What’s that noise? What you should know about plumbing problems

When something’s not right with your water pipes…

If you’re hearing plumbing noises in the walls or are experiencing issues with your plumbing, it’s good to know when the issue at hand is your responsibility or that of the condo board. 

What do the noises mean?

As a condo owner, it’s likely you view your investment as a sanctuary, whether it’s for yourself or the tenant you’re renting to. When you notice an unusual sound with your plumbing, it can understandably be cause for concern. Noisy water pipes in your condo can occur for several reasons. The most common reasons that sound can be heard include a water hammer noise, the type of material used for pipes, or the result of water pressure that’s too high. 

What noises should I be concerned with? When should I tell my board?

Depending on where the plumbing issue occurs in the plumbing system, the responsibility for fixing the problem will either lie with the unit owner or the condo board (or property manager). Pipes, wires, ducts, and cables that are contained in common areas of the building are within the condo board’s responsibility to assess and resolve. When in doubt, contact your condo board, which will better assist you depending on the noise you hear. 

What are my responsibilities as a condo owner?

Unit owners are most often responsible for plumbing repairs and maintenance. As a condo owner, there are actions that you can take to ensure you minimize the need for professional help, whether it’s your responsibility or the condo boards. You can prevent some plumbing issues by simply: 

    • Preventing burst water pipes. This means ensuring that the risk of frozen water pipes is low – avoid leaving your windows open for an extended period of time in the winter to prevent freezing. As long as you take adequate precautions, any freezing that occurs outside of your control is the responsibility of the condo board or property manager. 
    • Keep an eye on your hot water tank. If your condo has a hot water tank, get proactive about checking your hot water heater for any leaks or rusty spots. Fix leaks as soon as possible. As a condo owner, it always pays to be proactive and consistently maintains your condo. Check your water appliances regularly to spot any leaks and, if you do spot a leak, call a professional plumber in case there’s a more serious problem within the building’s plumbing system.
    • Annual plumbing inspections are always a good idea so you are aware of upcoming repairs that may need to be done, as well as the peace of mind that comes along with doing your due diligence in caring for your property. 


For more information about where responsibilities lie for condo boards and condo owners, check out our blog on condo repairs and maintenance: Who is Responsible for Condominium Repairs & Maintenance? 

What do I do in an emergency?

A typical plumbing emergency is often flooding, dirty water, and clogged drains (which can often lead to flooding). In the case when you are in the middle of a plumbing emergency, here’s what you need to do: 

  1. Notify your property manager or the building’s condo board so they can identify the water source as quickly as possible and work to resolve the problem immediately.
  2. Got home insurance? Good. After contacting your property manager and/or plumber, notify your insurance company to report any damage to your condo unit.

Addressing Condo Issues

With a little more knowledge of where the responsibility lies with the various plumbing issues and noises you can experience as a condo owner, you can confidently act quickly when you hear a strange water hammer or rushing noise in your water pipes. Have questions, feel free to contact us!