All you wanted to know about Home Automation for Apartments

This a guest post from Mr. Hariharan of Zee Sense Systems – provider of Home Automation Products.

What is Smart Home or Home Automation?

We live in a world that is increasingly DIGITAL, SMART and CONNECTED. The combination of sensors and the internet is accelerating this transformation, making everything smarter – our homes, offices, home care, energy conservation, industrial automation, logistics, security and other areas. A Smart Home is an inherent part of this transformation that provides its home owners security, safety, comfort, energy efficiency and convenience at all times.

Home Automation (HA) Market

Home Automation is not new – it has been around for many years in the developed countries and is now driven by proven, mature standards, products and solutions. Home automation goes way beyond video door phones and gas leak detectors. In India, awareness of Home Automation is just picking up and price points have dropped to a level where we are seeing the market moving from the exclusive VHNI bungalows into the mainstream apartment and villa segments. Projects with bundled Home Automation are being announced – i.e., the per sft price includes Home Automation features that come as part of the apartment or villa. Demand is also bolstered by customers motivated to buy Home Automation by changing lifestyles, nuclear families, exposure to western lifestyles, increasing concerns about safety and security etc.

Benefits of Home Automation – Sample scenarios

I am sure you are itching to ask: All this is fine, but what does Home Automation do for me? Is it of practical use or is just a showpiece toy? While there is some ‘status’ and ‘show’ value attached to Home Automation as a bonus, it definitely has several practical benefits – sample scenarios below:

  • Someone attempts to break into your house through a door or a window – immediate detection, loud alarm and SMS alerts can protect your home.
  • Someone is on the terrace or balcony, checking out your home for intrusion. His presence is detected and alarm + email/SMS alerts are raised even before he touches the door, preventing potential intrusion and loss.
  • The above alerts are also raised at the security office of your apartment complex, you’re your apartment details, prompting immediate investigation by trained security staff.
  • Gas leak, smoke or fire detection enables timely corrective action to prevent damage to your property and save your loved ones.
  • Your aged parent has some problem; he/she can just press a button on a small device on her wrist or neck to raise the SMS alert for you, and to your neighbor, security staff, doctor etc.
  • You start playing a movie on your home theater – immediately the curtains draw and lights dim to create the ideal ambience for you to enjoy the movie.
  • Someone rings the door bell –you are alerted wherever you are, you can see who is at the door and even open the door for him from your office or anywhere.
  • It is 6:30am in the morning – the Home Automation system automatically plays suprabhatam, draws the curtains in your bedroom to wake you up in a soothing manner; and also switches on the water heater for your shower.
  • You open the toilet door and the lights come on automatically; and, they switch off after you leave! Convenience and power savings combined.
  • You can switch on the AC in your bedroom before you leave office or as you approach your home, so that the room is cooled before you reach home.
  • Many, Many more scenarios are possible.

So, you are getting interested, but some doubts linger – Let me address them:

Q: I like it, but can I afford it?
A: Home Automation packages start as low as Rs 18,000/=

Q: Is it too difficult to use?

A: You get a variety of interfaces to chose from – Touchscreens, Remote controls, Keypads, Laptops, wireless switches – you chose the interface that you like best. Older people can even have physical switches while younger people use their smartphones.

Q: What if the Home Automation system breaks down? Will I lose my lights and be in darkness
A: With the right Home Automation system, basic functionality such as lighting control and security will work even in the remote occurrence of the controller breaking down.

Q: I have already moved into my apartment. Can I install the Home Automation system in it without chipping walls or having ugly cables all over?

A: Yes, you can definitely retrofit without chipping walls; provided you chose a wireless Home Automation system.

Q: Can I start small (maybe with security) and grow incrementally as I get more comfortable or as I can spend more later?
A: Yes, you can; provided you chose a wireless Home Automation system.

Q: What if my needs change? Can the Home Automation system easily address my future needs?
A: The mood setting and other scenes are configured in the controller and can be changed easily to adapt to your changing needs. Lighting control can be changed easily without any cabling changes if you have gone for a wireless Home Automation system.

Q: Who should I talk to?
A: There are people offering cheap solutions and those offering very expensive ones.

