How old are your Chicago plumbing pipes? As the pipes in your walls age, they start to corrode, which means you could eventually have several small leaks that could lead to blowouts in your building. One way to correct the problem of old plumbing pipes is with a traditional pipe replacement. Let’s take a look at what’s involved in replacing your building’s plumbing system and why that may not be the best option for your high-rise residential building.

Traditional Pipe Replacement

The traditional pipe replacement process involves removing all of your old pipes and replacing them with new pipes. In areas where the pipes are exposed, like in basements, the process is fairly fast and simple. The plumbing company walks down to your basement, cuts out the old pipes, and replaces them with new pipes.

When your plumbing pipes are hidden behind walls and in floors and ceilings, drywall, finishes, ceiling, and flooring must be removed before the pipes can be replaced. This means that your residents may be inconvenienced for longer periods of time, and your building’s board members may be unwilling to pay for such extensive plumbing work.

Why Traditional Pipe Replacement May Not Be the Best Option for Your Chicago Building

The truth is that removing all your old pipes and replacing them with new pipes is a time-consuming and expensive process.

1. It Takes a Lot of Time

The first step in the traditional pipe replacement process is locating your pipes. This can be accomplished with electronic pipe locating equipment. Once your pipes are found, the plumbers mark the spot and move on to locate the other pipes that are slated to be replaced.

Once all of the pipes are located, the plumbing company returns to the front of the project to start cutting and removing drywall, flooring, fixtures, and finishes in order to reach the pipes. Next, they physically cut out the old pipes and replace them with new plumbing pipes.

2. All Those Old Pipes Go to the Landfill

If you’re looking for an environmentally friendly option for replacing your plumbing pipes, you may be surprised to learn that PVC pipes are often made from recycled materials, but used plumbing pipes often aren’t recycled. Instead, they are taken to the landfill.

3. Traditional Pipe Replacement Is More Expensive When You Consider All the Costs

Because traditional pipe replacement requires more manpower, more time, and more materials, it translates into more cost. Pipe replacement quotes typically include the material and labor costs to locate, remove and replace your pipes. This does not include fixing the damage caused by the excavation process. Your plumbers most likely won’t fix the holes in the walls once they’re finished. Instead, you’ll have to hire additional contractors, and replacing drywall, flooring, ceiling tiles, fixtures and finishes will require more materials, more labor, and more money over and above the cost of the pipe replacement.

4. Pipe Replacement May Not Be an Option if You Have a Historic Chicago Building

Is your building historic? Instead of drywall, your building has historic bricks, stones, plaster, hardwood and finishes that are not easily sourced, replaced, or repaired. This means that the pipe replacement process may cost you even more in the form of expensive and historically accurate replacements for the items that were damaged and finding contractors that are experienced with historic building repairs.

5. Replacing All Your Pipes Means There’s More Room for Error

Every time you replace a pipe, there is the potential for installation errors. Over and under-tightening fittings, using too much or too little mastic, and using the wrong fittings or the wrong type of pipe for the application can result in future leaks. In order to avoid this problem, you should always properly vet the plumbing company you plan to use or get referrals from businesses and individuals who have worked with that company in the past.

6. Inconvenienced and Irritated Residents

While your pipes are being replaced, your residents will not have access to water. This means that they will be unable to flush a toilet, wash their hands or prepare food without first driving to the store to pick up several gallons of water, and they will be completely unable to shower or wash laundry in their units. If the project is particularly large, your residents may be without water for several hours on multiple days while the plumbing system is being replaced.

Tenants that live on the floors where the pipes are being replaced could be exposed to construction dust and debris, making passage through the halls difficult and impacting indoor air quality. To minimize the impact of pipe replacement on your residents, you may want to consider a combination solution that involves both trenchless and trenched pipe restoration and replacement, but let’s take a look at trenchless pipelining and how it can benefit your building and residents.

Epoxy Pipe Lining May Be a Better Solution for Your Chicago Pipe Rehabilitation

If you’re already considering replacing the entirety of your building’s plumbing system, take a minute to also consider epoxy pipe lining. Lining your pipes stops leaks and increases the useful life of your existing pipes without damaging drywall, flooring, ceilings, or other finishes. This is because pipelining technicians first look for existing access points and use those to connect equipment. If an access point isn’t located in the area that needs work, they create one and put a door in. This means that there are no holes in your walls.

The pipe lining process also only takes a few days for each pipe, and during the lining process, your residents are still given access to a mixed, hot, and cold water supply. This means that they never fully lose water access. The pipe lining process is also relatively quiet and doesn’t create a lot of mess that needs to be cleaned up later.

Finding the Right Solution for Your Building’s Plumbing Problems

Here at Nu Flow, we are dedicated to helping you find the right long-term solution to your building’s aging plumbing system. This may mean going with a combined solution of trenchless pipe restoration with epoxy liners and coating as well as completely replacing some pipes. Thankfully, our pipe lining experts help create customized solutions for new and older buildings that are both time and cost-saving.

By combining technologies, we can determine a customized plan that offers you the best possible option. Our pipe restoration process cleans and lines the existing pipes that are not quite past their useful lives, and the pipe replacement process ensures that you have new pipes exactly where you need them.

To learn more about how we can help you with your old and leaking pipes, contact us at 815-790-9000.