We are a re-piping company, that’s all we do
The corrosiveness of Vancouver’s “soft” water causes the copper pipe used in many buildings to “erode” from the inside. As the water flows through the pipe over many years, the corrosive nature of our water slowly thins the copper piping’s wall. Eventually the wall becomes too weak in one area and the pressure of the water inside the piping causes a pinhole leak. These leaks can be small enough that it may take days for the water to show up. Or they can show up quickly if the hole is larger.
The copper piping that was manufactured in the 1990’s and earlier, was of substandard quality and below the required wall thickness, further shortening its lifespan.
Until plumbing codes changed in the early 1990’s, copper water piping was installed allowing for smaller pipe diameters than today’s codes. This caused the water to move at a high velocity inside the piping system, and thus resulted in pipe walls “eroding” sooner.
It was permissible twenty or more years ago to install “semi-hard” copper pipe that was bendable. Even if this was done with a proper bending tool, this procedure would cause the pipe to be stretched on the outside portion of the bend. This would mean a decrease in the pipe’s wall thickness, which today can result in a stress crack or pinhole leak.
Contact between different metals can create electrolysis. This can also cause corrosion in the piping system. This can be caused by steel pipe hangers contacting copper piping directly, with no insulating tape or barrier.
During the 1990’s a popular choice for domestic water piping in apartment buildings was CPVC (Chlorinated polyvinyl chloride) piping. It was inexpensive, easy to install (glued together) and quieter than copper piping. Unfortunately in many instances it was not installed properly and the high expansion ratio on the hot piping has resulted in pipes cracking due to stress. The piping material also becomes brittle and difficult to repair. Many buildings are being forced to replace their CPVC piping system due to the frequency of pipe breaks and the catastrophic results.
Polybutylene piping (Poly-b) was installed in many buildings in the Lower Mainland from the late 70’s to the late 90’s. It’s use was discontinued due to the failure of the piping. The chlorination of the drinking water resulted in the pipe and fittings weakening and eventually breaking down. Many stratas are discovering that their insurance providers are raising deductibles or refusing to insure the buildings at all.
Presently in many cases insurance providers are raising deductibles to the point where the policies are not really providing reasonable coverage. The deductibles are being raised so high that the insurer is taking away any risk of paying for damages and repairs.
Discuss with your insurer the benefits of repiping your building or complex.