Q: How do I chose?
A: Talk to Home Automation providers who understand the technology, can configure the system and integrate it with other components, while keeping it all simple for you. Ensure that the Home Automation system covers all aspects of Home Automation (security, safety, lighting etc) in an integrated manner, even if you don’t need it all today. Avoid fly-by-night operators who tempt you with a ‘cheap’ product. Check if the product is standards based – proprietary products tie you down and cut down your choices. Say no to wires, even if your home is under construction. Go with a wireless Home Automation system that is based on global standards and offers various advantages (some discussed above).

We hope this article has helped you understand what is Home Automation, what it does for you and how you can go about getting one for yourself without breaking your FDs. So, go ahead – go beyond thought and into HOME AUTOMATION action!!


This article aims at providing information for benefit of ApnaComplex customers and blog readers. The author of this article, Mr. P.S. Hariharan, is co-founder of ZeeSense Systems Pvt Ltd (www.zeesense.com), a Bangalore based provider of Comprehensive, Integrated, Cost effective Wireless Home Automation systems based on world standard Zigbee Pro technologies. ZeeSense also provides wireless security, safety, lighting and other custom automation solutions for commercial and industrial segments. Mr. Hariharan can be reached at: hariharan at zeesense dot com, 9845186610.


Want to manage your apartment easily and financials transparently in your Housing Society? – Get on to ApnaComplex – Today!

ApnaComplex is India’s #1 mobile and web based housing society accounting software.

ApnaComplex is designed to make the life of residents and owners lot better by bringing in more transparency and accountability in managing a housing society. Check out why we say ApnaComplex is Best Apartment Management Software and sign up your society today to get the benefits! We offer ApnaComplex – Free Edition with awesome capabilities which you can use free of cost forever.


Automate your Facility Maintenance Procedures using ApnaComplex

Check cleanliness of the corridors daily, Verify diesel levels once in three days, Send RO Water for testing once every week, Take count of fire equipment assets every month – these are few of hunderds of standard procedures that every society has to keep doing for ever!

In ApnaComplex, you now have an mechanism to automate all these through the Enhanced Action Item Tracker – one of the tools offered under our Smart Facility Management Toolset. The committee members can setup all can such procedures in the system with required frequency and all the estate manager has to do is to keep updating and closing these tasks. Email Reminders will be sent on all action items that are due every day so that no task is left unattended.

Following are enhancements that are released as a part of the face lift to the Action Item Tracker:

Create Recurring Action Items

Admins can now create repeating action items for a given date range. Action Items can created with daily, weekly or monthly frequencies.

Attach Recurring Action Items to Assets

The new recurring action items can be attached to Assets so that the maintenance schedules can be recorded easily. This shall replace the already existing ability of attaching maintenance schedules.

Bulk Update Action Items

Now, users can selected multiple action items and re-assign them to another staff/member, update a new expected closure date or even close/cancel action items. Mighty useful when a new committee joins or when an estate manager changes – simply select all and reassign!

Quick View Links

You can now easily see Action Items that are due today, that are due this week with the new filters offered – makes it easy to focus on whats needed.


Want to manage your apartment easily and financials transparently in your Housing Society? – Get on to ApnaComplex – Today!

ApnaComplex is India’s best web based housing society accounting software.

ApnaComplex is designed to make the life of residents and owners lot better by bringing in more transparency and accountability in managing a housing society. Check out why we say ApnaComplex is Best Apartment Management Software and sign up your society today to get the benefits! We offer ApnaComplex – Free Edition with awesome capabilities which you can use free of cost forever.


Apartment Fire Safety – Safety Measures within the Complex

The need for fire management has become an integral part of every housing society, and this is especially true in a housing system where hundreds and thousands of people reside in close quarters.

Effective safety measures including actions or precautions should be adopted in a housing society in order to forestall any hazards or accidents and make sure that no residents are harmed, or even the buildings for that matter.

Fire Safety Measures in a Housing Society

Fire safety measures should be taken when a housing society building is being constructed; steps should be implemented to protect the structure while the building is standing; and general safety tips need to be taught to all residents in order to train them for emergencies.

