Archives: May 19, 2011

SJR Spencer Apartments Live On ApnaComplex!

We welcome the owners and residents of SJR Spencer, a premier apartment complex located at Marathahalli – Outer Ring Road junction, Bangalore to the ApnaComplex family. The managing committee of this 133 flats complex, has chosen ApnaComplex after a detailed evaluation and comparison with other software.

Writing to us on the occasion of going live, Mr. Amish Shah, Treasurer of SJR Spencer has following to say –

ApnaComplex is the best Society Accounting Software“SJR Spencer has chosen ApnaComplex portal for the better management of entire community of residents. ApnaComplex was chosen after good amount of due diligence with different software vendors. The prime reasons for selecting Apnacomplex are:

  • The personal commitment & support provided by the ApnaComplex team
  • Easy User Interface
  • Easy adaptability by Support team to include required features based on our own requirements.
  • Cost – definitely was one of the major factor in our decision making

We are really looking forward to very healthy relationship with Apnacomplex in future and would certainly like to see that community of residents benefits a lot from this association.”

Thank you Mr. Amish for your words and look forward to serve SJR Spencer-ites.

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 trail as well so that you can try before you buy!

Drawing and Colouring Contest for Children by ApnaComplex

Summer Holidays are coming to an end and soon its back to school again. Pep up your kids’ enthusiasm in the last few weeks of the summer!!!

ApnaComplex announces “Drawing and Colouring Contest” for children. Here are the details:

ApnaComplex drawing and colouring contest for children

Who can participate?
1. Children of ApnaComplex Registered Users (One can register here)
2. Participation can be in one of the two groups – (a) children up to 7 years and below (b) children between 8-12 years.

What to Draw?
Anything that depicts (a) Summer Evenings in My Complex/Layout OR (b) Living in a Gated Community.

What are the Terms?
The colours used in the drawing must have primarily the same colours as in ApnaComplex logo.

What is the last date?
29th of May 2011

How to send the entries?
Scan or take a picture of the artwork and email the same to OR upload it in in sites like Picasa and send us a link by email. Do not forget to send the kids name and age!

How many prizes?
Two attractive prizes each for the 7 years and below category & for 8-12 years category. All children will get a participation certificate.

When will the results be out?
By June 5th.

I have more questions. Whom do I ask?
Leave a comment here and we will respond!

So, what are you waiting for? Get the kids started.

BEE Star Rating and Home Appliances – An Overview of BEE Star for a Greener Housing Society

It’s now become commonplace for a housing society to go green by adopting environmentally friendly measures, and in an effort to continue the same, you can opt for BEE Star Rated appliances. BEE Star Rating – you would probably have seen this on your refrigrator or on the home appliances in a shop. This is a rating that was adapted from Energy Star concept introduced in the US – initially applied to computers and monitors, but later expanded to include home appliances, electronic items, even homes. With every housing society trying to find ways to cut energy costs and go green, BEE Star Rating assumes a very important role.  

BEE Star Rating

A Little Bit of History – Energy Star

Energy Star was first designed by the US Environment Protection Agency back in 1992. The EPA was concerned about the increase in the number of power hungry appliances resulting in more power usage.

An increase in energy consumption puts more demand on the power plant that supplies the electricity. Many power plants burn fossil fuels like coal to generate power. This produces carbon-dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

What Products Come Under Energy Star Standards

Energy Star started out as a US standard, but was quickly adopted throughout the world. Most energy rating systems around the world are built on the Energy Star Model. The first product that this rating was applied to was computer monitors. Monitors, especially the old CRTs were the main power guzzlers in a computer system. Energy Star compliant monitors went into sleep mode when not used over a few minutes, reducing power consumption. Later, the EPA partnered with the US Department of Electricity to include more products. Energy Star now applies to diverse products like computers, heaters, air conditioners, lights, electronic products and even homes.

The Benefits of Using Energy Star Rated Appliances

The Energy Star label on a Home Appliance means that it uses less energy. This not only benefits the environment, it also cuts cost for the people who use them. Using Energy Star compliant home appliances results in significantly reduced energy costs.

Refrigerators, water-heaters, air-conditioners and other such products form a major part of power usage in a household. With Energy Star compliance, these products will naturally be more efficient in their energy usage, bringing down electricity costs. This may not seem like much in a small scale, but over a period of time, it can make a difference.

Reducing energy costs while at the same time helping the environment is a great feel good combination. So the next time you shop for a product or another housing society resident does, you should first look for its energy usage ratings.

