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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Commercial water damage

12/30/2020 (Permalink)

frozen pipe This pipe is frozen and could bust causing water damage in your commercial building.

Many – perhaps even most – older commercial buildings are equipped with piping that is very often no longer sound. A system that was state-of-the-art at the time of installation may be a piping type that is now recognized as problematic. Or, it was meant for planned replacement because builders knew that plumbing doesn’t last forever.

Commercial property owners rarely think about a building’s piping system. It’s hidden and if it hasn’t leaked yet, at least obviously, it’s forgotten. But, be warned: it will spring a leak one day, whether it’s a discrete damp spot in one corner or an indoor burst that drenches building materials and displaces tenants. Further, water on upper floors inevitably damages lower floors. Even worse, undetected and hidden leaks prompt mold growth.

Older types of piping fall into several categories. Cost-effective and easy to install, polybutylene piping outfitted millions of buildings from the 1970s to the 1990s. The material was a bust, however, because water treatment chemicals like chlorine make it brittle and prone to breakage. Even if piping remains intact, water quality suffers as chemicals leach into the water. Polybutylene pipe must always be replaced. 

Cast iron or galvanized metal piping suffers from erosion, corrosion, or a combination of the two. Erosion occurs in every metal piping system, water flowing within a pipe creates friction and wears it away. Corrosion, however, is when the metal chemically reacts with water and is a bigger challenge for metal piping. Galvanized iron piping, for example – steel coated with zinc – outfitted many structures built before 1960. Over time, zinc erodes and corrodes pipes, reducing or blocking the flow of water, increasing the risk for leaks, and affecting water quality. Galvanized pipe isn’t reliable for more than 25 years.

Newer commercial structures may be outfitted with stainless steel and copper if construction budgets are lavish. Plastic plumbing types – PEX, PVC, CPVC – may appear in newer installations. Though durable and flexible, they have their own difficulties: vulnerability to freezing conditions or UV degradation. No piping lasts forever.

Should you ever experience water damage due to pipe failure. SERVPRO of Dubuque is ready to make it "Like it never happened.”

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