Leaky plumbing? Consider the long-term benefits of a pipe replacement.
Recurring leaks in your plumbing, whether due to material defects or age, can be one of the worst problems you and your renters experience. Failing pipes disrupt the lives of residents and can lead to mold issues, foul smells, personal property claims, and damage to your building’s structure. If this sounds familiar, it may be time to stop increasing your operational and maintenance budgets to deal with the problem and consider a pipe replacement.
Signs of Trouble
One of the first signs of a faulty plumbing system is more frequent leaks. They can occur, for example, in your domestic (i.e., drinking water) supply, your HVAC hydronic piping, and your sanitary drain lines. In addition to leaks, you can detect plumbing failures by sudden changes in water pressure, discolored water, metallic taste, or sewage odors. You might see damage like oxidization and corrosion of metal pipes. You may even notice higher water bills that can’t be explained by increased usage or prices. Another tell-tale sign is that your plumbing problems are not just more frequent but also more severe.
If you’re still not sure whether a piping system is failing, obtain a professional inspection right away.
Solutions for Failed Piping
You have a few options to repair failing pipes:
- You can continue to ask your plumber to make ad hoc repairs, but treating a systemic issue in a piecemeal way doesn’t solve the problem. Service calls include direct and indirect costs like opening and closing walls to access pipes, repairing common areas, compensating residents for property damages, and dealing with their frustrations about water shut-offs. Of course, frustrations can lead to increased renter turnover and negative online reviews that hurt your reputation and ability to demand market rates.
- You can consider treatments for elongating the use of your pipes. One of these is epoxy lining. However, it’s often very difficult for installers to do correctly in smaller diameter pipes that make up most residential plumbing. When the lining is not installed properly, you’ll end up paying to fix your piping twice—once to line the pipes and again to replace them when the lining hasn’t worked. You might also use a water treatment system if your problem is in the domestic supply line and the pipes are made with certain types of metal. It’s a stopgap that uses non-toxic chemicals to temporarily halt pinhole leaks, giving you time to plan for a longer-term solution.
- You can replace your failed piping system. This is a long-lasting fix, effectively resetting the clock on your building. New piping often means new warrantees and decades of trouble-free plumbing. If you’re concerned that a repipe project would be too expensive or intrusive, you can find providers who manage it efficiently with minimal disruptions. It’s one of the best capital expense projects for a solid return on investment.
Eric Lecky is the Chief Growth Officer for SageWater with more than 20 years of consulting and operational management experience focused on designing and building programs to drive improved business performance at all stages: from brand awareness, pipeline management, and sales to back-office infrastructure and corporate culture. He is passionate about leadership, growth, change management, and cultural evolution and seeks to inspire those he works with through empowerment, coaching, and helping others successfully achieve their personal and professional goals.