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Decorating and Remodeling

Do I Need Permission?

Many types of renovations require approval from the Board of Directors, even though these renovations are within your unit. This is because in a Condominium environment, work done in one unit can have an impact on neighbouring units or the Condominium as a whole.

 

  • Common elements, including windows, balconies, structural elements, demising walls between units, plumbing and other utilities that pass through your unit are not owned by you. If you wish to make renovations or additions that affect any such common elements, you must always first contact your Board of Directors for permission. The Board must be confident that such changes will not adversely affect other owners or the building.
  • Changes solely of a decorative nature, such as painting are allowed without requiring Board permission. The Condominium Declaration defines what constitutes decorative changes.
  • Any other changes inside your unit, including but not limited to any work involving the electrical, plumbing or HVAC systems within your unit requires Board permission.

 

If in doubt, consult the Property Manager before making any changes in case they may be deemed to be more than just decorative in nature. Getting written permission from the Board is typically a quick and easy matter, and protects you if any questions arise down the road.

 

When Painting

Unused paint is considered hazardous waste, and may not be disposed of using the waste facilities in the building. Try not to purchase more paint than needed. If you end up with more paint than you expected, painting an extra coat is a good way to use the extra paint, while maximizing the life of your paint job. Various local retailers will also take unused paint back for disposal.

 

Noise

When having any renovations done, please be mindful that noise can easily disturb your neighbors. For these reasons the Condominium Rules and City bylaws both restrict the hours at which such work can be done.

 

Heating and Cooling

The central air conditioning equipment is usually turned on from May 15 to October 15. The heating system is usually turned on from October 15th to May 15th. 

 

The HVAC systems in the units are common property (see Disclosure statement) of the Corporation.  The occupant/owner must inspect the filter periodically to determine if it needs replacement. Changing the filter every three months is recommended.

Troubleshooting Your System

 If you encounter problems with “No cooling” or “No heating” there are some steps you can perform that may help.  The first step is to check your thermostat to see if it is programmed for the feature you require.  Appended to this manual is a quick reference guide to programming your thermostat.   When you have confirmed that the thermostat is correct and working and you still do not have cooling or heating;  you can “Reboot” the system by turning the main breaker off  for (20) seconds or so.  The breaker should be marked “Heat Pump”.  If the system is still not working; call the Property Management.  

 

Here are some tips of getting the best use of this heating and cooling system:

 

  • Be sure that vents and heaters are not blocked. This will not only limit their effectiveness, but can be a fire hazard.
  • During the summer, close curtains and blinds when the sun is shining through your windows.
  • When the system is on, keep windows and doors closed.
  • When we have moderate weather during the spring and fall time, it is most effective to turn off your heating and cooling, and instead open windows for natural ventilation and fresh air.
  • For proper airflow, replace your filter every three months.
  • If you encounter problems with your heating and cooling system, please contact us. Our property manager can advise whether there is a problem with the central system.
 

Regular Maintenance

Just as would be the case with a single-family home, various finishes, appliances and equipment in your unit require regular maintenance.

 

Regional Factory Parts and Service was recommended to us for appliance maintenance.  Their number is 613-820-8606. 

Every Three Months

  • Clean the secondary lint trap located above your clothes dryer or more often depending on the frequency of dryer use. 
  • Replace the air filter on your heating and cooling equipment.

Every Year

  • Clean the filter on your stove hood vent.

Every Two to Three Years

  • Have the ducts and inside of your clothes dryer cleaned.
  • Have your bathroom ventilation fan(s) cleaned.
  • Have the hoses on your washing machine replaced.
  • Have the coils on the back of your refrigerator cleaned.

 

Every Three to Five Years

  • Have caulking around bathtubs, showers, and other wet areas replaced

 

 

Smoke Detectors

If your smoke detector emits a regular beep, this is a sign that the 9V battery needs replacing. It is illegal to permanently disconnect smoke detectors.  The warning buzz can usually be stopped through fanning away the invisible vapor that precedes the smoke.  If necessary, the detector can be turned off at the panel, but make sure to restore it after the smoke has cleared.  If you have a problem with your detector, please call the Property Manager.   

 

As the smoke detectors in the units are not interconnected with the central alarm system, there will be no automatic response from the Fire Department.  You are advised to call 911 and to notify the Property Management (emergency number at 613-762-5704) in the case of a fire or smoke in your unit.

 

Ventilation/Humidity Control

Always turn on the exhaust fan when using the dryer.  Unlike those in homes, the dryers at Somerset Gardens vent into a long duct which lead to the outside.  The fan is required to overcome the long stretches of duct.  

 

  • Clean the dryer filter after every use of the dryer
  • Clean out the lint trap in the ceiling above the dryer at least every three  months, depending on the frequency of usage.    

 

If you suspect a problem with the exhaust fan(s) please consult with the Property Manager. 

 

In addition to exhausting the humidity, it may be necessary to make sure that there is adequate air circulation across the windows; the vent flaps on the heater are adjustable and may require adjusting to increase the flow of air to the windows.  Drawn curtains reduce air circulation and can cause increased condensation.  Preferably, curtains should not be left closed when you are away.  

 

Somerset Gardens is pressurized in such a way that air circulates from the corridors into the units in order to minimize the spread of odours into the corridors and into other units.  This also makes for better performance of a unit’s exhaust fans.

 

Window Cleaning

All external window panes are cleaned, to the best of our ability, at least once a year by the Condo Corporation’s contractors. Some units on the back of the building have aspects that are inaccessible to clean with normal cleaning equipment.  In some cases the contractor will require access to some balconies through units in order to properly clean.