There are some basic conditions that need to be fulfilled:

  • Your housing society buildings should conform to the local building code.
  • The upper limit tenancy within any part of the building should not be exceeded.
  • Fire suppression systems should be installed (like sprinkler systems), and fire hose reels, fire hydrants, and fire extinguishers need to be provided.
  • The residents of the housing society must be given lessons on how to use fire extinguishers and fire hose reels.
  • Fire extinguishers should be placed in easily accessible spots so that the occupants of the housing society know about their location and can easily access it at the time of need.
  • Fire extinguishers need to be checked and maintained on a monthly basis by the maintenance crew.

fire safety measures

  • Automatic fire detection and alarm systems (smoke detectors) should be installed on all floors and these will inform the occupants about the impending danger ahead of time and they will be able to evacuate the building without any mishap.
  • The maintenance team should ensure that all alarms are free of dust by regularly vacuuming over and around them. They should replace the batteries in smoke alarms regularly.
  • Proper exit signs should be installed as these will help the occupants to act quickly in case of a fire.
  • Smoke exhaust systems can be installed on every floor as they help in minimizing the accumulation of smoke in case of fire, which could be quite dangerous and life threatening.
  • Hazardous materials should be stored very carefully as they are most likely to catch fire within the building.
  • Flammable materials should be monitored within the building.
  • One of the important steps is to conduct fire drills throughout the year. Once this is done in a regular manner there will be less chaos during an emergency.
  • The housing society management can conduct fire safety education programs for children during the weekends.

Failure to meet these safety measures will significantly affect the levels of fire safety in a housing society building and can compromise on the safety of the occupants.

Tips for Residents

You can also work towards maintaining a fire safe housing society by following these small tips.

  • Don’t overload electrical systems.
  • Be careful about smoking near combustible objects.
  • Don’t store combustibles near equipments that emit heat, sparks or flame.
  • Maintain all electrical wiring in good condition.
  • Maintain your heating and cooking appliances.

Once these safety measures are followed, the housing society will be truly protected against sudden mishaps and accidents.


Get your Society on ApnaComplex – Today!
ApnaComplex is India’s most comprehensive web based housing society accounting, management and communication software. It is designed to make the life of residents and owners a lot better by bringing in more transparency and accountability in managing a housing society. Check out the features of ApnaComplex and sign up your society today to get the benefits! We offer a free 30-day trial as well so that you can try before you buy!

Apartment Fire Safety – Basic Knowhow About Fire Escapes

With Diwali around the corner, safety measures in a housing society must be taken against all possible threats to ensure that there are no mishaps of any kind.
fire safety escape routes

Fire safety in a housing society is especially of prime importance, and fire exits must be provided in all buildings and this is mandatory.

Housing Society Fire Escapes

A fire escape is an emergency exit usually located outside a building but always as a separate entity from the main building. As the name specifies, it provides an escape route in case a fire breaks out within the housing society building or any other emergency surfaces, when the main exit is cut out of access.

Fire escapes have many levels, and they have horizontal platforms on each level (floor) that are connected to each other through ladders or stairs. These escapes are made of steel to keep leaves or snow from settling on them. They are generally made from fire resistant materials and extend from windows at every level.

The access from the inside portion of the housing society building to the fire escape is usually through a fire exit, but in certain buildings, the only access might be through the windows.

Fire escape doors are normally fitted with fire alarms in a housing society in order to prevent unauthorized people from gaining access and in order to prevent people from using the route for other purposes.

Installing and Maintaining Fire Escapes

  • If you find out that your housing society building does not have fire escapes, you can take up this issue during a resident meeting and ensure that the management committee gets them installed.
  • Every floor must have fire escapes as an alternative to staircases and lifts as these can’t be used during the time of fire.
  • The maintenance team should ensure that no objects are kept in front of the fire escape, in order to ensure that the exit route is not blocked.
  • The exit routes must be cleaned and maintained regularly by the maintenance team so that there are no problems during an emergency. This should be done on a monthly basis.
  • While installing the fire exits or escapes, care should be taken and quality infrastructure should be installed as this is a serious investment.
  • The ladders can be of chain or web type. Railings should be provided along the ladders and the fire escapes in order to prevent any falls.
  • The ladder from the first level of the fire escape to the ground floor can be fixed. A better idea would be to opt for a ladder that swings down along a flexible joint or slides down.
  • Movable fire escape ladders are preferred in order to dissuade burglars from entering the buildings through such fire escapes.

