Is Your Geographic Location Impacting Your Piping Systems?

November 29, 2017

Don’t be fooled by the Data Sheets!    

All good things must eventually come to an end. The plumbing piping system on your property? Yes, that too will eventually become prone to the effects of the environment and surroundings (as well as several other factors). In order to foresee future maintenance expenditures and plan for overall property improvement, knowing how your pipes are affected is vital.

The first and most obvious factor to be considered is the type of material used to make your pipes. While the lifespan of copper, galvanized steel or polybutylene will vary, it is important to look beyond the textbook data. Your geographical location can be just as important.

So why is it that certain areas around the United States are experiencing faster pipe failures? Isn’t the average lifespan of steel 50 years? There is a reason that certain states are seeing 10 plus years cut off their pipes lifespan.

In order to understand these occurrences, it is important to study the environmental factors that these regions are faced with. The quality of the water in these regions has a direct impact on the piping. According to a study conducted by the National Water-Quality Assessment program (NWQA), different regions of the country have a larger amount of water hardness.

The Fairfax County Water Authority explains, “Hard water requires more soap and synthetic detergents for home laundry and washing, and contributes to scaling in boilers and industrial equipment. Hardness is caused by compounds of calcium and magnesium, and by a variety of other metals. Water is an excellent solvent and readily dissolves minerals it comes in contact with. As water moves through soil and rock, it dissolves very small amounts of minerals and holds them in solution. Calcium and magnesium dissolved in water are the two most common minerals that make water “hard”.”

While the hardness of water does not directly impact the health of humans, it does cause scaling in our piping systems and mechanical equipment. When your pipes develop scaling, the effects are noticeable and detrimental. The efficiency of your water heaters can lower, you can experience more pipes clogging and most important, it shortens the lifespan of the piping systems themselves.

The USGS sums it up well by stating, “Just as in the human body where blood vessels can be reduced in inside diameter due to cholesterol buildup, water pipes can gradually close up resulting in less water volume flow through the pipe and a lowering of water pressure.”

Knowing the quality of water and environmental impacts in your geographic location can help you plan and assess for the future.  The “national averages” that you are informed of when purchasing and installing your new systems are to be taken with a grain of salt (or magnesium).  Don’t be caught off guard if your pipes need replacing several years earlier than expected.

Contact DRF Water Heating Solutions to set up your water assessment and discuss your specific needs with one of our experts.