Managing a Community Association is often similar to the effort of herding cats. Every unit owner is different with a unique set of priorities and values. They have different lifestyles, needs, hobbies, and expectations about what the HOA should take care of. One of the most complex issues managing an HOA property is the question of plumbing and drains. Unit owners don’t actually own the pipes between the walls. They do have a profound effect on how their lifestyle choices affect the plumbing of their neighbors. The issue of drains is especially touchy because if one person clogs the line, everyone deals with the trouble. Most cases, they usually blame the HOA or Community Association Management first.
So, what can you do to improve the quality of your drains and encourage resident owners to take better care of their part in the shared drainage system? The same way an HOA deals with everything: policies. If you’re not sure where to start, we have five helpful plumbing tips to try first.
1) Remove Garbage Disposals or Limit Use
Garbage disposals are a luxury, not a necessity. Unfortunately, people get used to the ability to get food quickly out of their homes without worrying about smelly garbage and they often stop thinking about just how much food may be sent down the disposal line. This can cause major clogs and slow down everyone else’s plumbing. Remove any garbage disposals you can and talk to owners who have one about courteous use. Garbage disposals are meant to handle small amounts of organic material as might wash off a dinner plate. Do not to dump an entire container of leftovers that went off in the fridge.
2) Provide Drain Screens for Showers and Sinks
The one thing that we all know can cause terrible drain clogs both locally and for the entire building is the hair from the shower or sink. Long hairs especially will catch on anything in the drain system and begin to form a blocking hairball. If you don’t want to constantly pour harsh chemicals down the drain to break these up, stop the issue at the source by providing every unit owner with one or two drain screens. These are little sieves that sit over a drain and catch everything from hair in the shower to food bits in the kitchen sink, which can then be easily lifted and dumped safely into a trash can.
3) Discourage Pouring Out Kitchen Grease
Grease seems like such a harmless thing to pour down a drain until you consider that the moment it hits something else clogging, it can form a water-tight seal. A ball of greasy drain hair is much worse than non-greasy because grease increases the amount of water blocked by a solid clog. Discourage your unit owners from dumping any grease down the drain and especially not in large quantities.
4) Clarify What the Drains Can Handle
Every building is unique, and many were built several decades ago meaning that the pipes and drain system may not be the most modern. As the HOA, it’s your job to know what the pipes can handle and inform the rest of the unit-owners. Send out emails, cover it in meetings, and don’t be shy about discussing specifics. Talk about how much of what a garbage disposal can handle, the right kind of paper for your toilet lines, and what kind of at-home drain cleaning solutions are advisable.
5) Regular Cleaning or Replacement
Finally, when you’ve got a dozen or more people living in the same building sharing drains, even well-built ones, there will eventually be a clog that slows everyone’s drains. To keep your drains healthy, make sure to get them cleaned regularly and professionally cleaned at least twice a year. Of course, if it seems like your drains are always acting up, especially if you live in an old building, consider planning next year’s budget for an entirely new system that will use modern techniques to make a much more reliable drain system. New Pipes Inc. offers the industry’s best pricing for hydro-jetting and video inspections services.
Is your Community Association struggling to manage the shared drain problems in the building? New Pipes Inc. is here to help. For more information about drain care for Community Associations or for 24-hour emergency services, contact us today!