Do you utilize predictive maintenance or preventative maintenance? If you’re like most property owners, property managers, or business owners, you probably don’t think there’s much difference between the two. The truth is that there are a few differences between the two when it comes to heading off costly plumbing disasters. Let’s take a look at the differences between preventative and predictive maintenance and how you can utilize predictive maintenance to help keep your water flowing.

Plumbing Preventive Maintenance

Plumbing preventive maintenance is maintenance that is performed in order to prevent expensive problems and significant periods of downtime for your critical systems. In the plumbing and pipe restoration world, this translates into getting annual plumbing inspections and replacing sections of pipe that are at the end of their useful lives. Unfortunately, if all your pipes are the same age, they may reach the end of their useful lives at the same time, forcing you to quickly replace all your pipes before they burst. Since this isn’t an ideal solution, let’s take a look at predictive maintenance.

  • You get annual inspections of your plumbing pipes in order to know the levels of wear and tear.
  • You replace pipes that are at the end of their expected useful lives.
  • You pay attention to the number of leaks in your building and take immediate corrective action if one section is having more problems than another section.

Plumbing Predictive Maintenance

Plumbing predictive maintenance is exactly what it sounds like. This involves utilizing tools and metrics to predict pipe failures before they occur. For example, let’s say that you know your pipes were installed twenty years ago. You also know that the fittings have an expected useful life of between 20 and 30 years, while the pipes have expected useful lives of between 40 and 50 years. With this information, you know that your pipes are halfway through their expected useful lives and are beginning to fail. In this scenario, you’d want to schedule a building pipe assessment to determine how much life is left in your pipes and develop a plan for replacing or restoring those pipes before they burst and cause water damage.

  • You know the ages and expected useful lives of your plumbing pipes and fittings.
  • You get annual pipe inspections in order to determine if your pipes are wearing out faster or slower than anticipated.
  • You schedule maintenance according to the recommendations from the manufacturer or the professional plumber that helped you develop the maintenance schedule.
  • You replace or rehabilitate pipes in an organized and scheduled manner to prevent complete blowouts and long periods of time with your building’s water turned off.

Steps to Take to Start a Predictive Maintenance Plan

A predictive maintenance plan starts with a total building pipe assessment, but it may be challenging to convince your HOA, shareholders, or board members of its value due to the upfront costs, especially if your plumbing system is operating normally. After all, why fix something that isn’t broken? The truth is that plumbing pipes operate normally until they don’t, and once they start failing, you’ll notice high water bills, water spots on your ceiling, and low water pressure that could be extremely expensive to fix. Let’s take a look at the steps involved in convincing your board members to get a building pipe assessment and start the process of switching to predictive maintenance.

1. Start by Getting the Numbers

When you’re trying to make a decision on whether or not to change your plumbing pipe maintenance plan, it’s always best to get the numbers first. Start by locating the ages of your plumbing pipes. If you’ve never had your pipes replaced, they’re as old as the building. If you have had your pipes replaced, you’ll need to locate that paperwork. Next, determine how long your pipes are supposed to last under ideal conditions. Are your pipes more than 50 percent beyond their useful lives? If they are, you could start experiencing an increase in pipe failures.

2. Determine Your Annual Pipe Repair and Replacement Costs

How much are you currently spending on plumbing repairs and pipe replacements? How much has your building spent over the current lifetime of the plumbing pipes? You should be able to go through your maintenance records to determine how much money you’ve spent on repairs and replacements to date.

3. Get an Estimate for a Total Pipe Replacement

Next, contact a local Chicago plumber, like the plumbers at Althoff, and get a rough estimate for a total pipe replacement cost. You don’t need this estimate because you need new pipes right now. You need this estimate in order to understand what it might cost you if your entire plumbing system fails.

4. Get an Estimate for a Building Pipe Assessment

NuFlow offers building pipe assessments in order to determine how much life is left in your plumbing pipes, the degree of deterioration and whether or not your building would make a good candidate for epoxy pipe rehabilitation. You can start the process by filling out NuFlow’s handy pipe assessment form.

5. Take the Numbers to Your Board

Once you have the numbers, take them to your board and thoroughly explain your building’s plumbing situation and make the case for switching from preventative to predictive maintenance.

6. Schedule Your Building Pipe Assessment

Once you have your board’s approval, schedule your building pipe assessment. This service involves a camera inspection of your plumbing pipes, a detailed report about your plumbing pipes, a recommendation for or against pipe lining, and an estimate for pipelining.

7. Create Your Predictive Maintenance Plan

Now it’s time to create your predictive maintenance plan in accordance with all the information you found out about your plumbing system. This includes determining an inspection schedule and deciding how and when you want to have your pipes rehabilitated or replaced. Make sure your maintenance schedule is accessible to your maintenance staff and upper management.

8. Implement Your Predictive Maintenance Plan

Lastly, implement your plumbing predictive maintenance plan. This usually starts with scheduling your building pipe assessment and reading the report. Once you’ve read the report and decided on having your pipes lined with epoxy, NuFlow can help you create a schedule for pipe rehabilitation.

Making the Switch with Help from NuFlow and Althoff

Here at NuFlow, we can help you make the switch from preventative maintenance to predictive maintenance with our building pipe assessment. This assessment lists the ages of your pipes, their corrosion levels, and their overall condition so that you can make a plan to repair or restore pipes before they fail.

Our technicians offer pipe lining and epoxy coatings for the restoration of potable water lines and sewer lines. These trenchless technologies are designed to stop further corrosion and deterioration of your pipes. If some of your pipes are too worn to accept our pipe restoration techniques, we can work with Althoff to create a plan that replaces your severely deteriorated pipes while we restore the pipes that still have some useful life left in them. We can also spread your pipe restoration and replacement plan out over several months so that it is more budget-friendly.

For more information on how to get started with predictive pipe maintenance and to schedule a pipe assessment, contact us at 815-790-9000.