As a Chicago property manager, out of sight, out of mind could lead to significant problems. Things like worn carpeting, broken glass, and lighting issues are easily identified and taken care of. Unseen problems with your building’s plumbing, however, are another story. Many managers will take the approach that if it is not broken, don’t worry about it. That can result in big plumbing problems, especially if your building was built before 2000. If the building you manage was constructed before then, it likely has water pipes that are either made of galvanized steel or copper. While both have long lifespans, they are far from indestructible.
Galvanized and Zinc-Coated Steel Pipes
Galvanized or zinc-coated steel pipes are heavy and generally have a gray coloring. While durable, ithey do have a lifespan that is limited. The zinc coating in the pipe will eventually break down. That can lead to internal corrosion. It may not manifest itself with a major failure initially. The effects of galvanized or zinc-coated corrosion may first be seen in reduced water pressure. By the time you notice the reduced water pressure, the pipes may be close to being entirely clogged.
Copper pipes are very popular in older buildings due to their light weight and strength. They also absorb heat well and have a long lifespan. If your copper pipes have turned dark brown and/or green, they are showing signs of age. Copper can not only develop pin holes and clog, they frequently have problems where lead solder may have been used in joints where sections or fittings are connected.
Along with wear due to age, a building’s water pipes may have been compromised with a series of less-than-adequate previous repairs. If a building’s water pipes are not properly secured, they can rattle and that movement can lead to failure as well.
Paying Attention to your Building’s Pipes
Some Chicago building managers will completely ignore potential plumbing problems unless they see a leak, signs of a leak, or get a complaint about water pressure. This wait and see attitude can create multiple future big plumbing problems:
- Inconvenience to tenants when repair becomes a large scale project
- Costly pipe replacement
- Tearing into walls and ceilings of residents to replace piping
- Damage to other areas of the property
- Managing from a crisis standpoint
If your building has been experiencing an increasing amount of plumbing issues or is older than 20 years, it is time to be proactive. Pipes should be inspected and problems anticipated not just reacted to. The good news is that there is a convenient more cost effective solution to pipe replacement. It is an innovative epoxy-based pipe relining system from Nu Flow Midwest.
Pipe relining from Nu Flow Midwest restores corroded or eroded pipes without costly and disruptive pipe replacement. Nu Flow’s pipe relining system involves cleaning and drying your building’s pipes from the inside. Once clean and dried, a safe, epoxy pipe coating is introduced to fill any leaks and to reline the pipe’s interior. The process can add decades to the lifespan of your building’s water pipes and serve to prevent problems in the future.
Don’t be reactive, be proactive with your building’s aging and corroded plumbing pipes by paying attention to what is behind your building walls.