Steel pipes are known for their high-quality and versatility, which is why you’ll find them in many applications. Some examples would be the construction industry, which uses pipes for structural and plumbing. Automotive companies also make use of steel pipes in building vehicle chassis, frameworks, and components for exhaust systems. Whatever the use, steel pipes continue to be a reliable option.
Like with many materials, steel pipes won’t be stranger to inevitable wear and tear. Homeowners that use these piping materials for fluids in water transmission and gas pumps, for example, may find that the pipes may be prone to leaks and damages. Similarly, construction steel pipes may need to be replaced ever so often, especially when proper maintenance isn’t done.
Whatever the case, it’s crucial that you understand how to extend the life of your steel pipes. While they may be useful for a variety of purposes, they need to be taken care of so that you can maximize their use. From conducting simple physical checks to lowering water pressure, you can have sturdy pipes that can last for several decades. Read on to learn more.
Inspect Them Regularly
When dealing with plumbing pipes or any type of steel pipe for that matter, inspecting them helps you address any root concerns. The inspection method that you will conduct for your pipes may vary. It depends on the scale and complexity of the piping network.
A small residential home, for example, may require only visual inspections from a certified professional, such as a plumber. Other industries, on the other hand, may make use of more advanced techniques such as deploying a small crawler bot to detect any damage inside the walls of the pipes.
Since most homeowners will have to deal with a number of piping issues, conducting visual assessments is the key. This is oftentimes the case with exposed piping, such as those located above ground or in basement areas. Some things to watch out for are visible signs of damage — corrosion, cracks, leaks, holes, deteriorated portions, and the like. It’s recommended that inspections be done annually, or every two years. For older homes — especially those that make use of cast iron pipes — inspections may be more frequent. Keep this in mind when you’re examining pipes on your own.
Understand the Lifespan of the Pipes
To understand how you can properly maintain steel pipes, you should also know the exact specifications regarding their shelf life. As mentioned before, older homes — especially those built in the 1960s up until the ‘80s — may use cast iron pipes.
Made out of ferric substances, cast iron pipes will corrode much faster, for both above-ground and underground installations, but they generally last for about 50 years. In comparison, steel pipes can last twice the lifetime of cast iron pipes, provided that they undergo constant maintenance.
A good tip is to identify what kind of pipes you currently have at home or in your building. If you have steel pipes, then make sure they have been installed correctly and that they are specifically manufactured for their corresponding use. Likewise, when you’re finding the right materials in replacement for your old steel pipes, it’s also best to ask your manufacturer about their longevity after in-service use.
Avoid Contact with Other Metals
Issues regarding the quality and structural integrity of your steel pipes are more often than not, attributed to a number of overlapping factors. Corrosion is one of them, which manifests as rusted and oxidized layers on the pipe’s surface. Prolonged chemical exposure to other materials is one of them. Although a natural occurrence, when left unaddressed, it can speed up the wear and tear on the pipes.
To reduce the impact of chemical reactions on the pipe surfacing, make sure that they’re installed strategically. Hire only qualified professionals and experts to lay out your steel pipes and where they should be placed. You can also have your steel pipes insulated with vapor retarder materials or vapor barriers. These materials can protect the pipes from both undue chemical changes as well as moisture that may lead to deformation and damage.
Reduce Water Pressure
Reducing water pressure for plumbing pipes is another effective way of lengthening their life span. If you don’t already know, all pipes have to undergo testing during manufacturing. These tests can either be destructive or non-destructive. The ultimate goal is to determine if the pipes can withstand extreme changes in pressure and temperature when in use. If the pipes are subject to levels way beyond their specified threshold, then they may be due to excessive repair and maintenance more than usual.
To maintain the pipes and also save time, it’s advised that you lower water pressure levels at your house or building. This is best done by your local water supplier who can make adjustments to the flow of water to your structure.
Another alternative is for you to install a water pressure regulator. This part helps limit the flow of water that passes through your pipelines at a safe level before reaching different systems and parts of the home where plumbing is involved. Similarly, the regulator will also indicate if water pressure is too low or too high. This allows you to make adjustments as needed.
In this guide, we’ve tackled a few tips to help you maintain your steel pipes better. They’re considered to be high-quality materials, built for everyday use for homes and different buildings. But as always, improper maintenance can lead to irreparable damage and other issues.
Maintaining pipes can be done in a variety of ways. Conducting visual inspections, understanding their lifespan, reducing water pressure, and installing them in such a way that they won’t get affected by other metals. Practice these consistently and you’ll definitely end up with formidable steel pipes that may even last for 100 years.