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FAQ: Misc Mechanical Room

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If you’ve read the previous articles about the mechanical rooms in our retirement communities, then great. We’ve covered most of the big things, but there are a few smaller details left to discuss.

For some people, these little things can mean a lot.

This will be the last article about the mechanical rooms. Next week we’ll take a walk into our garages.

Mechanical Room – Part 4

Phone and Cable:

To date, we’ve been running CAT5e communication lines throughout our homes. This is used for connecting land line telephones. Many of our residents over 55 years old still prefer a land line, but many are cutting the cord, and using cell phones for their home phones.

If that is the case, that CAT5e cord can be converted into an ethernet wire. You can do this yourself or hire an electrician to do it. I won’t go into detail on this. I’m sure there’s a Youtube video somewhere that can explain it better.

We also run cable throughout your home. Usually the cable company will hook this all up for you. Even when we try to hook it up, they clip it and start over. I guess they don’t trust an electrician to do it right.

Anyhow, all of your CAT5e and Cables homerun into the mechanical room. They’re usually on a wall and are easy to spot, mostly because they’re a bunch of wires just dangling there. These mechanical rooms are unfinished, so we don’t put them in any special boxes.

Among these wires, are the main lines that run out to the main boxes near the street. If you don’t want all of your lines for all of your rooms connected, there might be a little trial and error on your technician’s part to connect the correct rooms together, but they’re used to that.

Water shutoff valve

For our senior communities, we usually place the water shutoff valves in the mechanical rooms also. On rare occasions, we’ve put them in a wall somewhere around the master bathroom.

They’re easy to find. Look for a loop of water pipe that has a valve on it. Don’t confuse this one with the valve at the top of your water heater. That will only turn off the hot water.

If you ever have a water leak, and can’t turn the water off at the source, i.e. sinks/toilet, then turn the main water shutoff valve and call a plumber.


Since we run only high efficiency furnaces, these nicer appliances tend to create a lot of extra water condensation. Perhaps you’ve noticed some small water pipes going from your furnace to a drain on your floor?

These furnaces kick out a lot of water, both in winter and summer. Make sure that pipe never gets kicked or moved away from the drain, as this could result in some annoying water were you least want it. I’ve seen this happen, and these furnaces create so much water, that you can literally flood your house out.

Water softener

Soft water is often a luxury that many of us can’t live without. The problem with regular water softeners, is that you don’t want to re-plumb your house for them, or carry salt up or down stairs. That stuff is heavy.

Not to worry. In all of our communities, we pre-plumb your house for soft water. We recommend using our plumber to hook up your water softener, but if not, that’s fine too. In your mechanical room, there will be a loop of pipe that is placed there just for your water softener. You don’t have to re-plumb anything.

Also, even if our mechanical room is upstairs, you’ll never have to carry any bags of salt on a single stair. Most of our mechanical rooms are right next to the garage. But even the ones in the loft will have a pipe coming down into the garage so that you can soften the water in your mechanical room, but keep the salt tank next to your car.

Upstairs storage

Last of all, for those of you who do buy a home with a bonus room, you’ll know that the mechanical room gets placed upstairs in its own, un-conditioned room. This room sometimes has a little extra space that people like to store things in.

Technically, we can’t call it a storage room, but we know that will never stop people from using it as such. Just remember that the room can get very warm in the summer, enough to melt candles. It can also get very cold in the winter.


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