Important Notice to Sunrise Pointe Owners regarding Heating Systems Please Read
March 10, 2014
To: Sunrise Pointe HOA
From: Board of Directors
RE: Heating Systems – Notice of Further Special Meeting and System Disconnect Dates
This will follow-up on our minutes of the special meeting held on February 24 to announce two very important steps in our heating system replacement program:
First, there will be a further special meeting on March 18 at 7:00 p.m. in the Shelter Bay Club House. Our project manager, Skip Morgan of Southwest Construction Consultants, will make a presentation concerning potential systems and vendors. Skip will provide hand-outs and answer questions.
Second, the board has retained Sparky’s Electric of San Francisco to disconnect all of the existing radiant heating systems. In those units where owners have already installed new systems, the electrician will just check to make sure the old system is completely disconnected. Sparky’s will be on site for this purpose on April 1 through 3, 2014. The disconnect is carried out at each unit’s circuit breaker panel. The process will take 15 – 20 minutes in each unit.
Disconnecting the existing systems is mandatory based on the dangers outlined by energy consultant Rick Cowperthwaite at our last meeting. Accordingly, each unit owner must contact the Southwest Construction Consultants scheduling coordinator, Janis Smiley, upon receipt of this letter to arrange a convenient time on April 1 – 3 for the disconnect. You may reach Janis at (415) 250-0633, (707) 431-0200 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The sooner you contact Janis the more likely you are to obtain a time slot convenient to your schedule.
If you cannot make your unit available for the disconnect on April 1-3, we will schedule one final day for this process on a date later in April to be announced based upon what Janis hears from unit owners.
Thank you in advance for your cooperation in scheduling your unit for the heating system disconnect.
Potential life-safety matter requiring immediate attention
Notice of Special Meeting of owners
Sunrise Pointe Homeowners Association
February 24, 2014
7 p.m. – Shelter Bay Clubhouse
To: Sunrise Pointe Homeowners Association
From: Board of Directors
Subject: Heating System failure
January 29, 2014
Based on information obtained in the past week, we feel it is urgent to schedule a special meeting of owners to ensure that all owners are aware of this recently discovered life-safety issue concerning the heating systems in our homes.
Type of Heating System. As you may know, the original heating system installed by the developer at Sunrise Pointe is an electric radiant heating system in the ceilings. These systems have been failing in part or whole in many of our units. Some owners have disconnected the electric radiant panels and installed a variety of alternative heating systems.
Newly discovered hazardous condition. This month, one of the homeowners hired an electrician to examine his failing system to determine if it could be fixed. What the electrician found in examining the system in the attic space over the ceiling was that one of the heating elements was visibly shorting out with visible sparks, a small amount of smoke and charring at the edges of the panels. A second panel was found to have its connectors melted. Alarmed by this discovery, the homeowner had a heating consultant inspect the panels and he confirmed these findings. In view of the obvious fire hazard, both the electrician and the consultant advised immediate and complete shutdown of the system in this unit, which was done.
Although the heating system in this one unit has been failing in part for several years at least, it is not known how long the fire hazard activity has been occurring. In view of the fact that many of the units have failing systems and all are of the same age, it is quite possible that a similar fire hazard exists in other units as well.
Due to the design configurations of the various models, in some cases the panels are accessible in the attic area but in many locations the panels can only be accessed by removing the sheetrock in the ceiling. It is not possible for some owners to inspect all panels without the considerable cost of removing and replacing ceiling sheetrock. However, even if those observed were functioning perfectly, there is no guarantee that they wouldn’t become a hazard at a later time or that those not observed aren’t already a fire hazard. Therefore, serious fire hazards may exist in other units without our knowledge and without our ability to detect.
What we have learned from an expert. Included with this notice below is information gathered regarding the Canadian recall of a similar heating system and the opinion of the energy consultant regarding the need to immediately shut off all heating systems. He has also recommended that all owners assure that the systems in their homes are completely and permanently disabled so as to never be used and to eliminate this potential life-safety hazard.
