When is the last time you thought about the plumbing risers in your building? When we talk about plumbing risers, we are talking about the metal or plastic pipes that carry water between the floors of your Chicago high-rise building. When these pipes are in disrepair, they can lead to low water pressure on your upper floors and water damage and mold growth inside your walls.

Reasons You Should Pay Attention to Your Plumbing Risers

When it comes to ensuring that your residents have enough water pressure to wash dishes and laundry and take showers in the morning and evening while managing the structural integrity and health of your building, it pays to pay attention to your plumbing risers.

  • You could develop mold, mildew and fungus inside your walls.
  • You could experience a rise blowout.
  • Your water bills may increase inexplicably.
  • Your building may start to develop musty or moldy odors.
  • Your residents and employees may notice that discolored water flows from their taps.
  • Your residents may start complaining about low water pressure, especially on the upper floors.

What to Do if You Think Your Plumbing Risers Are Leaking

If you think your plumbing risers are leaking or have experienced one or more of the above problems, it’s time to get a plumbing pipe inspection. This can be with a Chicago commercial plumber, like those at Althoff Industries, or it could be with our pipelining technicians via a Building Pipe Assessment. Either choice will tell you the average age of your plumbing pipes, the amount of corrosion in the pipes and if there are any active leaks or cracks in your plumbing pipes. If your risers are damaged, you’ll want to either have your risers completely replaced or have them rehabilitated with epoxy pipelining.

Traditionally Replacing Your Plumbing Risers in Chicago

When you think about correcting leaking plumbing risers, you probably think about traditionally replacing them, which involves physically removing the existing pipes and installing new pipes in their place. For pipes that are visible, like those in basements and utility or mechanical rooms, removing and replacing them is fairly easy because very little, if any, drywall or finishes need to be removed. However, for risers that are located behind walls, the plumber will have to cut through the drywall, plaster or sheetrock in order to remove those pipes and replace them with new pipes. This method potentially leads to having to hire more contractors after the work has been performed in order to replace drywall and reinstall any removed finishes.

Pros of Traditional Pipe Replacement

  • You can choose your new pipe material, including plastic or metal.
  • You will get the entire expected useful life out of your new plumbing pipes.
  • Your replaced plumbing pipes will no longer leak.
  • You may experience lower water bills.

Cons of Traditional Pipe Replacement

  • Drywall and other finishes will need removed in order to reach the plumbing pipes.
  • Replacing your plumbing pipes makes a bigger mess than epoxy pipelining.
  • It takes longer to replace plumbing pipes.
  • It may cost more to replace your plumbing pipes than to line them.

Rehabilitating Your Plumbing Risers with Epoxy Pipe Lining

The other option for repairing damaged plumbing risers in high-rise buildings involves rehabilitating them with our epoxy pipe coating, which has been approved for use in potable water lines in Chicago. This method does not involve leaving large holes in your drywall. Instead, existing access points are used or access points are created in order to clean the plumbing risers and install the epoxy coating. This means that when the epoxy coating has cured, and water service has been restored, there’s no need to hire any additional contractors. This means that epoxy pipelining is often cheaper than completely replacing your plumbing pipes.

Pros of Epoxy Pipe Lining

  • Lining your pipes is faster than replacing your plumbing pipes.
  • Pipelining can last anywhere from 35 to 50 years.
  • Pipelining with NuFlow comes with a 10-year warranty.
  • Pipelining is environmentally friendly.
  • Residents will have access to water in the early mornings and early evenings.
  • Schedules are created so that your residents know when their water will be turned off.
  • Pipelining costs less than traditional pipe replacement.
  • You’ll save money on your water bills due to eliminating leaks.

Cons of Epoxy Pipe Lining

  • You may still need to replace some potable water risers with new plumbing pipes.
  • Water service still needs to be turned off to the riser that is being lined.

The Process of Lining Plumbing Risers with Nu Flow

Lining your condo, apartment building or co-op’s risers always starts with a thorough cleaning of the riser. This removes all the corrosion and scale, revealing the pipe wall. Next, air hoses are connected to the pipes and the epoxy is blown through the plumbing pipes.

The two-part epoxy that we use to line potable water pipes is extremely viscous, and because it’s a thick liquid, it rolls over itself as it is blown through the riser. This ensures that the entire inside diameter is completely coated in epoxy and cracks and small pinhole leaks are sealed, which restores water pressure and the flow rate.

Once the epoxy coating has cured, it is extremely hard, and the water flows down the coating rather than the original metal or plastic host pipe. This helps ensure that you do not experience any further corrosion in the lined riser, which extends its useful life.

Combination Rehabilitation and Replacement of Plumbing Risers in Chicago

As a third option, you can always choose to rehabilitate mild to moderately damaged plumbing risers and replace sections of pipe that have completely corroded or that are too damaged to withstand the epoxy lining process.

In this scenario, the inspection and assessment involves looking at all the building’s risers and determine which would benefit from epoxy pipelining and which would most benefit from being completely replaced. This is an economical solution because it still costs less than having every riser replaced, and you’ll still reap all the benefits of having fully restored and replaced plumbing risers.

To learn more about how we can restore your plumbing risers with less hassle and less mess than traditionally replacing your risers, give us a call at 815-790-9000.