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  • A Crapity Mess

    There is an apartment complex with 2 seperate buildings. The first building was constructed in the late 60's and is mostly copper drain pipes. The second building was constructed in the early 70's and mostly with cast drains. Both systems are suffering from blocked drains from grease, bacteria, and city water deposits. Both systems also have a history of extremely thin drain pipes and have been the cause of many leak repairs. The complex is also seeing more frequent drain blockages.

    The obvious concern with running a cable is going right through the pipe. This complex is why I am looking to add a jetter. I'm also concerned that a strong jetter blast could cause an equal amount of damage to the remaining pipe. The complex is not in a position to completely begin remodeling and repipe. Are there any other suggestions you can think of for this situation? Chemical treatments? Minimum effective jetter pressure? I know this system is going to nickle and dime them to death. I have also told them my concerns for additional possible damage in the process of attempting to clear blocked lines.

    I would say on average there are no less than 4 drain repairs a year from the thinning pipes.

  • #2
    Re: A Crapity Mess

    I take care of an apartment building that's 5 stories high, and has the exact same problems that you have described. We have been dealing with this building for 15 years now, and we definitely bounce off the walls when we try to fix anything down there. We finally had to give up the drain cleaning part of things in this building because we couldn't keep up. We were getting 7-8 calls a week and it's just 2 of us and we get swamped with other calls from our regular customers. The people that took over for us cleaning the drains already poked holes in the thin cast that we had to fix, and have already did other damage with their jetter.

    We are in the same boat with...this company is not ready to sink the necessary money into the building for a major re-pipe job. Since they don't want to sink the money into this building, we basically have been piecing back the plumbing system 1 pipe at a time. But it's going to come to a point in where they are going to have to call a big mechanical company in to re-pipe this building a section at a time.

    We are dealing with cast and lead drains in this building, and years of them pouring acid down the drains didn't help matters at all.

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    • #3
      Re: A Crapity Mess

      Their issues don't end with the drain lines. The domestic water lines were never reamed when the units were built. So far we are getting about 2 calls a year for that side of the system. Earlier this year the hot water recirc lines needed to be replaced in the mechanical room. The 3/4 L copper was so thin you could crush it flat in your fingers with little effort.

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      • #4
        Re: A Crapity Mess

        Originally posted by Jones Mechanicals View Post
        Their issues don't end with the drain lines. The domestic water lines were never reamed when the units were built. So far we are getting about 2 calls a year for that side of the system. Earlier this year the hot water recirc lines needed to be replaced in the mechanical room. The 3/4 L copper was so thin you could crush it flat in your fingers with little effort.
        So you think this is from pipes not being reamed? In my experience with this thin copper issue, I believe it was from too high velocity pump, or pumps, installed on the hot water return lines. Are the cold water pipes thin too? In alot of those buildings I used to service, I would see huge high velocity pumps installed on hot water return lines, & the pumps ran 24/7. Thats what caused the thinning of hot water pipes, on the jobs I experienced. Never seen the cold side ever do that.

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        • #5
          Re: A Crapity Mess

          Originally posted by Don the plumber View Post
          So you think this is from pipes not being reamed? In my experience with this thin copper issue, I believe it was from too high velocity pump, or pumps, installed on the hot water return lines. Are the cold water pipes thin too? In alot of those buildings I used to service, I would see huge high velocity pumps installed on hot water return lines, & the pumps ran 24/7. Thats what caused the thinning of hot water pipes, on the jobs I experienced. Never seen the cold side ever do that.
          I have seen the lines with too much velocity also. The lines I'm more concerned about on this thread are the sewer lines being thin.

          In response to the pump size, the pumps to my knowledge on this system have been on the smaller side. These pumps would be inline with a Taco 007 or a Grundfos 15-55 on speed 2. The hot side has been the main culprit because as you said, it flows 24/7. The cold side is also showing wear. I have found copper not reamed will cause a cavitation process and cut the life of the pipe in half.

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