Do you have an aging plumbing system in your Chicago building? As a property manager for a large or small multi-unit residential building, it’s your responsibility to make sure the water is flowing for you and your residents, and that means knowing how old your system is and making all the needed repairs.
What’s the Average Lifespan of a Plumbing System?
On average, you can expect your building’s plumbing system to last between 25 and 40 years, depending on the material.
Supply Plumbing Pipes
- Brass – 40 to 70 years
- Copper – More than 50 Years
- Galvanized Steel – 20 to 50 Years
- PVC – 50 Years to Indefenately (Usually used for drains and not supply)
- PEX – 50+ Years
- Lead – 100+ Years (Replace immediately. Lead pipes are toxic)
- Cast Iron – 75 to 100 Years
- PVC and CPVC – 50+ Years
- Orangeburg – 50 Years
- PB – No More than 30 Years
All Plumbing Pipes are Subject to Problems
It’s important to note that no matter the material or how well the pipes were installed, they’re all subject to experiencing problems as they age. Therefore, it’s important to know how old your pipes are as well as the amount of usage they receive each day, week and month. This is because the more water that flows through them, the faster they wear out.
Common Plumbing Pipe Problems
- Rust and Corrosion – A problem for metal plumbing pipes.
- Improper Installation – This can lead to the need for premature repairs.
- Deterioration of Joints and Seams – Connectors and welded seams wear out faster than the plumbing pipes.
- Deterioration from the Inside – Rust and corrosion from the inside out are most common for galvanized steel and cast iron pipes.
- Excessive Use – Has your building been expanded or are there more residents now than the building was initially designed for? When your pipes were first installed, they were designed for a specific load factor. If you’ve expanded and not replaced or upgraded the older parts of your system, they could be wearing out faster than anticipated.
- Dissimilar Materials – What types of pipes are in your system? Some metals don’t get along with other types of metals, and if they’re in your plumbing system without the proper precautions, you could experience an increase in corrosion, rust, and leaks.
How to Determine if it’s Time to Restore Your Chicago Plumbing Pipes
- How Many Repairs Have You Performed Lately? – If your repair bills are becoming more frequent and costly, it’s time to think about restoring or replacing your plumbing system.
- Is It the Same Problem in the Same Place? – If the same area seems to need repeated repairs, it’s time to consider a more permanent repair than just patching or unclogging.
- How Irritated Are You Residents Getting? – With enough plumbing problems and water shutoffs, your residents will start talking, and that’s not good news for keeping the residents you have and attracting new residents.
- How Old Are You Chicago Plumbing Pipes – If they’re more than 20 years old, it’s time to start thinking about getting regular inspections and creating a long-plan for addressing current and future problems.
Should You Replace or Restore Your Aging Plumbing System?
If your plumbing pipes are more of a headache than they are a convenience, it’s time to take action. This can mean either performing a complete plumbing pipe replacement or an option to rehabilitate your pipes with epoxy pipelining.
Traditional Pipe Replacement in Chicago
When you think about solving the problem of your aging, leaking, and just generally problematic Chicago plumbing pipes, you probably think about having a traditional plumber replace the whole aging plumbing system. After all, this is the usual solution to extensive plumbing pipe issues. However, it’s important to note that a traditional pipe replacement involves:
- Locating every pipe in your building or in the area that needs to be replaced.
- Cutting holes in your drywall, ceilings, and possibly the floors in order to reach the pipes.
- Shutting the water off while the pipe replacements are made.
- Removing the existing pipes and taking them to a landfill
- Installing new pipes
- Hiring additional contractors to repair damaged drywall, ceilings, and flooring.
Epoxy Pipelining with NuFlow, Serving the Greater Chicago Area
Another option is to get a camera inspection of your existing pipes to determine their age, corrosion levels, how much life is left in them, and a determination as to whether epoxy pipe lining may be the right option for your building. The epoxy pipe lining process involves:
- Creating access points to reach the pipes that need to be lined.
- Installing doors over the access points, which leaves no open holes in your walls.
- Providing limited water to your residents rather than a full shutoff.
- Thoroughly cleaning the plumbing pipes that are to be lined.
- Installing the epoxy liners or coatings.
- Waiting for the liners or coatings to cure
- Turning water service back on.
The good news is that NuFlow Midwest offers an epoxy-based, pipe lining process that can extend the life of your existing plumbing pipes. We offer two types of trenchless technology, including CIPP and PIPP. CIPP is Cured-in-Place Piping. PIPP is Pulled-in-Place piping, and both of these options are less invasive and less expensive than a traditional pipe replacement. In fact, savings can be significant when you factor in the costs associated with repairing drywall, ceilings, and floors and replacing finishes.