As a property manager, it's critical that you stay on top of your water supply and drain lines. Failure to have your pipes inspected and repaired in a timely manner can lead to catastrophic consequences, including pipe blowouts, extensive water damage and high water bills. Here are four things you need to know about the pipes you're responsible for:
- Plumbing pipe age
As a general rule, you can expect your water supply pipes and risers to last between 20 and 70 years. Drain lines are usually manufactured to last more than 75 years, providing they are not infiltrated by roots or clogged with grease and debris. As a property manager, it's wise to take the time to determine the ages of your pipes and schedule regular camera inspections and maintenance services to help prevent problems before they lead to plumbing failures in your multi-unit residential building.
- Pipe materials
Knowing what your plumbing pipes are made of will allow you to research the expected lifespans and benefits and drawbacks so that you can develop a short and long-term repair and replacement plan.
In general, copper has a long lifespan of more than 50 years. However, it is susceptible to pinhole leaks and leaks in the bends, joints and seams, and the seams may be sealed with lead-based solder.
If your building was built between 1930 and 1980, it may contain galvanised steel pipes, which are prone to rusting and low water pressure. If the pipes rust, they could contaminate your drinking water with lead and develop leaks.
Copper pipes are designed to last up to 70 years and perform very well as hot water supply lines. Since copper pipes cannot easily be bent without kinking them, they are typically connected with fittings and elbows, which can leak over time.
If your building is newer, it probably contains polypropylene water pipes. These pipes are generally durable and do not have an expected end-of-life date unless they are installed incorrectly (or damaged during installation), exposed to sunlight or punctured by sharp rocks or incompatible materials.
PVC pipes are now used for sewer pipes. It is resistant to corrosion however, roots can often easily penetrate through this material and it can often be brittle due to the lightweight material.
- The extent of plumbing repairs made over the last six to 12 months
Waiting until your plumbing pipes fail and then fixing them is not a good financial plan, especially if all your pipes are the same age. In multi-unit complexes having one section repaired may not address the issues with other pipes. Regular inspections will prove to save maintenance costs and improve the plumbing system.
Creating a short-term repair plan to fix the most critical plumbing pipes in your building and a long-term plan for the less critically damaged pipes can save you money and keep your water system running smoothly.
- Trenchless pipe restoration is less expensive and disruptive than excavation and replacement of pipes
Replacing all of your water supply lines and drain lines is daunting and expensive, and does not compare well with pipe relining. Nuflow pipe relining fixes pipes permanently and makes them stronger than the original pipes.
Pipe relining has many other side benefits. For water pipes, the epoxy coating used prevents lead and other contaminates from leaching into drinking water. It also stops leaks and halts further corrosion. In drainage pipes, relining restores structural integrity without destruction and with minimal equipment required. Nuflow pipe restoration methods are also far less costly than traditional pipe replacement.
As a property manager, it is worth scheduling a thorough pipe inspection and getting a fixed price quote on relining any damaged pipes by calling us on 1800 683 569 within Australia or 0800 168356 in New Zealand.