If your building was built before 1985, you plumbing pipes are in excess of 30 years old and may be suffering from corrosion, undetected pinhole leaks and longitudinal cracks that have yet to be discovered. Needless to say, when your pipes start aging and leaking, even if it’s just a drip or two every few seconds, it can lead to expensive mold and water damage. As a Chicago property manager, you may think that a facilities assessment would also include your plumbing pipes, but they often do not.

Average Life Expectancy for Plumbing Pipes

The average life expectancy for plumbing pipes is between 20 and 100 years, depending on the type of material used, the installation and the water composition. Given the average life expectancy for most types of plumbing pipes, you may need a preventive maintenance plumbing pipe inspection between the 30 and 40-year mark of your building.

  • Brass – Brass water supply lines tend to last between 40 and 70 years.
  • Cast Iron – Cast iron drain pipes and stacks can last 100 or more years under the right condition
  • Copper – Copper water supply lines can last upwards of 50 years.
  • CPVC – CPVC tends to last about 50 years before needing to be replaced.
  • Galvanized Steel – Galvanized steels tend to corrode extremely quickly and may only last a maximum of 20 years. Though, some galvanized steel pipes may be fine for 50+ years.
  • PEX – PEX piping has an average lifespan of around 40 years.
  • PVC – PVC can be expected to last between 50 and 80 years.

Facilities Assessment Benefits and Limitations

As your building ages, you may be thinking about scheduling your multi-tenant residential building facility assessment that inspects the building’s structural integrity. You would think that one of the systems to be inspected would be your building potable water and drain lines, but this type of inspection is often not included in a structural building assessment because this assessment only cover what can be visually seen. They do not typically involve destructive testing that includes opening walls.

Instead, these inspections check the structural integrity of items that can be seen easily with the naked eye, and those systems typically include the roofing system, exterior and load bearing walls, the framing, floors, foundation and electrical system, including your emergency lighting. Unless an obvious flaw in another system, like your plumbing system, is apparent, it will not be inspected during your facility assessment.

Start Your Plumbing Pipe Preventive Maintenance with a Building Pipe Assessment

When you schedule your building’s next facilities assessment, our professional pipe liners recommend scheduling a pipe assessment during that same timeframe so that you can get all the information you need to schedule and budget for preventive maintenance and system upgrades and replacements in a timely manner.

A building pipe assessment includes a comprehensive camera inspection of your plumbing system. This inspection can include all of your pipes or only the pipes you specifically request inspected. The camera inspection reveals corrosion, wear and tear, pinhole leaks and cracks, and it allows us to objectively evaluate your pipes to see if they can be restored with either epoxy pipe liners or epoxy coatings. These two pipe lining technologies can seal pinhole leaks and cracks and add life to your plumbing pipes without the expenses and destruction involved in completely replacing your plumbing pipes. If your pipes can be lined with our lining technologies, you will receive a comprehensive estimate for pipe lining that you can present to your board members or management company.

To learn more about our building pipe assessments and to schedule an assessment, call us at 815-790-9000.