Energy Star in India

In May 2006, the Bureau of Energy Efficiency, which functions under the Ministry of Power, launched a standards and labeling program for home appliances. Manufacturers of home appliances could choose to affix BEE Star Labels to guide consumers while buying an appliance.

This label can indicate the level of energy consumption of the device in two ways. It can give absolute values stating, on an average, the number of electrical units that would be used by the appliance. It can also use the star rating system. The star ratings range from one to five. The more number of stars, the more energy efficient the appliance is.

BEE Labels indicate a higher efficiency of functioning in the devices you buy. You will end up buying quality products that function well, while saving on electricity costs.

How Housing Society Members Can Help

Cutting back on power consumption helps reduce the need for society on costs such as DG Sets and associated fuel costs. But that need not necessarily mean to cut back on your comforts. That is where BEE Star Ratings comes in. Since this rating asks the manufacturers to build energy efficient measures into their products, residents in your housing society can buy BEE Star rated appliances for their homes and indirectly contribute to energy conservation. This initiative can be taken up the housing society association, which can organize a campaign to bring about the required changes. Although the housing society association can’t force residents to buy energy efficient appliances, spreading awareness can help the cause.

So the next time you buy a home appliance, you can try buying a star rated one and in this way save your money and also save the environment.

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.

Housing Society Electricity Saving Tips- How to Purchase a Ceiling Fan for Apartments

When your apartment association members are thinking of drawing up energy saving tips for all residents, include the ceiling fan into the list if someone else already hasn’t. Ceiling fans should form an important part of your standard home appliance installations. Even if every house in your housing society has a centralized air-conditioner, it cannot beat the value that a ceiling fan provides. The running cost of a Ceiling Fan is almot 25 times lower than that of Air Conditioner.

Ceiling Fans – What They Do

Ceiling fans do not cool the air the way an air-conditioner does. Instead, they move around the air inside the room and blow the air all over the place so that a steady breeze is created. People within the room keep their cool through sweating and evaporation. In hot weather, your body sweats a lot in an attempt to cool off. Ceiling fans help your body cool off by blowing the air on you and evaporating the sweat.

Ceiling Fan in Apartment

Ceiling fans just move around the air that is already there in the room, so if you have allowed the room to heat up because you’ve not weather proofed your windows and ceilings, the fan will just blow down hot air on you and make you feel hotter. To make sure that all residents get maximum benefits from their ceiling fans, ensure that every residence in your housing society uses sun reflective covers on the windows and weather proofs the roof.

Ceiling Fan Buying Tips

Fans now come in a wide variety of colors and styles. You can get fans with lights, decorative fans, simple but aesthetic and efficient fans, you name it. Gone are the days when you had to go out and buy a three bladed white ceiling fan that weighed about a ton. Now, you can shop around for fans that will add to your interior décor, and make you feel cool in more ways than one.

  • Look for the Noise Factor – Inexpensive fans do not incorporate noise reducing features.  So switching on a ceiling fan can make you want to use ear plugs to shut out the noise. Make sure your fan has noise suppression built in.
  • Consider the Blade Pitch – Look for a good blade pitch. The blade pitch is the angle of the blade in relation to the fan. This helps to move the air effectively.  A blade pitch of 10 or twelve degrees is considered good.
  • The Importance of the Motor – The fan’s motor should match the blade pitch and length. That is, it should be bigger if the blade has a higher pitch and the blade is longer. There is no point in buying a fan with a good pitch and blade length, if the motor can’t run it well.
  • Choose a Good Fan Size – Ceiling fan sizes are measured from the tip of one blade to the tip of the opposite blade. Size should be an important factor in buying a ceiling fan. The size of the room, how clear the space is, how high the ceiling is should all be taken into consideration. Generally, for your living room, buy a larger fan. Get a medium sized fan for your bedroom. Buy smaller sizes for kitchen or the bathroom.
  • The Down Rod – Match the size of the down rod to the height of the ceiling. If you have a high ceiling, you are going to need a longer down rod for the fan to be effective. Don’t make the fan hang too low. Someone could accidentally put up their hand and get it caught in the rotating blades.
  • Ceiling Fan Controls – Fans generally come with a wall mount dial control for controlling speed. Newer fans can also come with a remote control. Comes in handy in bedrooms if you have a faulty design of the electrical wiring where you need to get out of the bed to reach the switch board
  • Lights or No Lights – If your fan comes with light fixtures, make sure the fixture can accept CFL bulbs.

