Are you ready for the new year? If you’re like most people, you’ve probably set a few New Year’s resolutions. Maybe you’d like to lose a few pounds, eat healthier, get active, save money, or become more environmentally conscious. If your New Year’s resolutions involve the last two, properly maintaining your plumbing system can help. After all, preventative maintenance means taking steps to prevent unwanted repair and replacement bills that could put a severe dent in your Chicago building’s maintenance budget. Let’s take a look at our plumbing refresh tips so that you’re ready for 2024.

Inspecting Pipes for Wear and Tear

The first thing you should do to get your plumbing pipes ready for the new year is to have them inspected for wear and tear. The cold temperatures of winter can be hard on your pipes, and if your pipes are older, they may have been showing signs of damage before the start of the cold weather. Having your pipes professionally inspected can locate small cracks, corrosion, and problems with fittings and joints before they become devastating water leaks and pipe blowouts.

Cleaning and Clearing Drains

Next, have your drains professionally cleaned. This includes your building drain pipes, your sewer line, and your stormwater drains.

Drain Pipes and Sewer Line

When cleaning and clearing your pipes, start with your drain lines and sewer pipe. This is because guests or residents may have put forbidden items down your drains during their holiday parties. This can include coffee grounds, eggshells, meat scraps, and vegetable rinds as well as oils and fats. Additionally, guests may have flushed wet wipes and sanitary products, not realizing that those items can be flushed down toilets. By cleaning and clearing your drains now to remove partial clogs, you’re helping to prevent sewage backups.

Stormwater Drains

Next, have your stormwater drains cleaned and cleared. During the fall, leaves, twigs, and other debris can clog your stormwater system, leading to floods in your parking lots and garages. As the weather continues to cool and snow and ice begin to fall, your city snow removal services will plow and apply icemelt to the surfaces of the roads. As vehicles drive through the slush, they pick up the icemelt particles. Those particles then make their way onto your property where they melt off the cars and drain into your stormwater system. If the icemelt is left in your storm drains and pipes, it can mix with water to form a substance that accelerates pipe corrosion. Having your pipes hydrojetted can remove all the debris and icemelt before it causes floods and pipe damage.

Checking for Leaks

Next, check for leaks in the pipes you can easily see. The best places to check for leaks are under sinks, around toilets, in laundry rooms, and around water-using appliances. Anything that’s visibly dripping should be repaired. Once you’re finished inspecting and repairing the leaking pipes inside your building, walk your property, especially if you have an irrigation system. Check all the hose bibs to make sure they’re not dripping. Then, look for puddles on your property. This is best accomplished after all the snow and ice have melted, and there hasn’t been any rain in a few days. If you see puddles on your property, it could be from leaking sprinkler heads. If there are no sprinkler heads in the area, and you still see a puddle, it could be from a broken sewer pipe or due to the ground being improperly graded. You’ll want to have all of these issues fixed.

Eco-Friendly Plumbing Practices

Once you’ve finished ensuring that your plumbing system is in good condition and ready for the upcoming year, turn your attention to these eco-friendly plumbing refresh tips.

  • Install Low-Flow Water Fixtures – If you haven’t done it already, 2024 is a great year to install low-flow and low-water-using fixtures. Consider installing low-flow showerheads, touch or sensor water faucets, low-flow toilets, and water-using appliances that use a reduced amount of water, such as washers and dishwashers that are Energy Star rated.
  • Install Energy-Efficient Water Heaters – Consider changing out your old water heaters for water heaters that are Energy Star rated. Additionally, you may want to consider tankless water heaters that heat water on demand and don’t run the risk of tank blowouts due to wear and tear. You could also install solar panel water heaters or geothermal water heaters to maximize the reduction of your water-heating carbon footprint.
  • Consider Harvesting Rainwater – harvested rainwater can be used to irrigate the plants on your property, thus reducing your freshwater usage.
  • Consider Reusing Greywater – Greywater can be cleaned filtered and used again. There are greywater systems that you can use to recycle greywater. Once it’s clean, greywater can be used for irrigation. It’s important to note that greywater is lightly used water from sinks and washers. It does not contain human waste. Any water that has come into contact with human waste is classified as blackwater.
  • Use Environmentally Friendly Pipe Materials – When replacing pipes and fixtures, try and use pipes that can be easily recycled or that have been manufactured using recycled materials. If you want to take it a step further, you can research piping materials that are most often recycled and that have a high percentage of recycling. Alternatively, you can use methods to repair and rehabilitate your pipes that don’t involve any need to recycle. This includes epoxy pipelining and CIPP and PIPP pipe rehabilitation methods.
  • Ditch the Harsh Chemicals – When cleaning your Chicago building, switch out your harsh chemicals cleaners for environmentally friendly cleaners. These are cleaners that use natural ingredients that don’t contribute to water pollution or harm the environment.
  • Avoid Caustic Drain Cleaners – Skip the caustic drain cleaners when trying to clear your drains of clogs. Caustic drain cleaners can end up in the environment where they harm animals and plant life. Instead, clear your drains with a drain auger or hydrojetting.
  • Install Low Maintenance Landscaping – Consider changing the landscaping around your building to native plants and skipping the grass in favor of clover or another ground cover that doesn’t require as much water or mowing.

Emergency Preparedness

Lastly, make sure your employees and maintenance team members are ready for emergencies. Make sure they know where all the water shutoff valves are in the building and where the meter is in the building. This helps ensure that the water can be turned off quickly if there is a major leak or pipe blowout. By being able to turn the water off to units, sections, or individual floors in your building, you’ll be able to prevent water damage, like mold, mildew, and rot.

Additionally, make sure you have a list of reliable plumbers that you can call in an emergency. These are typically plumbing companies that you’ve built up a reputation with over the years, and you like their work and work ethic.

Scheduling a Plumbing Pipe Assessment

If you’re unsure about the condition of your plumbing pipes or you’re thinking about getting them rehabilitated with epoxy pipelining, schedule a building pipe assessment. Our building pipe assessments at NuFlow include a video camera inspection that’s recorded so that you can view it now and later. It includes a detailed report of everything that was found inside your plumbing pipes as well as the condition of your pipes, and it includes a recommendation either for or against pipelining along with an estimate.

Building pipe assessments are great for letting you know the conditions of your Chicago plumbing pipes, the age of your pipes, and how much life is still left in them. It also gives you the information you need to set up a meeting on epoxy pipelining with your building owner, property management group, or HOA.

NuFlow Midwest’s Expert Services

If you want to rehabilitate your plumbing pipes instead of replacing them, NuFlow Midwest can help. We offer epoxy pipelining solutions that are cost-effective, environmentally friendly, fast, and guaranteed. Did you know that epoxy pipelining is rated to last between 35 and 50 years? This means that you can enjoy your newly lined pipes for nearly as long as a new pipe installation.

If you’d like to learn more about epoxy pipelining and how it can help your building, contact us and schedule a building pipe assessment today!