With your personal safety and the safety of your family in mind, ensure that you bring up the concept of fire safety during resident meetings so that fire escapes are installed. While moving into a housing society, ensure that the buildings have proper fire safety measures in place.


Get your Society on ApnaComplex – Today!

ApnaComplex is India’s most comprehensive web based housing society accounting, management and communication software. It is designed to make the life of residents and owners a lot better by bringing in more transparency and accountability in managing a housing society. Check out the features of ApnaComplex and sign up your society today to get the benefits! We offer a free 30-day trial as well so that you can try before you buy!


Maintaining the Roads in an Layout / Apartment Complex – Some Basic Knowhow

Proper roads are absolutely necessary in every apartment complex. The roads in an apartment complex are mainly used for traveling purposes, and they also add an element of beauty to the apartment complex.

The Need for Maintenance

apartment complex road maintenance

Maintaining the roads is quite important, for daily activities within the complex to pass unhindered. Well maintained roads in an apartment complex also increase the value of the place.

When roads in an apartment complex are not maintained in a regular manner, the apartment association will have to spend much money on filling the potholes or setting up new roads.

This money, which can be saved through periodic maintenance, can be channelized to various other projects that require attention in an apartment.

In order to ensure that the roads are properly maintained, take up the issue with the apartment association during resident body meetings. While residents can take small steps in order to contribute their bit, the apartment association can get the maintenance team to do the difficult tasks.

  • Residents should be constantly updated about the need to maintain roads by the apartment association
  • Littering on roads should be strictly prohibited and waste bins should be provided for this purpose
  • Stagnant bodies of water should be immediately cleared, especially after instances of rain
  • The roads should be swept regularly by the maintenance crew

Maintenance Measures in Apartment Complex Roads

The roads in an apartment complex undergo a lot of destructive changes, and fatigue cracking, rutting, roughness, weathering, and raveling are common problems that can be noted.

The apartment association will have to take on different approaches based on the problem involved. Crack sealing is a process that’s followed in order to maintain roads and surface treatment can be done in order to prolong the life of the particular road.

This treatment measures should be taken up by professionals, who can be hired by the apartment association. Through surface treatment measures, these problems can be solved.

  • Fatigue Cracks – These are cracks that are seen on the roads due to fatigue.  These cracks occur due to the added effects of wheel loads. Fatigue cracks are a sure sign of the road’s structural deterioration, and the treatment depends on the severity of the cracks. Water and dirt should be prevented from entering these cracks as they might grow worse this way.
  • Environmental Cracking – This is transverse or longitudinal cracking that develops in asphalt as it ages and endures thermal stresses related to everyday temperature changes. These cracks are very small when compared to fatigue cracks, and moisture should be prevented from entering these cracks for them to not develop.
  • Surface Wear – The wear on the surface is mainly due to tire wear and material degradation (raveling). Its maintenance includes removing the surface and/or covering up the surface which is worn. Again, surface treatment depends on the severity of the surface wear.
  • Rutting – This signifies permanent degradation in the layers of the road. This can happen if the structure design is improper or if the roads are overloaded. It can also happen if the surface layer is of poor quality.
  • Potholes – Pits or holes produced by wear or weathering on the road surfaces can be fixed through surface treatments.

A lot of factors affect the type of maintenance undertaken within the housing complex. These include the type of distress, vehicle loading, the general climate in the region, the cost of treatment; the roads expected life, the existing road type, and availability of good materials.

Residents can help maintain the quality of roads within the apartment complex by giving regular feedback on their defects to the management as well as bearing with the inconvenience caused during the repair of the roads.


Get your Society on ApnaComplex – Today!
ApnaComplex is India’s most comprehensive web based housing society accounting, management and communication software. It is designed to make the life of residents and owners a lot better by bringing in more transparency and accountability in managing a housing society. Check out the features of ApnaComplex and sign up your society today to get the benefits! We offer a free 30-day trial as well so that you can try before you buy!

Coping With the Rains Through Apartment Association Events

The monsoon months in an apartment complex are generally uneventful, as frequent rains can hamper all your plans and limit your social interactions. This doesn’t mean that you have to stay cooped up inside your house throughout the season – you can organize some indoor events so that all residents can get together and have fun, irrespective of the gloomy weather!

