Summer School: Best Practices

Summer School: Best Practices

Course: 9628122





Welcome to the first “Summer School” Issue of Florida Community Association Journal! Recognizing the fact that all CEU hours must be completed by the end of September, we are offering this special opportunity to both FCAP members and readers. The five articles in this section, along with additional online content, have each been approved for one hour of continuing education by the DBPR.

All of our readers are welcome to apply for one CEU hour at no cost and from the comfort of your office or home, and FCAP members have access to all five CEU hours. In order to appropriate the hours, read the articles and then go to and click on the appropriate course number to complete the process.


Preventive Maintenance Plan for Condominiums

By Jerry Stalnaker / Published July 2016

Editor’s note: Due to the amount of material, only part of the article is published here, so to read the entire article, please go to This information was provided by Jerry Stalnaker, who at the time was manager of Holiday Surf and Racquet Club in Destin. As a retired Air Force pilot, Stalnaker believes in organization, especially when it comes to maintaining systems. His training and attention to detail resulted in a checklist that he uses to ensure the efficiency of his own community. He credits his maintenance supervisor, retired Senior Master Sergeant Gus Sininger, for being very instrumental in the planning of this checklist. We think this tool will be helpful to all who are responsible for the maintenance of their communities. Stalnaker has graciously agreed to share his efforts and suggests you customize the list for your own community.

The enclosed maintenance plan is meant to serve as a guideline for maintaining condominiums of all sizes. It is as all-encompassing as possible but does not include every possible scenario as far as trouble shooting problems is concerned. Each situation should be handled according to the information you have at the time. All of the equipment listed will not be in every condominium, and some will have items that are not listed.

The primary factor that allows for a really dedicated maintenance plan is a dedicated Buildings and Grounds Committee that works closely with the manager and the board of directors. The manager and maintenance supervisor should write down a list of every possible system or item that requires any kind of maintenance. Put these items into categories, decide how often maintenance should be performed, how long that will take, and what tools should be used. Look at any specifications that go along with the maintenance such as pressures, temperatures, etc. Include in your plan where things are located. After you come up with a written plan, videotape your maintenance supervisor reviewing all aspects of the plan, and put the videotape away for training and/or for insurance purposes. Once you have reached this step, you can put together checklists and clipboards to register your inspections. You can also put up a master calendar that shows when all inspections are due.

Preventive Maintenance Plan

I. Cooling Tower
Check for leaks in water basin and make up water line. Check water level and open access panel on outboard side of cooling tower and verify proper operation on fill float valve. Check air inlet screens for debris. Verify that filter by-pass valves are in proper position and that there are no leaks in circulation pipes, joints, or valves. Locate valves, and mark them “water in” and “water out.” Know the location of your valves in case of emergency.

Check chemical feed
Clean separator drain as necessary
Check circulation pressure at 15 – 20 pounds
Check chemical feeder system for leaks and excess drain off
Man hours: ¼ hour for daily check—1 hour for separator
Tools/equipment: wrenches

Lubricate pump motor
Man hours: ¼ hour
Tools/equipment: grease gun   

Clean strainer and separator for pumps
Check gear reducer oil level
Check that all the assembly bolts and cap screws are tight
Check that all oil plugs and pipes are in place and free of leaks
Check that the vent on gear reducer is clear
Check mechanical equipment, anchor bolts, drive shaft coupling bolts, and coupling set screws
Flush and clean the basin, louvers, and drift eliminators
Relubricate gear reducer motor
Man hours: 16 hours
Tools/equipment: wrenches, socket set, grease gun, hose nozzle

Change gear reducer oil
Man hours: 2 hours
Tools/equipment: wrenches and oil

A. Air Conditioning Filters
There are filters in each A/C unit that filter the air before it is cooled and circulated throughout the unit. The filters must be changed monthly, except for the months of June, July, and August when they need to be changed every three weeks to ensure good air supply and to reduce the amount of electricity used. The size of the filters will depend on the size of the A/C units. Remember that you have filters in individual condominium rooms and in common areas such as party rooms or any other rooms that have air conditioning. Post a schedule of when filters should be changed.

