Are you concerned about your plumbing pipes this summer? Plumbing systems are vital for ensuring that your building has plenty of fresh drinking water and a way for all of the wastewater to exit your building. When those plumbing pipes become damaged, your highrise, apartment building, or condominium could experience water damage, black mold, and even increased pest problems. Let’s take a look at the ways you can spot plumbing problems before they turn into expensive repairs.

The Signs of Damaged Pipes in Your Chicago Building

If you have one or more damaged pipes, you may notice several small and large signs. When you see, smell, or hear signs of damaged pipes in your building, it’s best to pay attention to it and call your local Greater Chicago plumber for a full diagnostic and repair before your building’s structural integrity has been compromised. If you’re looking for a long-term pipe repair solution that doesn’t involve frequent pipe repairs on old plumbing pipes, you’ll want to investigate epoxy pipelining.

Odd Sounds

Before you see water spots or smell mold and mildew, you may hear concerning sounds, including dripping behind walls, running water, gurgling sounds coming from your pipes, or hissing noises. These are all sounds that indicate that there is something wrong with your Chicago plumbing system.

Discolored Water

If you have severely corroded or damaged pipes, you may start to notice discolored water. This could be a sign that your potable water is picking up corrosion or rust that has developed inside the pipe, or a sign that the pipe is cracked and allowing dirt into the water lines. Either way, you’ll want to hire a professional plumber who can determine the cause of your discolored water.

Stinky Pipes

If you run water down your drains and smell something rancid or like sulfur, it could be sewer gas. Sewer gas can enter your high-rise or commercial building if the pipes have breaks or cracks in them. Unfortunately, the smell of sewer gas isn’t harmless. Inhaling sewer gas can lead to respiratory issues, headaches, eye, nose, and throat irritation, dizziness, and even loss of consciousness.

Discoloration on Walls and Ceilings

Cracked water pipes allow water to seep into your drywall and ceiling tiles, even if it’s a very small leak. This water eventually discolors the surfaces. If you notice brown or yellow stains on your walls, it’s time to call an experienced plumber.

Mold and Mildew

Are certain parts of your building starting to smell wet? Dripping water can lead to the development of mold and mildew behind your walls and on your ceiling. When this happens, you might start to see black spots on your drywall and smell something musty.

Low Water Pressure or Inconsistent Water Pressure

Are your residents or employees increasingly complaining or low water pressure? Maybe they’ve turned on a faucet only to have it trickle, or perhaps a resident was running both a dishwasher and the washer, and the dishes failed to get clean due to low water pressure. If these complaints are increasing in your building, it could be due to one or more leaks.

Wet or Damaged Flooring

Water pipes that run between floors can lead to damaged flooring. If you notice wet carpets, water on tiles, or warped hardwood flooring, it could be due to water spraying upwards from a busted pipe.

Water Dripping from Ceiling Fixtures

Additionally, if you’re noticing wet flooring on one level, the unit below it may be flooding from the ceiling. Water from burst pipes often first appears as dripping water from fixtures. That’s because holes are created for light fixtures so that the wires can travel from above the fixture to the light or ceiling fan, and water looks for the path of least resistance.

Increased Complaints of Indoor Allergy Symptoms

Are your employees, guests, visitors, and residents complaining of moderate-to-severe indoor allergy symptoms? If they are, you may have a water problem. This is because the increased presence of mold and mildew can lead to nose, throat, eye and sinus irritation and congestion. Individuals with lung problems, like asthma and COPD, may also notice an increase in attacks.

Bubbling or Peeling Paint or Wallpaper

Water from leaking or bursting water pipes can soak through drywall and degrade the adhesive properties of paint and wallpaper. If you notice peeling, cracking, or bubbling paint or wallpaper, it may be time to have your plumbing pipes inspected.

Structural Damage

In severe instances, leaking pipes can lead to significant water damage, even if the leaking pipe isn’t dripping that much. This is because water that leaks behind walls is trapped there. As the water leaks, it lands on your subfloors, floor joists, and wall studs. As the water sits, it begins to rot the wooden components. If enough damage is allowed to occur, it can cause structural failures.

Suspicious Outside Puddles

Of course, inside your building isn’t the only place you should look for excess water from pipes. If you notice suspicious, stinky puddles, it could be due to a break in your sewer line or a root infestation. If you have outdoor sprinkler systems, one of the pipes or sprinkler heads could be leaking.

Suddenly Excessive Water Bills

Lastly, it’s important to pay attention to your water bills. While there will be some seasonal fluctuations and increases due to the utilities raising their rates, dramatically higher water bills should be closely scrutinized. Was there a reason that your water bill increased? Is it the highest water bill you’ve ever seen? If you can’t think of a reason, and you’ve never seen such high water bills, it could be due to numerous leaks in your building.

What Happens When You Ignore Signs of Plumbing Problems

The truth is that you should never ignore signs of a water leak. It could negatively impact all of your employees, visitors, and tenants by making them sick and increasing the symptoms of certain preexisting conditions. It could also lead to extremely expensive repair bills. If you’ve had a bad water leak for a while, your first bill will be to repair or replace those water pipes. However, the expenses may not stop there. You may also have to have wall studs and floor joists replaced. You may need to replace drywall and flooring or ceiling tiles. In severe cases, you may even need to hire a water remediation company in order to remove mold and mildew. It goes without saying that all of these expenses can add up quickly, resulting in the depletion of your yearly maintenance budget, and if you own a condo with an HOA, paying for those repairs may even necessitate the need for a special assessment.

What to Do When You See Signs of a Plumbing Pipe Failure

If you see signs of damaged pipes, you need to act quickly. Small leaks and cracks that just started are much easier and less costly to repair than leaks that have worsened over time. If you want to prevent major plumbing problems, it’s always a good idea to schedule yearly inspections. Plumbers have plumbing cameras that can fit inside plumbing pipes. This allows plumbers to see if there are any cracks or clogs in the pipes before they become expensive repairs. They can also pressure test potable water pipes in order to determine if you have any leaks. By finding small problems early and keeping your pipes well-maintained, you are reducing your short and long-term plumbing repair bills. Not to mention, your water bill won’t dramatically increase, and you’ll be helping to conserve water by preventing leaks before they happen.

Discover Long-Term Pipe Repair Solutions from NuFlow with Epoxy Pipelining

If you want to avoid leaks and damaged pipes in the present and future, you may want to consider epoxy pipelining. Epoxy coatings and pipeliners are an effective way to stop pipe degradation, seal small leaks and cracks and increase your plumbing pipes lifespans. This is because the epoxy coatings and liners create pipes within pipes, meaning that water no longer travels down the host pipe. Instead, it travels down the epoxy pipe. This helps stop corrosion, prevents future leaks, and helps improve long-term water pressure.

If you’re interested in learning more about how epoxy pipelining can help you avoid costly plumbing disasters, don’t hesitate to contact us.