Apartment complex events

You’ll need to plan out these events well so that there are no hiccups in the last minute, and you can do this by delegating tasks to other residents after bringing up the idea during an association meeting.

There are different themes that you can opt for, and all that you need to do is get creative.

Club Events

You can use the apartment complex club to hold a special party where all residents can get together over food and drinks. Once you receive the nod from the managing committee, come up with a theme for the party (something sunny, to take everyone’s mind off the rain) and start collecting a standard charge from every family.

Pick out interested residents and make them your co-organizers. Assign responsibilities for each of them, including the tasks of collecting money from all residents, getting vegetarian and non vegetarian food items for the residents and organizing skits or fun activities for the event. If there are musicians or singers among the residents, encourage them to showcase their skills.

Frame up a party plan, and specify a particular timeline so that things go according to schedule. Ensure that there is a strict tab over the number of drinks served so that people don’t go overboard and get drunk during the party.

Cooking Parties

This is yet another option that you can explore. You can hold this event in any closed common space within the apartment complex. As always, get the nod from the managing committee first.

Once you inform the other residents about the plan, send out flyers or mails to every family, asking them to cook up some rare and delicious dishes. The families can all then assemble in the specified location for the event and a wide buffet can be held, with surprise gifts for the best chef.

The buffet can be arranged according to vegetarian and non vegetarian categories, and if you’re looking to make it an even contest, you can also suggest a predefined theme for the food items. Organizing such parties will involve lesser expenses overall, and will negate the need for collecting and managing money from every family, which can be quite taxing.

Indoor Game Events

Your kids are sure to be bored during the monsoon – so why not organize an indoor event to cheer them up?

There are many options when it comes to indoor games – you can arrange contests involving board games for kids (like chess), and other sports like table tennis and badminton for teenagers and young adults. Through these events, all residents can indulge in some physical activity, keeping them mentally and physically fit and alert during the lazy monsoon months.

Ensure that you plan these events well in advance so that the tasks can be steadily carried out and also make sure that the events are civil and low-key, so that you don’t disturb the other residents who may not be inclined to participate due to personal reasons.


Get your Society on ApnaComplex – Today!
ApnaComplex is India’s most comprehensive web based housing society accounting, management and communication software. It is designed to make the life of residents and owners a lot better by bringing in more transparency and accountability in managing a housing society. Check out the features of ApnaComplex and sign up your society today to get the benefits! We offer a free 30-day trial as well so that you can try before you buy!

Apartment Management Monsoon Maintenance – Gardening Tips During Monsoon

The monsoon is a great time to make new additions to your garden. You have to plan ahead for this season so that your garden thrives for the whole year.

Preparing Your Garden

The rainy season is an excellent time to grow new plants, but excess water can prove to be too much of a good thing. Make sure that young plants and plants that are too fragile to withstand the onslaught of a storm are well sheltered.

Trim your trees and plants before the rain starts. This ensures that enough air and sunshine gets through to every part of the tree and also to any plants that are growing in their shade. Clear your garden and ensure that water does not stagnate anywhere. Excess water that collects and stagnates can cause the plants to rot and die. If you are putting in new plants, choose those plants that can withstand the moisture of the season. Prepare the ground around new plants so that the excess water drains away.

Make sure that the pits around your plants are shallow during this season. Stagnant water not only serves as a breeding ground for mosquitoes, it can also result in root-rot. Spread mulch around your plants. The rain water that soaks through this will bring in additional nutrients for your garden.

Earthworms are good for your garden, so if you find them concentrated in a single place, pick them up and spread them around. They dig deep into the earth and nitrate the soil.

Maintaining Your Garden During Monsoon

Getting Rid of Weeds and Pests

Remember, if the select plants of your choice can thrive in this season, so can weeds. Pull them out and ensure that they don’t grow back again during this season. Otherwise they could spread fast and choke up your garden.

Grasshoppers and other insects that can attack your plants also thrive during the monsoon season. Take preventive measures to keep them out and address the issue at once if you see any signs of pests in your garden. Frogs, toads and birds are excellent natural pest control options. Encourage them, if you have the space, with small ponds and bird-baths.

If you have to use pesticides, try to go in for the safe and organic options. They might cost more initially, but they can pay back a lot in terms of good health besides being better ecologically.