B. Air Conditioning Drain Pans
Every A/C unit has a pan under the condenser/evaporator coil that drains water from the A/C through a PVC pipe to a pipe in the building’s main sewer line. Algae or dirt can build up from being wet all the time. Over a period of time, this can cause a molasses-type solution, which may clog the drain lines. The pans should be cleaned at least three times a year, in April, July, and November. Remove the scum and use bleach or chlorine tablets to break up residue. To get to the drain pans, remove the screws in the top of the A/C unit.

Check pans
Man hours: ¼ hour per unit if no problems
Tools/equipment: combo screwdriver, brush, towels


II. Heat Exchanger
(For condominiums with cooling tower to heat exchanger set-up)
Circulation pressure on operational pump should be in normal range (15 – 20 pounds). The cooling tower and heat exchanger work together. Know where your valves are located and make sure they are labeled. Keep a check on your pressure.

Check pressure
Man hours: ¼ hour if no problems
Tools/equipment: none

Clean and reseal sump
Inspect and clean heat exchanger
Man hours: 16 hours
Tools/equipment: wrench socket set, tube brushes

A. Boiler
(For condominiums with boilers, temperatures may vary)

Check boiler temperature—should be approximately 85 celsius in summer and winter. Line temperatures should be within a few degrees of boiler temperature. In summertime operation, if boiler temp exceeds 90 celsius, there is a problem in the heat exchanger or cooling tower. Find and correct immediately. Water temperature at 90 celsius or above increases system pressure, which will cause damage  in the circulation plumbing—warping pipes and causing leaks. Circulation pressure should be in normal range. Lower pressure by operating drain on boiler and closing valve when proper pressure is reached. A drop in pressure indicates leaks somewhere in the system. Find and correct. In winter, if boiler temperature is below 85 celsius boiler elements are not coming on. Check to see if boiler is on and that thermostat is at correct setting. Never exceed posted max temperature setting. There are large valves for switching from heating to cooling. Know where they are and have them labeled. No one except maintenance personnel should open or close any valves. Circulation pumps should be changed from one to the other every two weeks and lubed as required. The boiler has an automatic fill and should not be adjusted except by the maintenance personnel.

Check pressure and listen    for proper operation
Check temperature
Man hours: ¼ hour
Tools/equipment: none

Change pumps
Lube pumps
Man hours: ¼ hour
Tools/equipment: grease gun

Lubricate motors
Man hours: ¼ hour
Tools/equipment: grease gun

End of summer—switch valves to winter operation
End of winter—switch valves to summer operation
Service valves
Man hours: ½ hour
Tools/equipment: none

Clean strainers
Man hours: 2 hours
Tools/equipment: socket set, wrenches


III. Fire Systems

A. Fire Pumps

Check fire pump room for any leaks
Check gauges for proper pressure
Man hours: ¼ hour
Tools/equipment: none

Check all fire hose cabinets and make sure all fire hoses are wrapped properly
Check hose cabinets for leaks, condition of hose nozzles, condition of doors, and missing indicator stickers
Man hours: 2 hours
Tools/equipment: indicator stickers

Inspect and test fire pump—only a state approved company can conduct this test
Man hours: 2 hours
Tools/equipment: supplied by testing company

B. Smoke Alarms
There are smoke alarms installed in condominium units. Testing these smoke alarms must be done monthly (when changing A/C filters) to ensure the 9v-battery is good and that the alarm will work when needed. To test the alarm, push the button on the front of the alarm. When pressed and held for about ten seconds, it will activate the alarm and you will hear the signal. Some units have two alarms, one 120v direct current, which has a battery back-up, and one 9v battery alarm. Be sure to check both alarms. In the event the alarm does not give off a signal, repeat your steps. If it still does not work, replace the 9v-battery. If it still will not work, you will have to replace the entire smoke alarm unit.

For checklists for additional systems, see, Course 9628122.