Buying Property – Reducing Systems Risks


Buying a commercial, multi-use, or residential rental property comes with great risk for the potential buyer. Nowhere is that risk more prevalent than in the HVAC and plumbing systems in older buildings.

The Insurance Journal points out that “Older buildings generate more claims than younger properties, especially if they have not been well-maintained or if their building systems have not been updated.”

Being on the hook for thousands of dollars in HVAC repair bills as you start a career as a landlord or other type of building owner is not exactly a desirable occurrence for anyone. Fortunately, the experienced commercial building maintenance team at Ambient Edge is here to help you mitigate the risks.

Common Concerns with Older Buildings

If the building is over 30 years old, there are some systems-related areas you should be particularly interested in reviewing and inspecting:

==What is the condition of the plumbing and piping? Is it copper or galvanized? Or something else. Polybutylene pipes were installed in the 1970s to 1990s. It did not work well in buildings because the chemicals used in standard water treatment processing caused the pipes to become brittle. If you buy a building with polybutylene pipes and fittings, it will always need to be replaced to bring the building to code. This is particularly challenging because much of this piping is hidden behind walls.

==If the building has laundry facilities, check the washer hoses for cracking or breaks. These issues are often overlooked and ignored – until they break. Washing machine hoses and water tanks generally have about the same lifespan. They also cost the most when they experience a catastrophic failure. The Insurance Journal said that these breaks are the most costly; the average claim per incident averages over $6,000. The California Hotel and Lodging Association reported that hose failure increased from age five and up, with more than half occurring before eight years, and more than 80% breaking before the ten-year mark.

==Corrosion weakens water heaters dramatically as sediments gather inside the tank. This increases the risk that the tank will rupture, causing an immediate gush of anywhere from 40 to 80 gallons of water. If you don’t catch this quickly, the tank will continue to pump out cold water. The flood will continue until you shut it off. Slow leaks are just as damaging, mold, warping and structural damage, and mildew can occur. Sequoia Insurance reported that catastrophic failure of water tanks in commercial properties costs a half million per incident on average.

Building Maintenance Experts 

We’ve just scratched the surface for the types of problems a new building owner must be aware of – or risk a big case of buyer’s remorse. Ambient Edge has more than a decade’s experience in managing both commercial and multi-family residential HVAC and plumbing systems. Whether you need help with commercial HVAC, plumbing, or food service equipment inspection, we offer commercial maintenance services that include annual contracts chock-full of preventative services that will keep a watchful eye on your system to help reduce the likelihood of your building suffering from a catastrophic system failure.

Contact us today to learn more about our commercial preventive maintenance plans.

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