Watch out for plant mildew, a white powdery substance that can shrivel up leaves and stems, which affects photosynthesis. Get rid of it if you spot it. Constant dampness in the stems and leaves serves an invitation to this disease. Do not water plants from the top during monsoons. Mix a tablespoon of baking soda and some liquid soap in a gallon of water and spray it on susceptible plants. This is a preventive measure; it will not be of much use once the plants are affected.

Take Advantage of the Rains

Move indoor plants outside but ensure that delicate plants are not exposed directly to the rains. Keep these in a sheltered area or under the shades of trees.

Harvest rain water. If you don’t have collecting tanks, at least channel the rain water so that it flows through your garden. Do not allow the rain water to drain away on the streets. Preferably, excess water should be allowed to drain away into the earth so that it can return to the water table.

Take advantage of the rains to grow your garden. You will need to plan well and take measures to control pests and diseases. If you plan your monsoon gardening well, your garden will sport a rich look for the entire year with home-grown fruits and vegetables and beautiful flowers.


Get your Society on ApnaComplex – Today!
ApnaComplex is India’s most comprehensive web based housing society accounting, management and communication software. It is designed to make the life of residents and owners a lot better by bringing in more transparency and accountability in managing a housing society. Check out the features of ApnaComplex and sign up your society today to get the benefits! We offer a free 30-day trial as well so that you can try before you buy!

Apartment Management Monsoon Maintenance – Steps To Prevent and Remove Rust

Housing society buildings are specifically designed and constructed to withstand the thundering downpours of the monsoon and the issues that come along with the season.  While most major issues like the stability of the building will be taken care of, residents and members of the maintenance team will need to solve the minor issues like cracks and fissures on the roof, and problems related to moss and rust.
Prevent and remove rust

The Rust Factor

The building structure will normally comprise of bricks, steel and cement, and varied seasons can bring about varied changes. Metal parts in a housing society’s infrastructure tend to shrink, expand or rust, depending on the season. During the monsoon, while the wooden parts of doors and windows may expand, the hinges tend to become rusty. Metal structures like swings and see saws in the play area and gates will rust over time as well, making it harder to use these.

Rust is dangerous because when a metal structure is affected by rust, it disintegrates and loses stability. The metal may give way beyond a point of time, resulting in monetary losses and physical injuries.

Steps must be taken to identify and solve the problem time and again, as rusty parts can hurt you when you’re caught unawares.

How to Prevent Rust

Painting your windows and doors with protective coatings like varnishes or other paints can help in preventing rusting. Using a water-proof paint can prevent the iron bars in your windows from rusting. Although painting the metal parts in common areas can be quite hard for you to do, you can talk to the maintenance team and get it done.

Greasing the hinges in your doors and windows helps in avoiding the problem. Ensure that you grease or oil the other metal items in your household throughout the year so that they don’t rust over time.

Getting Rid of Rust

Rust spots from metals can be easily removed by using an ink eraser.

If you find rust stains in your sink, tub or toilet, it generally points towards high iron content. While household scrubbing powders can only help in removing food stains, you will have to use a chemical solution to remove rust stains. Soap cleaners that are widely available help in this regard too.

Rust stains on your granite flooring can be removed by mixing rust removal solutions along with powdered whiting. This can be procured from any paint dealer or hardware shop. If there are stubborn stains, use the solution well and leave it on for a few hours without washing it away. You can also remove rust stains from steel utensils, cutlery and spoons in a similar fashion.

Rust stains in carpets can be hard to remove, and lime juice will help in removing these. You can use blotting paper to wipe the stains out. Keep repeating the process till the stains are removed entirely. Rinsing the carpet and then blot drying is also a good way to deal with rust. A professional carpet cleaning company will help you eliminate really stubborn stains.


Get your Society on ApnaComplex – Today!
ApnaComplex is India’s most comprehensive web based housing society accounting, management and communication software. It is designed to make the life of residents and owners a lot better by bringing in more transparency and accountability in managing a housing society. Check out the features of ApnaComplex and sign up your society today to get the benefits! We offer a free 30-day trial as well so that you can try before you buy!