Saving Electricity With Ceiling Fans

Using ceiling fans is a good way to cut down on power consumption. When it is comparatively cooler, you can switch off the AC and use the fan. You can also supplement the functioning of the AC with a ceiling fan’s ability to rotate the cooled air and spread it around the room. Also, once the AC has cooled down the room, you can switch it off and use the fan for a while. The housing society association can highlight the importance of having ceiling fans by promoting their power saving factor.

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.

How to Operate and Maintain Water Treatment Plant Efficiently – Easy Guide to Apartment Associations

Most Apartment Associations and Housing Societies are run by volunteers and most of them do not have necessary technical background that is necessary to ensure proper maintenance of the critical assets like Water Treatment Plants, RO Water Plants, DG Sets etc. Typically the operations and maintenance of these assets are outsourced by the managing committee with a hope that the agencies maintain them professionally. More often that not, no one in the managing committee is even aware how to check if the assets are being maintained and operated properly. Due to this, associations typically end up with sudden huge expenses towards the repair/re-installation of these assets.

In an attempt to help all housing societies and apartment associations, ApnaComplex, with the help of Mr. Ranganathan – Water Management Consultant, presents below an guide / checklists on Water Treatment Plants Operation and Maintenance.

Why Water Treatment Plant?

Today water used in apartment complexes and gated communities is obtained partly from bore wells or from tanker water suppliers. Invariably, the water has a total mineral content higher than the “desirable” value specified in BIS-10500 which is the official Indian standard for water used for human consumption. A high mineral content means that the total hardness of the water will also be high and cause problems like scaling of hot water geysers, choking of pipes, poor quality of washing in machines etc. This is often taken care of by installing a water softening plant (also called as Water Treatment Plant). Refer our other article on “Water Treatment in times of Water Scarcity” to know more about the importance of Water Treatment Plants

How does a Water Softener Plant work?

A water softener plant comprises a pressure vessel made of either mild steel or fiberglass composite. It contains a bed of ion exchanger( normally called resin) which softens water. The pressure vessel is fitted with external piping fitted with valves. The softener plant is also provided with a tank in which a specified quantity of salt is filled in and water allowed in by means of the valve provided for this purpose. The water dissolves the salt to make a solution of brine (this is what a salt solution is called).

The resin bed inside is capable of removing hardness from the hard water passing through it . The quantity of water thus softened depends entirely on the hardness of the water and the capacity of the resin. When the capacity of the resin to soften water is exhausted, it has to be regenerated by injecting a solution of salt solution (brine) into it to prepare the resin to soften more water. The manufacturer of the softener is normally supposed to provide a detailed Operation & Maintenance manual which gives detailed instructions on how to operate the unit and regenerate it.

This manual indicates the total capacity of the softener to soften water before it is exhausted (this capacity is called Output Between Regenerations or OBR). The manual also indicates how many kilos of salt are to be filled in to the salt tank to prepare brine for one re-generation. It gives detailed instructions on how to operate the valves on the unit to inject brine into the softener, rinse off the excess brine and then prepare it to produce soft water for another cycle of operation.

Every softener plant must have a water meter fitted at the inlet so that the quantity of water softened can be monitored. The water meter also helps in measuring the water used for regeneration since this water goes to drain and usually ends up in the STP (Sewage Treatment Plant). Every softener operator must have a hardness testing kit so that he will know when the softener is producing soft water and when it is exhausted.

Following two procedures must be followed by Operators for proper Operation of Water Treatment Plant. In most associations, the operations are outsourced to an agency, even then it is imperative that Managing Committee members verify the log books and the hardness reports once every fifteen days to ensure the softener plant is operating properly.

Procedure for regeneration of an exhausted softener

  1. Make a note of the water meter reading in the log book.
  2. Start backwash if the softener manual calls for it. Carry out backwash for the specified duration.
  3. Inject the salt solution(brine) into the softener.
  4. When brine injection is over, start the process of rinse to remove all the excess brine.
  5. When end of rinse is approaching, take a sample of rinse water and test for hardness.
  6. If the hardness is within the figure specified in the manual, usually about 10.00 ppm., stop rinse and open soft water outlet valve and make a note of the water meter reading.

How to know when to Re-generate

  1. When water meter reading shows that softener has treated almost the quantity as per OBR, take a sample of soft water and test it using the test kit. It is critical to note that with out a proper log book and Water Meter, it is not possible to accurately know the amount of water treated since last regeneration.
  2. If the hardness is higher than 10.00 ppm, and the OBR figure has been reached, shut down the softener, prepare it for regeneration and carry out the regeneration as per procedure given above.

