If you own or manage a commercial building or multifamily property that is experiencing leaks in your piping systems, then you must make a decision on how to deal with the problem.
Depending on the severity of a piping system leakage or failure, a property owner may have the option of choosing between a complete repipe, installing a pipe lining or engaging in pipe restoration.
A repipe is the complete replacement of all or a section of a building’s piping system. A lining is an epoxy coating that creates a barrier inside the pipe that stops leaks. A restoration is the use of chemicals in the water supply to stop leaks.
For repiping a water supply line, your choices of pipe include copper, PVC and other plastic types, and PEX, which is the newest type of piping material. PEX is quickly gaining popularity because of its flexibility, ease of installation and low cost.
Repiping is the most expensive option, followed by lining, followed by chemical restoration. Ultimately, there is no replacement for pipe replacement, so to speak. Both pipe lining and pipe restoration are meant to extend the life of a pipe but will not add as much life as new pipes.
Seek the help of a qualified repipe expert to determine which option is best for you and provides the best long-term return on your investment.
The market for pipes for water delivery is strong. Recent research suggested that demand for water pipe is increasing at a rate of more than 7% per year. Much of this growth is due to demand in industrializing countries, led by China, which accounts for the largest part of the growth.
But make no mistake, with an aging nationwide infrastructure, demand will continue to be strong in the United States as well.
For many urban areas of the U.S., the greatest periods of expansion and infrastructure construction occurred in the early twentieth century. The typical life expectancy of a metal supply pipe is around a century. These facts certainly suggest that there are many water supply pipes in this country that are due for failure.
Make no mistake – we are entering an era in which public water utilities throughout the United States are being forced to deal with the problem of water supply systems that are in need of replacement. But not just public supply lines – the pipes in many aging buildings that grew up along with their host cities have the same problem.
The demand for supply line piping is likely to continue due to the combination of aging infrastructures and the need for piping in developing nations.
Here is the easy answer to the question of if your building needs a repipe: if you think you do, then the answer is probably YES! Especially if your building is older, there is a very good chance that the tale tale signs of pipe leakage indicate that you have failing pipes.
Here are things to look for:
Discolored water. Corroding metal can actually flake off into the water supply streaming through it, often tinting it a reddish color. If your water is red, you may have a problem.
Poor water pressure. As corrosion builds up inside pipes, it will choke the water supply, leading to low or inconsistent water pressure.
Extreme water temperate fluctuations. When hot water lines deteriorate, debris can travel through the pipes and become lodged in anti-scalding devices that are often incorporated into water systems. When these devices malfunction, water may get too hot.
Minor recurring leaks. Minor leaks can be an important indicator of major problems happening in the entire piping system.
Noise in the plumbing system. A properly working piping system should be silent. Noises are indication of blockages or other problems that could eventually lead to complete failure.
So does your building need a complete repipe? To know for sure, seek the help of a qualified pipe replacement professional.