Is your Chicago building’s plumbing system ready for summer? Summertime means the kids are out of school and more people have backyard cookouts and barbecues, which means more occupants in your large residential building. With increased traffic in your building, you’ll have more people using the bathrooms and sinks. This can lead to problems with your facility’s plumbing system, especially if it hasn’t been well-maintained.

Common Problems With Your Drain System That You May Experience This Summer

Summer means family, friends, cookouts, and BBQs. This means more people in your units, more food scraps going down your drains, and more people using the bathrooms. If you haven’t kept up with your plumbing maintenance or utilized a preventative maintenance schedule, your drains and water-using appliances may not be able to handle the extra load.

1. More Drain Clogs

Summer food can be hazardous to your drain and sewer lines. While barbecues are delicious, they can mean more meat scraps, vegetable rinds, grease, and oil down the drains. These are all items that can quickly get caught in your drainage system, creating a tough clog that will have to be professionally removed by a Chicago plumber. Before summer begins, inform your residents about the dos and don’ts of garbage disposals and drains, including a list of foods and items that should never be poured down a drain.

2. Increased Toilet Breakdowns

With more people in your building, there’ll be more flushes. Unfortunately, components to your toilets are prone to breaking, including the handle and flapper system. While you can’t do much about the components breaking, you can make sure your maintenance team has extra toilet repair kits and handles on hand so they can make quick toilet repairs.

3. Plumbing Pipe Leaks

More water flowing into your plumbing system and draining down your drains can mean more pipe leaks. It ensures your plumbing system can handle the increased flow, it’s a good idea to get a plumbing inspection. These inspections will tell you if you have any current plumbing problems or if you can expect intermediate plumbing problems. By knowing the condition of your plumbing system, you will be better able to plan for repairs.

4. Water Heater Failures

How old are your water heaters and when was the last time you had them flushed to remove sediment? To help keep your water heaters in good condition, you should consider having them serviced. A professional plumber will inspect all the components of your hot water heater and flush it to remove sediment, which can cause your heating elements to overheat and fail if that sediment is left in the tank. Of course, failed elements aren’t the worst problem your water heaters could face. Most hot water heaters are lined with glass, and if sediment is left in the tank, it can cause hotspots that will melt that glass liner. Once that happens, it’s just a matter of time before the tank starts to leak.

5. Irrigation and Hose Bib Problems

Summer means watering the grass, trees, and flowers regularly to make sure your property looks its best. Have your maintenance personnel walk through your property to make sure the sprinkler heads aren’t leaking and that every hose bib is functioning properly. If mysterious puddles are found on your property or some of the sprinkler heads are leaking, it’s time to call a professional plumber before your water bills become shockingly high.

6. Backflow Valve Failure

It’s also important to remember that if your building has a sprinkler system, outdoor water features, pools, and/or hot tubs, it also has a backflow value. Your building’s backflow valve prevents water from reversing course, after it’s already been sent through the sprinkler system hoses and hot tub and pools, and entering your resident’s freshwater supply. Water that’s been sent to these types of features can pick up chemicals and other debris that would make it unsafe to drink. To prevent illness, it’s best to have your backflow valve inspected regularly.

How to Prevent Summer Plumbing Problems Before They Occur

When it comes to dealing with plumbing problems, the best way to handle them is to prevent them in the first place. After all, every time you have to shut off your water to fix a problem, you are irritating your tenants. Irritate them enough, and they’ll leave and spread the word about the annoying water problems at your building. Not to mention, if you have enough water repairs, you may deplete your maintenance budget before the end of the year.

1. Remind your residents of best drain practices.

Periodically remind your residents of proper drain usage. For example, the only thing that should go down the toilet drain is human waste and toilet paper. Wet wipes, female sanitary products, paper towels, facial tissues, and wet wipes should never be put down a toilet. When it comes to kitchen sinks, only small bits of food that could not be scraped off into trash cans should be rinsed down the sink, and egg shells, grease, lard, oils, vegetable rinds, coffee grounds, and meat pieces should never be put down kitchen sinks, even if it has a garbage disposal.

2. Know where the water shutoff valves are and how to use them.

Take the time to familiarize yourself with the locations of the building’s water shutoff valves and how they work. Also, remind your residents to look for and know where the shutoff valves are in their units for the toilets and sinks. This is so that leaking water can quickly be turned off to prevent flood damage while everyone waits on the plumber to arrive.

3. Schedule regular drain cleanings.

Don’t wait for clogs to happen. Instead, be proactive by scheduling regular drain cleanings before clogs occur. Most companies utility hydro-jetting to clean drain and sewer lines, which washes all the filth and debris into the city’s water treatment system

4. Schedule regular plumbing inspections.

Schedule regular plumbing inspections of your potable water lines, drain pipes, and sewer lines. This can help spot problems, like aging pipes, corrosion, and partial clogs, before they become an expensive catastrophe.

Consider Pipe Lining for Plumbing Pipe Leaks

When it comes to protecting the integrity and reliability of your plumbing system, you can’t go wrong with pipelining, which is the non-destructive way to repair the leaking and corroded pipes. Pipe lining involves accessing your pipes through an access point rather than digging through your yard or removing sections of drywall. The process creates a pipe within a pipe, meaning a liner is inserted into the drain lines to seal small leaks and repair pipe collapses, where part of the pipe has developed a huge hole or cracked extensively. Suppose you need to seal leaks in your potable water plumbing pipes, an epoxy coating can be used to coat and seal the inside of the pipe, eliminating leaks and preventing further host pipe deterioration.

To learn more about pipelining and how it can extend the useful lives of your Chicago plumbing pipes, contact us today at 815-790-9000.