Preliminary Research. Rick Cowperthwaite, was engaged by the owner whose electrician warned following the initial inspection that there was a hazardous condition. Mr. Cowperthwaite is a Building Science Consultant, with an emphasis in energy systems. The information he provided to the owner was shared with the Board of Directors and is being made available now to all owners.
He determined that the panels are labeled: “Thermofilm Model No. 16 R 25 RADIANT HEATING PANEL 25 WATTS/foot @ 240 VOLTS. The product was made in Canada and we believed installed in 1986. Mr. Cowperthwaite also informed the Board that the Canadian company that manufactured the product is no longer in business. However, he found heating panels that appear to be very similar to those installed in our homes, which were recalled in Canada circa 1992-1994.
Mr. Cowperthwaite contacted another company, Thermofilm Australia Pty Ltd. and inquired if they were the same company or if they had information regarding the product. The response from the Australian company was that they could not be of assistance, that Thermofilm Canada was another company and that Thermofilm Australia Pty Ltd is not associated with the Canadian business. They also informed Mr. Cowperthwaite that the Australian company had many queries relating to poor quality, workmanship etc. about the Canadian company’s product and it was their strong suggestion to remove the product and replace with a better product from a more reputable company. He added, “You have a high risk of significant asset damage if not removed and replaced.”
The systems must be disabled.
For that reason, we have no option but to strongly urge every homeowner still using the original ceiling radiant heating system to immediately turn all of their thermostats to “off” and to go to their electric panel and turn off the heating system circuit switches. The Board is exploring ways of permanently disabling all of the radiant units so that they cannot be turned back on. This will be discussed at the meeting on February 24, 2014.
Mr. Cowperthwaite will be present at the meeting on February 24, 2014 to discuss his findings.
Alternative Heating Systems. If you have not already done so, you may elect to find an alternative heating system for your unit at your expense. The CC&Rs define maintenance and replacement of heating systems as an owner’s rather than an Association responsibility. We will discuss at the meeting the possibility of the owners collaborating on purchasing new heating systems so as to receive a volume discount for those interested. However, the choice of replacement system will be up to each individual owner. We understand that this is not a trivial decision and that there will be many questions that arise. We hope to have information available at the meeting regarding some options pursued and/or being considered by other owners.
Obviously, this is a serious matter requiring immediate attention. As your Board of Directors, we are doing our best to gather information from competent professionals, share that information with all owners and we will take steps to work with owners to minimize the risk of fire from one unit to the next. We need your cooperation. Please plan to attend the special meeting on February 24, 2014.
Sunrise Pointe Board of Directors
The governing documents were approved. Thank you to everyone that responded, much appreciated. It’s been a long process, and we’re very appreciative of all of your support and participation. These newly revised documents will help carry us through the next several years, and helps to modernize our community in a responsible way. Thanks again for all your help.
Also – as a reminder, the gutter cleaning project is due to start on the 16th of this month (December). In an effort to insure your privacy, please close any window coverings, as the crews will be in and around the gutter areas.
Lastly, the next Board meeting is scheduled for January 15, 2014 @6:30pm in unit 6049. Hope to see you there!
Have a great holiday season, and a happy New Year!
Hello Residents, Fire extinguishers will be installed in each fire cabinet on the property. Please become familiar with their locations in case of an emergency.
Also, we’ve scheduled the gutter cleaning project to start on December 16, 2013. The vendor asks that you close your window coverings to insure privacy, as the vendors crew will be in and around those areas.
Mosquitoes are most active at dawn and dusk. Mosquitoes require water for the immature stages to develop. Any source of standing water, big or small, can produce mosquitoes. To reduce the number of mosquitoes it is important to eliminate any standing water. Turning over buckets and emptying standing water is important but there are other, less obvious places that mosquito larvae can develop. Please remember to check your decks and patios for items such as flower pots and saucers (especially if plants are being rooted) for standing water.