Very Important Points

  1. Approximately 95% of the apartment complexes Mr. Ranganathan visited in the last 8 years had no documents/manual for the softener and have operators without relevant knowledge, experience or training in softener operation. So, the first step is to get the manual from the supplier/manufacturer as it is critical. If this is not possible, approach an expert with correct/relevant expertise for help.
  2. The next step is to read the manual 🙂. This is invariably the most difficult step – but there must be few members in the society who must read the manual and understand how their Water Treatment Plant works. If we buy a new electric/electronic appliance such as Microwave in the house, we do glance through the manual – don’t we? Water Treatment Plant is more costlier and many times more critical piece of equipment that owners of apartments have invested in. The more number of people know about the plant the better it is. Some members with relevant background can go through the manual and share the details with the larger community in meetings in simpler language. (By the way, you can upload the electronic/scanned versions of the manuals into the Document Repository of ApnaComplex – easy way to store all documents in a central place).
  3. Timing given in the manual for the various sequences which are part of operation must be strictly followed.
  4. All the sequences of operation given in the manual must be carried out exactly as specified. All this data must be logged into a log book as it will help with troubleshooting if needed. It is critical to ensure log book is maintained by the operator and monitored by the committee frequently.
  5. If these procedures are not followed DO NOT WASTE TIME and MONEY on the softener. Any amount of salt will not help soften the water if the re-generation is not done in time.

This article aims at providing information for benefit of ApnaComplex customers and blog readers. Mr. S.S. Ranganathan, who provided inputs for this post, is a retired senior executive of Ion Exchange and currently a freelance Water Management Consultant based in Bangalore. He can be reached at +91-93437-34229.

ApnaComplex is an housing society / apartment accounting and management software. We are offering 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.

Housing Society Summer Routine – How to Maintain A Cool Lifestyle

If you’re trying to find ways to beat the heat and stay cool in your housing society during the summer, there are many simple methods you can opt for. These lifestyle changes are easy to implement, and they can be followed by every resident in the housing society.

Staying cool during summer in a housing society 

Wear Light Cloths

Wear light natural fabrics like cotton, as these are made especially for the Indian summer. Make sure they are light colored too as dark colors absorb heat and can make you sweat. Summer is the time you can buy and flaunt bouncy colors like orange and cyan, so get a vibrant wardrobe.

Open the Windows

If there’s a cool breeze blowing, open the window to let it in. A housing society will be a well planned structure, so that the breeze travels in an even manner through every building. All you need to do is throw open the windows (for cross ventilation), pull down the mosquito nets and turn on the ceiling fan, which will regulate the air flow.

Use Ventilators

Ventilators are a must in every household, mainly in the kitchen. The last thing you want during the summer is cooking vapors hanging around the house, making you sweaty. Ventilators can keep the stuffy air out and let the cool air in.

Drink Fluids

Remember, your body dehydrates quickly in warm weather. So, drink a lot of water and fresh juices regularly, whenever you can. Carry a bottle of water along with you wherever you go, so that you remain hydrated properly.

Soak Your Shirts

If there is no cool breeze and you have worked up a sweat, you can try this one out. If you can stand it, soak your shirt in water (avoid cold water) wring it out and put it on. Now switch on the fan and sit under it. If your shirt dries up, soak it again. Keep the windows open while doing this or otherwise, the rising vapors from your shirt will increase the humidity.

Use Sunscreen and Hats

Wearing sunscreen can help you keep your skin normal, and you can pick out some hats for the summer too. Hats can keep you cool while serving as great fashion accessories.

Cool Your Body

Let cold water run over your wrists for a few seconds. This can make you feel cooler. You can also fill a tub with cold water and plop your feet in it. Once your feet get cold, you probably will too. Soak a handkerchief in cold water; wring it out and place it on the back of your neck, and this is one proven measure that works well. Take frequent baths during hot days, as a cold shower can do wonders.

Use Your Housing Society Pool

If your housing society has a pool, use it. It will be a great summer hangout, and you can cool down in the water while striking up a conversation with the other residents in the housing society.

Staying cool through the hot days of summer can be challenging. Find some fun ideas to beat the heat. Remember to take lots of drinks during summer, to prevent your body from getting dehydrated.

By the way, if you have pets, do realize they will feel the heat too. Trim your dog’s coat. Keep them supplied with fresh water, and if they are outside, make sure that cool shady areas are available where they can lie down to escape the heat.

ApnaComplex is a 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!