Robert Lamoureux has 40 years of experience as a general contractor, with separate licenses in electrical and plumbing contracting. He owns IMS Construction Inc. in Valencia. His opinions are his own, not necessarily those of The Signal. Opinions expressed in this column are not meant to replace the recommendations of a qualified contractor after that contractor has made a thorough visual inspection. Email questions to Robert at [email protected]

Robert Lamoureux: Air conditioning woes and water damage

Question No. 1

Hi Robert,
I live in an upper condo unit and replaced the air conditioning two years ago, including the check of condensation drain to be clear.
Who shares liability regarding water damage to lower condo unit due to conjoined clogged A/C condensation drain — the HOA, upper-unit owner or lower-unit owner?
Water condensation from upper unit accumulated in area below lower-unit air handler, causing damage to the lower unit.
The lower-unit owner stated they never serviced condensation drain. The upper-unit owner’s A/C was completely replaced two years earlier, and the upper condensation drainage was checked and OK.
Thank you for your comments,
Ed

Answer No. 1

Ed,
Thank you for being a loyal reader of The Signal.
I’m not an attorney and don’t know the rules and conditions of your homeowners association.
I’ll speak in general terms here. Typically, a shared line is the HOA’S responsibility, and not the owners’, as the line is in the walls and cannot be serviced completely by either unit.
There is no way to tell which unit caused the obstruction and subsequent damage from the clogged line.
Have you spoken to the management company and or read your covenants, conditions and restrictions?
I would start there and see what information you can gather.
I hope this helps. Feel free to write back.
Best of luck on this one,
Robert  

Question No. 2

I own commercial property in the Lancaster and Palmdale areas and rent to government agencies.
Recently, we had a significant amount of water come up through the floor, so we pulled the rubberized carpeting and discovered a lot of water coming through the slab.
We called out a leak-detection company but, unfortunately, even with a team, they could not figure out the source of this water. They are perplexed and not sure where to guide us to.
Any thoughts from you with your experience, on how to move forward and figure this out?

Larry G. 

Answer No. 2

Larry,
Not knowing where inside this wet area is, I’ll direct you to start a dig outside in the area nearest the water.
You’ll want to dig a few test holes — this will tell you if it is static pressure because the water will take the path of least resistance. With you digging and opening up any pressure, water will rise in one or more of these holes.
While digging, be sure that if there are any planters with irrigation nearby, that these irrigation lines are tested because if they are leaking, this could be a leak source. Turn them off for the time being, and use a moisture meter over time to track the moisture levels and see if they subside.
This will at least be a beginning, and you can reach out for further direction if necessary.
Good luck,

Robert

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