How much do you know about PVC pipe leaks? As a building owner or property manager, you probably know that PVC pipes are extremely durable. They have an average life expectancy of 50 years, and they rarely fail. However, if they do fail and leak, you’ll have the same issues as with other piping materials that fail. This includes high water bills and the buildup of mold and mildew in your building, which can lead to health problems for your residents, and expansive repair and remediation bills for your building.
How do PVC Pipes Fail?
PVC pipes fail for two reasons, including bad installations and faulty components. While neither of these is your fault or the fault of your maintenance staff (unless they performed a faulty plumbing repair), it’s very important to pay attention to your plumbing pipes, especially if they’re reaching the end of their useful lives or you’ve just had work done to your plumbing system.
1. Bad Installation
A bad installation is exactly as it sounds. The joints and seams may not have been sealed tightly, or the plumber may have used too little or too much pipe glue. The anchors holding the pipes to the walls may also have been tightened too tightly. While the pipes may work flawlessly for a little while after these types of mistakes, you’ll quickly notice high water bills, see strange puddles and experience high levels of mold and mildew growth from the failed component and PVC pipe cracks.
2. Faulty Component
The PVC may have been manufactured with an undetectable defect that leads to premature wear and tear and PVC pipe leaks. This defect in the plumbing pipes can lead to cracks that allow water to escape from the pipe. At first, the crack may be small and unnoticeable. Unfortunately, as it grows, you’ll notice mold, mildew, and water damage. If it’s left to leak for a long enough time, you could even experience structural problems in your building where the leak is occurring.
How to Avoid PVC Pipe Leaks
As a building manager, you and your maintenance staff can take steps to prevent plumbing pipe leaks by educating your residents and creating a pipe maintenance schedule to detect leaks and problems with your plumbing system before they become expensive repairs and cause inconvenient water shutoffs while the repairs are being performed.
1. Teach Residents How to Properly Care for Their Drains and Fixtures
Maintaining your building’s plumbing health starts with educating your residents on the proper use of drains, showers, toilets, and other fixtures. If a toilet overflows or a fixture leaks in an upper unit, the water can travel downward, affecting other units. The same is true for grease, food particles, and other items that may get put down drains. Even if the items leave the initial drain, they could stop in other parts of the drain pipe, creating a large clog that affects multiple units. Therefore, it is important to teach your residents to never put grease or oil down a kitchen drain, even if it has a garbage disposal. Only toilet paper should be flushed down toilets, and residents should put paper towels, facial tissues, and other types of paper and sanitary products into trash bags.
2. Practice Preventive Plumbing Maintenance
Having preventive maintenance performed on your potable water lines and drain lines can help avoid costly repairs. To help prevent cracks and blowouts in potable water lines, consider having your water pressure regularly tested, especially in units on the lower floors. Water pressure that exceeds 80psi can dramatically reduce the expected life of your PVC pipes, causing major cracks.
Make sure to have your water heaters and boilers regularly inspected and tested. Hot water appliances are prone to sediment buildup, which can reduce their efficiency and cause premature failure of the heating elements.
Utilize your plumbing company’s camera inspection services. Flexible cameras can be threaded through your potable water lines and drain lines to detect wear and tear, clogs, leaks, and pipes that are nearing or past their expected useful lives. Once you know you have a potential water pipe problem, you can take steps to fix the problem before it negatively impacts your bottom line.
Long-Term PVC Pipe Leak Prevention with NuFlow
If you’ve noticed an increase in PVC pipe leaks spite your best efforts to prevent those leaks, consider a different approach. Traditional pipe replacement can be expensive and destructive to your building and inconvenient for your residents. Here at NuFlow, we can help you prevent future leaks by lining your PVC pipes with durable and affordable epoxy pipe liners. These liners are non-toxic and environmentally friendly. They are also less destructive than traditional pipe replacement and other leak repair services because they do not require cutting out large sections of your building’s drywall or other finishes. Epoxy pipe liners and coatings can be used on both potable water lines and drain lines, including your sewer pipe.
To learn more about how epoxy pipe liners can help stop PVC pipe leaks, contact us at 815-790-9000.