Solar Water Heaters For A Housing Society – The Types Available

If you find that the electric water heater in your housing society flat is sending your power bill soaring through the roof and still can’t do without the comfort of a hot shower, you can install a solar water heater.

Are you hesitating because they cost a fortune to buy and install?

Think of the money that you’ll save on electricity over time. The solar water heater will more than pay for its cost over time in saved electricity costs. When other members of the housing society start following your example and install the same, your housing society will effectively turn into an environment-friendly zone. You can even get the solar water heaters installed in a bunch, bringing down the overall costs.

Buying the Right Solar Water Heater

Basics About Solar Water Heaters

Solar water heaters use the sun’s energy to heat the water and for this reason there will be no utility bills to pay. The sun’s energy is free!

If your housing society is located in an area that receives a large amount of sunshine throughout the year, solar water heaters can be the most efficient solution for your power consumption problems.

The basic units of a solar water heater are collectors and tanks.

  • Collectors – This part of the solar heater collects the sun’s energy in the form of heat, in tubes or pipes. Water or a heat transfer fluid flows through the tubes, and is heated up by the energy stored in the collectors.
  • Storage tank – This is where the heated water is stored.

Solar water heaters can differ by the type of liquid flowing through the tanks – either water, or heat transfer liquids.

  • Open Loop Systems – These allow household water to run through the collectors, heating it directly. If your housing society water is not salty or acidic, this is a good system to use. If your water is salty, your housing society can think about installing desalination or water softening systems.
  • Closed Loop Systems -These generally use some anti-freeze liquid as the heat transfer medium. This liquid runs through the collectors, gathering heat along the way. This heat is then transferred to the water held in the storage tank. This type of system is mostly used in colder climates, where freezing is a constant problem.

Solar water heaters can also differ by the process in which the water or liquid is moved through the system.

  • Active Systems

Active systems use electric pumps and valves to circulate the liquid through the collectors. These systems are more expensive. They also use a little bit of electricity. For this reason, they won’t work during power outages. But the power requirements for the pumps are very low, and these systems are more efficient, as they actively keep circulating the water inside the collectors.

  • Passive Systems

These systems do not rely on pumps and valves to move the liquid through the collectors. These can be further classified into:

Batch Heaters or Integrated Collector Storage (ICS) Systems

These are the oldest type of solar heaters. As the name implies, the collectors and the water storage are one unit. The storage tank is placed inside an insulated box, with a glazed side facing the sun. This transfers the heat to the tank, heating up the water inside.

Thermosiphon Systems

This system relies on heat and gravity to keep the water circulating and flowing through the collectors. In Thermosiphon systems, the storage tank and the collectors are separated. The storage tank is located above the collectors. It works in this way – water flows through the collectors, heating up. Hot water rises, so, the heated water rises to the tank above. Cooler water from the tank sinks back, allowing the hot water to slowly fill the tank. The colder water then flows back through the tubes, continuing the process.

Solar heaters can also differ by the type of collectors used:
The energy collectors in a solar water heater consist of a network of pipes through which the liquid runs, getting heated in the process.

  • Flat Pane – Flat Pane Systems cover the whole network of pipes with one or two panes of glass, which absorb the heat and transfer it to the pipes.
  • Evacuated Systems – In Evacuated Systems, glass tubes surround individual pipes in vacuum. This reduces heat loss.

You can also buy hybrid systems which have electric heating systems installed in the storage tank. This can be used on cloudy days when not enough heat can be collected though the solar panels. If your housing society has decided to get residents to install solar water heaters, you can go with the idea.

Residents of the housing society can get together to find out more about Solar Water Heaters. The housing society association can do some more research about the standards, the collector and storage capacity and other features, to find what will suit the residents best.


Get your Society on ApnaComplex – Today!
ApnaComplex is India’s most comprehensive web based housing society accounting, management and communication software. It is designed to make the life of residents and owners a lot better by bringing in more transparency and accountability in managing a housing society. Check out the features of ApnaComplex and sign up your society today to get the benefits! We offer a free 30-day trial as well so that you can try before you buy!


Apartment Maintenance Knowhow – Getting Rid Of Bees, The Gandhian Way – Apartment Maintenance

Keeping bees at bay is one of the prime tasks of the apartment maintenance crew; because you don’t want bees buzzing around when you are outside in your garden, do you? Worse, they can get inside your house. When it comes to getting rid of bees, don’t immediately think of spraying them or calling the exterminators or your apartment maintenance crew.

