Are your Chicago plumbing pipes ready for spring? As the temperatures warm from winter to spring, building owners need to be aware of the potential plumbing pipe problems they could encounter. Let’s take a look at the most common plumbing pipe issues and how trenchless pipelining could solve them.

Spring Plumbing Pipe Problems

Spring can increase the chances of experiencing a plumbing system problem, including clogs, sewer backups, leaking pipes, low water pressure, burst pipes, and damage to your outdoor pipes and drains.

Clogged Drains

It’s more common to get clogged drains in your outdoor drainage systems than it is in the winter or summer. This is because lots of debris melts with the snow. As that melted snow travels into your parking lot and garage drains, it carries that debris with it. Unfortunately, this debris often gets stuck in the pipes, causing a clog. This can lead to parking lot and garage flooding, especially when the spring rains start.

Additionally, you may see more clogs in your indoor drains. Grease, food particles, vegetable rinds, and meat scraps all get sent down your drains, whether they should or not. After all, most people don’t understand good garbage disposal practices, and as the weather warms, people start buying more fresh, in-season produce. This can lead to clogs in your indoor drains.

Sewer Pipe Clogs and Backups

Your sewer pipe is responsible for funneling all the wastewater from your Chicago building into the city’s municipal water system. If there is a clog in your sewer pipe, it can quickly lead to sewer backups and stinky, hazardous blackwater infiltrating your building at the lowest drain.

Sewer clogs can happen for a variety of reasons, including individuals in your building putting forbidden objects into the drains. For example, did you know that only small food particles and human waste are supposed to be put down drain lines? This means that things like meat scraps, fat, oils, grease, lard, eggshells, wet wipes, paper towels, facial tissues, and vegetable rinds don’t belong inside your drain system. These items are often too heavy for the flow of water to remove them from the pipes, and once one item gets stuck, it attracts other items. Additionally, shifting soils and tree roots can cause breaks in your sewer pipe. When a pipe breaks or gets infiltrated by an object, that rough spot in the pipe can disrupt the water flow, leading to clogs.

Leaking Pipes, Burst Pipes, and Low Water Pressure

As the temperatures warm, you may notice more leaks in your building. This is primarily due to pipes freezing and then thawing. When water freezes, it expands, and it is this expansion that can crack pipes. Once the water thaws, it then flows out of the pipe through the cracks. If the crack is big enough, the pipe may burst due to the increased flow. Leaking pipes can also lead to low water pressure. If you have staff members or tenants complaining of low water pressure in their sinks and showers, you might have numerous leaks in your system.

Damaged Outdoor Plumbing Pipes

Many building owners remember to winterize their indoor plumbing pipes, but they forget about the plumbing pipes running across their property. When we talk about outdoor plumbing pipes, we mean the pipes that connect to your irrigation system and the pipes connected to your hose bibs. All of these pipes can freeze during winter, and when they thaw, you might see dripping from your hose bibs and puddles across your property.

How to Effectively Tackle Spring Plumbing Problems

While spring plumbing problems can put a damper on the season, there are things you can do to catch the issues before they become a catastrophe.

  • As the temperatures warm, it’s important to get a full inspection of your plumbing system. A plumbing inspection checks for leaks and cracks in your indoor and outdoor plumbing pipes. It also checks for leaks around sinks, toilets, showers, hose bibs, and your water-using appliances. These inspections can uncover small problems before they become costly repairs.
  • Make sure your maintenance staff and employees stay alert. This means that if they see mysterious puddles of water or wet ceilings, walls, and floors, they should look to see where the water is coming from. If there is no obvious answer to where the water is coming from, it’s probably due to a leaking water pipe.
  • Have your indoor and outdoor drain lines thoroughly cleaned to remove any debris. This includes your parking lot and garage drains.
  • Take care of any problems swiftly. Leaking water can cause a lot of damage to a building very quickly. The damage starts with soggy ceiling tiles, floors, and drywall. However, it can progress to mold and mildew. If the water is left to leak for a long enough period of time, it can lead to the rotting of your building’s structural components.
  • Once a leak is found, turn off the water to the leaking pipe. There’s usually a shutoff handle associated with each unit or each floor. In the worst-case scenario, you’ll have to turn off the water to the whole building until the repair can be fixed.
  • Consider trenchless pipelining. Trenchless pipelining with epoxy is effective for sealing small leaks and cracks in potable water pipes, and it’s effective at sealing large holes, cracks, and even full breaks in drain and sewer lines.

Enjoy the Benefits of Trenchless Pipelining

Trenchless pipelining provides many benefits to building owners. The primary benefit is that it extends the useful lives of your existing plumbing pipes. This means that if your pipes are corroded or leaking, epoxy pipelining can remedy those problems without the need to remove your plumbing system and replace it with new pipes and fittings.

Better for the Environment

Epoxy pipelining is beneficial for the environment. When you choose trenchless pipelining, you are choosing the green alternative to replacing your plumbing pipes. This is because new materials to make new plumbing pipes don’t need to be mined. The raw materials and eventually new pipes don’t need to be transported by gas or diesel-guzzling trucks, and your old plumbing pipes don’t need to be transported to a landfill.

Maximize Your Pipe Diameters

Epoxy pipelining’s first step involves cleaning your pipes down to the pipe walls. This removes any debris and corrosion in the pipes and maximizes their diameter. This means that you may experience improved water flow once the pipelining process is complete.

Save Money

Did you know that lining your pipes with epoxy can save you money? When you calculate all of the costs involved in replacing your existing plumbing system, you’ll find that epoxy pipelining is less expensive. It’s also faster. A run of pipe can be lined with epoxy in two to three days.

Warrantied

Epoxy pipelining comes with a 10-year warranty on materials and labor, and you’ll get just as much life out of your lined pipes as you did with your original plumbing pipes. This is because epoxy-lined pipes are rated to last between 35 and 50 years.

Schedule a Building Pipe Assessment with NuFlow Midwest

Nuflow Midwest provides building pipe assessments. These assessments provide you with everything you need to determine if you want your pipes lined with epoxy. They start with a thorough camera inspection that looks for issues with the plumbing pipes. Once the camera inspection is complete, you’ll receive a detailed report on everything that was found inside your plumbing pipes. Then, you’ll get a recommendation for or against epoxy pipelining.

Of course, you might be surprised to learn that almost every plumbing pipe is a candidate for epoxy pipelining. The exceptions might be where the pipe walls are too thin to undergo the pipelining process or too damaged to accept a pipeline. However, when that happens, we partner with reliable and experienced plumbers who can remove that section of pipe and replace it. Once the completely destroyed pipe is replaced, it can be lined with the rest of the pipe run. This means that the new pipe that was installed won’t experience any corrosion. This is because the liner will act as the pipe and prevent water from touching the host pipe.

Lastly, you’ll receive a detailed estimate for the cost of lining your plumbing pipes. This estimate can then be taken to your HOA board or building owner so that you can discuss it as a team.

To learn more about the benefits of trenchless pipelining and to schedule a building pipe assessment, don’t hesitate to contact us.