by Frank Salemi and Peter Todorofsky
Your car’s engine and your building’s plumbing have something in common. Both get taken for granted until something goes wrong. Just as routine maintenance and careful observations can prolong the life of your car, the same diligence with plumbing can help to reduce your overall costs and improve the longevity of your pipes and fixtures. In fact, proper maintenance and wise investments in the right types of plumbing for your building, can also reduce the overall costs for your entire building.
The following are some helpful tips for preventing major expenses down the road, and for ensuring the investment in your building’s plumbing brings you a good return:
1) Fix Problems as they Arise
When it comes to plumbing, the quicker you can notice, address, and fix a problem, the better it is for your building and for your pocketbook.
Problems such as leaking pipes or backed up drains are fairly simple to repair, however if they are not addressed in proper time they can add up to more issues down the road. A leaking pipe that is not fixed immediately, for example, will cause you to spend more time and money to fix with issues such as water damage to surrounding areas and the possibility of mold developing.
The best practice for any owner of a residential building is to take a proactive
approach to their building. Frequent inspections and keeping a watchful eye on your building’s plumbing will save you money and frustration in the long run.
2) Take Care of Leaking Taps and Toilets
Leaking taps are a normal occurrence especially in older buildings where there haven’t been upgrades to the kitchen and/or bathroom fixtures. Most tenants, however, will stall to report these leaks and will just live with the incessant dripping for a time.
These leaks are literally washing your income down the drain. Did you know that the average single leaking toilet can waste up to 200,000 litres of water annually? That’s just one toilet. Imagine if you had a number of toilets leaking in the same building... it really adds up!
In order to avoid paying extra for water every month there are three key steps you must take in your building. First, make it a priority for your property manager or superintendent to address leaky plumbing service requests immediately. Secondly, during annual inspections, have your property manager keep an eye out for leaks in the bathrooms and kitchens. Lastly, post a notice to your tenants asking for their assistance in dealing with leaks. Encourage them to file a report as soon as they are aware of a problem with the taps and let them know you will address it as quickly as possible. In buildings where your tenants pay their own utilities, it is in their best interest to do so.
3) Insulating Pipes
In most apartment building utility rooms, the plumbing pipes are exposed to allow easy access for repairs and upgrades. These exposed pipes can often “sweat” during the summer months and if temperatures reach low enough in the winter months, can lead to freezing - cracking the pipes and causing major damage. Either way, it is a good practice to insulate any exposed pipes. This will improve the longevity of your system and prevent any water damage from the pipes leaking or bursting.
4) Upgrade your Old Plumbing
If it’s time for you to upgrade the plumbing in your building, you should be looking at ways to get the most for your investment dollars. There are cheap ways to upgrade and there are inexpensive ways. There is a difference! Most people look first to the bottom line and go with the cheap option but this can only lead to further expenses down the line. The priority should be placed on finding a plumbing system that is right for your overall budget but will provide your building with the service that will pay for itself in the long run.
There are many different types of plumbing - all with their own benefits. When choosing what type of plumbing (such as CPVC, copper, etc) to use on your building, you want to find the one that will last the most amount of time and require the least amount of maintenance.
One type of system that has been proven cost efficient and time saving is known as “AquaRise”. It's a CPVC hot and cold water distribution system which is quickly becoming the choice over copper piping because it is strong, highly-engineered, and affordable. Choosing a system such as AquaRise will ensure you have less issues with “sweating” and longer, maintenance-free use in your building.
As an owner of a multi-residential building, you focus on the bottom line to get the most out of your investment. By being watchful of your plumbing system and making the right choices regarding repairs and upgrades, you will save yourself valuable time and money.