While it’s understandable that you may not want bees buzzing around you and that you don’t want to get stung, you should know that killing them is not the only option open to you. Try getting rid of them in the Gandhian way. Drive them away, don’t kill them.

Getting Rid of Bees

Why should you care?
You should anyway, not only because all creatures have a right to live, whether you like them or not, but because bees are important to us too. Apart from making honey, bees are one of the most important pollinators of many of our major nutrient sources like fruits, berries, nuts.

Do you like some mustard with your food? Do you like mangoes? Well these crops and plants need bees for pollination purposes. So if you see bees, don’t panic and search for the number of the exterminator in the yellow pages. There are other options:

Eliminate The Attractions

Bees generally seek out water sources. If you have a bird bath or a fountain or even open water containers, they will keep coming back to take a drink. Have your apartment maintenance crew keep the bird bath and the fountains dry until the bees go away.

Empty water buckets and shut off other water sources, like a leaky faucet. Cover the pool. You can also try reducing the amount of flowering plants in your garden. Alternatively, plant them well away from walkways if you have the space. Do this with fruit trees too. The apartment maintenance crew should take measures to keep the swimming pool covered when it is not being used. Pools of water attract bees. Grasses and bushes should also be trimmed.

Keep Them Away From Parties

If you are holding an outdoor party or a family BBQ, keep all the meat and sweet drinks covered. They attract wasps and bees, especially wasps.

Wear light colored clothing – these insects are attracted to dark colors. Do not swat at bees or kill them. This puts them in attack mode, and they will come at you in a swarm. You can hang a mesh bag filled with fruits in a place away from your house. The bees will go for those bags.

Evict them

  • Smoke them out

The apartment maintenance crew can hire a professional to do this. This should be done in the evening. Bees are diurnal, so they go home in the evening. If you cannot hire a professional, then take all the precautions necessary to avoid getting stung.

Put some coal and crimpled paper in a pail and set fire to it. When the flame is strong, put it out. Wear some protective gear to cover your head, and a loose robe and gloves. Carry the smoking pail to the hive. You should wait till there are no more bees buzzing around. Then place this pail under the hive and leave the area.

Make sure you avoid windy days to do this or you’ll end up starting a fire. The smoke going up into the hive will drive out the bees. You will have to do this for many days to make sure the bees are driven away.

  • Relocate the bees

Your apartment maintenance crew can try and find bee keepers who want bees, for honey or for pollination. See if you can find someone who is interested. You can take an effort together to hire a professional to remove the hive from within the apartment complex over to the beekeeper’s land. This way you can both benefit, and the bees get to live in a place where they are wanted.

  • Drench their nests

If you have ground nesting bees, try sprinkling the nesting area with water. Bees don’t like damp homes and will immediately relocate to some other ideal spot.

  • Cover up their homes

If your problem is with carpenter bees (the kind that bore holes though wood), you should wait till you see the bees leave the nest. Then you can cover it up and spray it with insect repellent, preferably the natural kind. You might have to hunt around and do this for all the holes. Use the repellent on the nests till you are sure the bees are not coming back.

  • Use natural repellents

Avoid using chemical sprays and insecticides that will probably do you more harm than the bees. Try preparing some natural home-made repellent. You can easily find these natural formulas, and use them to keep the bees away. Tie up some moth balls in strips of cloth and hang them around the area that the bees usually visit. This sometimes works.

Bees are an important part of the ecosystem, and are vital to our human urvival. So, try to find ways of dealing with bees that do not involve killing them. Some ideas have been suggested above, if you search around, you can find many more.

_____________________________________________________________________________

This article aims at collating and providing information for benefit of ApnaComplex customers and blog readers. While ApnaComplex has taken every care to ensure the information is accurate, we suggest to please use it only as a guidance for further discussion and action with help of relevant professionals.

ApnaComplex is India’s most comprehensive and value-for-money housing society / apartment accounting and management software. Read what some of our customers say about ApnaComplex and its features. There is a a 30-day no obligation free trial for every complex. Go ahead and register your complex and see how you can manage your complex more easily, efficiently, and effectively.