Updated 21 October 2017

Plumbing Ideas

This page provides comments from owner about their issues and what they did to improve the hot water in their Unit.


In most units the hot and cold lines run vertically from the cement slab on the bottom floor to the units upstiars. Hence an upstair unit can be affected by a downstair unit as they are connected.

The bathroom and the kitchen faucets have turn off valves under the sinks so these a simpler to replace. The shower when build did not have turn off vales. So to replace these valves requires that the water be turn off in the whole building. On the Lago-Cabana-Blackbeard side of the Harbour Vista HOA, turning off the water will affect two buildings or fourty of your neighbors. You might consider what a couple of owners have done with plumbing upgrades to have turn off vales installed for the showers/tubs with access through the wall on the other side. In most cases that is the washroom or walk in closet. There are the nice wall access covers for this purpose that once painted match the wall. About $20.00. But a plumber will have to cut the hole and do the copper work--and of couse the water will have to be turned off in the whole building. But any future work in the showers will not require that the water be turn off in the whole building.

Mixet Shower Valves

The Harbor Vista condos were build using Mixet shower valves as with the majority of homes in this area around that time The Mixet valves have issues as they age they will allow cold and hot water to pass over even when they are turned off. Older or maulfunctioning Mixet valves (frozen, leaking, have no stop when turned) should be replace if for no other reason that they may be affecting your neighbor. Mixet shower valves is no long being manufactured and cannot be used for remodeling or new installs as they do meet the current building code. Only Mixet valves replacement parts are available for existing installations. Home Depot and Lowels sells a Mixet replacement cartridge for about $20.00. Performing maintenance of an the existing Mixet valve cartridge in the shower will requires that water be turn off for the whole building unless your condo had an upgrade to your shower with turn off valves installed through and access panel in washroom or closet( 2-3 bdrm). New single level shower valve use something called "presure balance" which do not allow the hot and cold lines to mix. See Mixet Value Problem

Low Hot Water Presure

The recent heater work create problem with sediment release which has clod up some facets and shower valves. This created low pressure. Newer facets have protective screens where they connect to the water lines. Cleaning these screen has fixed several issues with low pressure. Tip a solution to clean the calcium of the screen or enve a showhaed is use CLR. See Video


The heaters in the unit use a separate line from the boilers. The heaters are simple low cost radiators. Unfortunately, they are prone to leaks. Lasting about two or three years till they leak again. The copper on these heater is very thin. Some owners have removed them and taken them to a radiator shop for repair. Most radiator shop will not repair them as the materials are too cheap. They opt to completely rebuild them out of thicker copper which would last a lot longer. The cost of building a new automobile grade radiator also seems to be most cost affective than installing the older type. At the same some owners have installed disconnect valves, so if they leak they can take them to a radiator shop for repair.

Install Individual Shutoff Valves

If you ever want to upgrade your shower valve, again the whole building will be shut off. Several owner have elected to have shutoff valves installed on the line to the shower and put in an access panel from either the Washroom and/or the Walk-in closet. When I had a new tub installed, my plumber insisted in putting them in to that he could quickly turn the water back on in my building for the other owners while he worked on installing a new tub. Sometimes the plumbers put in these valves, during remodeling, but after remodeling, there is no access panel. YOu might actually have valves behind your tub if there was expensive remodeling, but no way to access.

This is an example of a bottom unit, where shower/tub shutoff valves to the second bedroom have been installed accessed through the master bedrooms closet. Note: On this bottom unit, shutoff valves are place for the local lines to the shower/tub valve and do not affect the lines going to the units above. When complete, an access panel wbe installed behind a shelving project for this closet. Manhy new show/tub pressure balance vlves, have cartridges which need clean or replaced from time to time. Therefore this homeowner will not impose on his neighbors, the next time he needs some plumbing maintenance.







Here is an example where a plumber put in a recess plate for the ice maker line with a new shutoff valve. This is much nice than the original lines and much more rugged shutoff valve in this case.


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