recommended that all our dryer vents be cleaned every three years at considerable expense? Do you agree? ANSWER: No. We don’t think the board should “recommend” that dryer vents be cleaned; we think that should be a requirement. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) annually estimates that 15,000 fires begin in clothes dryers, accounting for the largest share of appliance- and toolrelated fires, and the largest number of injuries related to them. The most common cause of dryer fires, according to the NFPA: failure to clean the vents. The risk of fire from the build-up of lint represents a threat to the entire community, which the association’s board has the authority and responsibility to address. The board should adopt a rule making vent cleaning mandatory in the community. Experts suggest that vents should be cleaned every three years at a minimum, but recommend more frequent cleaning, possibly annually, for smaller “stacked” dryers or for older equipment that lacks moisture sensors or high-temperature limit safety controls. Hot Water Heater Feed Water Alarm / Shut-Off ""&'%/&  *'% % &(' " &,&' & #%"'' ,"(% (&'" %& %" +'!&) *'%   ! ' )!' " *'% '% *'% '! "% *&! ! (% . )!  ',/% !"' "  *! '  "(%& - &, !&''"! . &'!% ## ''!& !" % *%! %$(% - ( !'%' % - ! !'% *' "  &(%', &,&' - &" ) "% *'% ! "!'%" !  &,&' & Washing Machine Alarm / Shut-Off Now Available: Wireless Sensors Ideal for leak detection on multiple floors or levels. Total Water Main Wireless Shut-Off How cleaning is arranged and who should pay for it are more complicated questions, depending on the equipment, where parts are located and what condominium documents say, if anything, about these responsibilities. If the documents are silent or unclear, the association can amend them to reflect the wishes of the super majority of owners who must approve any changes. There are several options: Make owners responsible for arranging and paying for maintenance, including vent cleaning; make maintenance and vent cleaning an association expense; or some combination of the two. Many communities opt for a hybrid approach: The association pays for external components that have to be repaired or replaced, but owners pay for cleaning and maintenance of internal components. While some communities leave it to owners to arrange for their own cleaning, many have found it to be convenient and cost-effective to coordinate that process, scheduling the cleaning for a designated day and either requiring all to participate or allowing owners to “opt out” and arrange their own service, if they choose. Participating owners get discounted pricing for the bulk cleaning; owners who opt out must hire vendors who meet specified standards (for liability and workmen’s compensation insurance, for example) and must provide evidence that they have complied with the cleaning requirement. Your board should determine the approach that works best for your community. How your community structures the periodic vent cleaning doesn’t really matter, as long as whatever process you establish ensures that it is done. CM 24 CONDO MEDIA • JULY 2012

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Condo Media - July 2012

Condo Media - July 2012
From the CED’s Desk
President’s Message
CAI News
CAI Regional News
Asked & Answered
Homeowner’s Corner
Financial Questions
CertaPro Painters How a Multinational Corporation Keeps it Local for Clients
Protecting Your Association’s Assets Oversight and Due Diligence
Community Association Data Released
Your Condo’s Future Planning for the Expected — and the Unexpected
Lost in Translation Statutes Allow Community Associations to Set their Own Reserve Requirements — or Not
CertaPro Painters How a Multinational Corporation Keeps it Local for Clients
Advertisers Index
Classified Service Directory

Condo Media - July 2012