Do your Chicago building plumbing pipes need restored? Since the vast majority of pipes are located behind walls and in other hard to access places, it can be difficult to determine if you need to repair your pipes with epoxy pipelining, which works well for both potable water pipes as well as drain and sewer lines. In this article, our pipelining technicians at Nu Flow would like to determine if your residential or commercial building or public venue would benefit from plumbing pipe restoration via epoxy pipelining.

1. Are your pipes experiencing some sort of failure or have they experienced a frequent need for repairs or pipe replacements?

If you’ve performed numerous plumbing repairs on your potable water lines or your sewer lines in the last 12 to 24 months or if you know your plumbing pipes are leaking, your Chicago building may benefit from epoxy plumbing pipe restoration. Frequent plumbing leaks can lead to building damage, including mold and mildew inside your walls and water damage to your floors, drywall and ceiling tiles. In severe cases, the amount of water that leaks from your plumbing pipes can cause the wooden structural supports of your building to rot.

Epoxy plumbing pipe restoration stops these problems by sealing leaks and small cracks. The type of epoxy your plumbing pipes receive will depend on whether they are potable water pipes or drain lines. Potable water lines receive an epoxy coating that coats the entire inside of the pipe and seals leaks and cracks. Pipe liners are used on drain and sewer lines. These are essentially a pipe within a pipe. Once the liner cures, structural integrity is restored and leaks, cracks and missing sections of pipe are sealed and/or restored.

2. Are your potable water plumbing pipes leaching chemicals into your drinking water?

Both plastic and metal plumbing pipes can leach chemicals into your drinking water. Metal plumbing pipes are more prone to leaching copper, lead and other heavy metals into your drinking water than plastic pipes, but certain types of plastic pipes may also be able to leach or collect chemicals. According to EWG, there isn’t enough information available to determine if plastic plumbing pipes, like PVC, CPVC and PEX are safe, and in some instances, the plastic pipes, especially PEX, may leach toluene, which is a neurotoxin, and MTBE, which causes cancer. In addition, PEX pipes are specifically known to have strong odors.

Epoxy coatings and liners do not leach harmful chemicals into your building’s drinking water. In fact, our red epoxy coating has been tested and approved for lining potable water pipes by the city of Chicago and the state of Illinois. Epoxy pipe coatings can also be used to seal and repair plastic plumbing pipes as well as metal plumbing pipes, which means you don’t need to make a decision on which type of pipe you want in your building. You can simply choose to have your existing pipes lined.

3. Are there an increasing number of plumbing complaints in your Chicago building?

Low water pressure, leaking pipes and discolored water are all common complaints found in larger high-rise residential buildings and homes. Receiving a few of these, like a clogged toilet or a small leak under a sink, may not mean much when it comes to the status of your entire plumbing building. However, if you are getting reports of water spots on ceilings and walls, wet carpets in rooms that do not have water fixtures and reports of multiple floors having water leaks, your plumbing system may be nearing the end of its useful life.

Thankfully, epoxy coatings and pipe liners can rehabilitate your plumbing pipes without causing additional damage to the finishes or structural components in your building. This is because access points are used to reach your existing plumbing pipes in order to attach the pipe cleaning and lining equipment. This is less invasive than trying to replace your entire plumbing system and less time-consuming.

4. Have you tried another method of pipe repair and it failed?

When buildings start to experience an increase in plumbing pipe problems, the severity of the problem may not be readily realized. In this instance, a plumbing pipe starts to leak. The building owner or homeowner calls a plumber. The plumber comes out, determines which pipe is leaking, cuts through walls or floors in order to reach the pipe and replaces the length of pipe with a new section of pipe. This type of repair is supposed to solve the problem, and the home or building owner should be able to rest easy, knowing that the leak has been fixed. Unfortunately, if all the plumbing pipes are the same age, the owner of the property may experience more leaks within a relatively short period of time.

For example, we recently lined the pipes in a Chicago home where the homeowner was experiencing slab leaks. When they first noticed that the carpet was wet, they called a plumber to repair the leak. The plumber arrived, cut through the flooring and concrete slab and replaced the leaking section of pipe. The homeowners were responsible for taking care of the hole in the floor. If they had only needed on leak repair, this would have been the appropriate solution.

Unfortunately, the homeowners experienced five more slab leaks, resulting in five more holes in the floor. The repair method wasn’t helping to solve the slab leak problem. The minute one section was replaced, the next section started leaking. Eventually, the homeowners contacted us, here at NuFlow, and asked if we could line pipes that were located under a concrete slab. Of course, the answer was yes. We sent our pipelining technicians into the home and all the pipes located under the slab were lined with an epoxy coating. Since the pipelining, the homeowners have not experienced any further slab leaks.

5. Do you need the ability to rehabilitate sections of your pipes without disrupting the entire water supply of the building?

Plumbing pipes can last anywhere from 20 to 50 years, depending on the type of plumbing pipe. Plastic plumbing pipes tend to last longer than plastic, with the exception of galvanized steel which is prone to severe corrosion within 20 years. As your plumbing pipes near the end of their expected useful lives, it’s a good idea to start thinking about plumbing pipe rehabilitation. Of course, most Chicago building owners and property managers first think about plumbing pipe replacement rather than rehabilitation.

Plumbing pipe replacement, even when performed in an orderly manner, can result in large numbers of your residents being without water service for an extended period of time. In the worst case scenarios, your entire building’s water service may be shutoff at the meter until the pipes are replaced. This type of scenario can quickly become intolerable to residents because they cannot cook, clean or shower easily, and if it goes on for multiple days, your residents may start complaining about the lack of water service.

Rehabilitating your plumbing pipes with an epoxy coating or liner results in fewer residents losing their water services, and typically water service is only off during the day while the pipelining technicians are in the building. At night, water service is restored so that your residents can cook, clean and shower. It also takes less time to line pipes than to restore them via pipelining.

Determining if Pipelining Is Right for Your Building

Here at NuFlow, we can evaluate the plumbing pipes in your residential multi-tenant building, home, commercial establishment or public venue or sports arena and determine if they would benefit from epoxy pipe rehabilitation. If your plumbing pipes would benefit from being rehabilitated, we can develop a plan of action that includes which plumbing pipes will be lined and which units will be affected for each stage of the epoxy lining process. It is in this way that your residents will know precisely when their water service will be affected and when our lining technicians will be in the building lining the plumbing pipes.

To learn more about plumbing pipe rehabilitation and to get an estimate for pipelining, give us a call at 815-790-9000.