How durable is the plumbing system of your multi-unit residential high-rise in Chicago? While most plumbing pipes are designed to last between 20 and 70 years, the installation, pipe material and composition of your municipal water can have a negative or positive effect on the lifespan of your potable water and drain lines. Let’s take a close look at each of these plumbing pipe liabilities.
1. The Installation Expertise of Your Plumbers
When the plumber was hired to perform the initial plumbing installation in your building, he or she should have been thoroughly vetted to make sure they do quality work and and are experienced. However, even good plumbers make mistakes, and installing plumbing pipes incorrectly is one of them. If your plumber used the wrong fittings, placed too much or too little mastic at the joints or over or under-tightened the fittings, you could start experiencing plumbing leaks long before your pipes reach the end of their estimated useful lives.
2. The pH Value and Chemistry of Your Water
The pH value of your city’s water can hasten pipe corrosion in metal plumbing pipes, or it can cause a white scaly buildup in your pipes and on your fixtures. The pH scale spans from 0 to 14. A substance with a pH of zero would be extremely acidic. For example, battery acid has a pH of zero. A liquid with a pH of seven would be neutral. Examples of neutral liquids include milk and blood. A liquid with a pH of 14 is extremely basic. A common example would be sodium hydroxide or lye.
Water tends to range between 6.5 and 8.5. Water that measures less than 6.5 is considered acidic, and it can corrode various types of metal pipes, including copper, lead, iron and zinc. Hard water has a pH value that is greater than 8.5. Hard water doesn’t cause damage to metal piping, but certain minerals, like lime and calcium, can become dissolved in the water. When the hard water passes through your pipes and out of your fixtures, it often causes a scaly white buildup, which can decrease the inside diameters of your pipes and create deposits on and around your fixtures, significantly shortening their useful lives.
3. Pipe Material
The pipe material chosen for your plumbing pipes can have an impact on how well they perform. For example, copper has long been regarded as the perfect plumbing material due to its antibacterial properties and resistance to corrosion as well as its long lifespan. However, copper piping doesn’t lend itself well to salt corrosion. In fact, most types of metal pipes don’t do well when faced with large quantities of road salt, which means in Chicago you’d want to add a layer of protection to the drains in your parking garage by adding a pipe liner.
When it comes to choosing the right material for your potable water pipes, there are lots of options, including PVC, CPVC, copper and PEX. Each of these types of pipes has their own benefits and drawbacks. PVC works great for cold water lines but deteriorates when exposed to high temperatures. CPVC works well for hot and cold water lines but is slightly more expensive than PVC, and it may leach chemicals into the drinking water. Copper works well for both hot and cold water lines, but it can be an issue if the joints and seams were sealed with lead solder. PEX is color coded for hot and cold water lines, and it is extremely flexible. However, it is slightly more expensive than PCV and CPVC and can have problems if the wrong fittings are used.
Preventing Pipe Corrosion with Nu Flow
Here at Nu Flow, we can help you find a solution for your pipe corrosion before your pipes completely fail. Our pipe lining and pipe coating technologies are designed to prevent the water from your municipal water system from coming into contact with your potable water and drain lines. This helps prevent corrosion and extends the useful life of your drain pipes and potable water pipes.
To learn more about how our pipe lining technology can help prevent corrosion in your new and old plumbing pipes, call us today at 815-790-9000