Preventative plumbing maintenance is the first step to avoiding the worst problems.
Plumbing problems are a fact of life—they’re going to happen, no matter what. You have one of two options: wait for problems to manifest and try to deal with the unexpected expenses (and headache), or you can be proactive about your plumbing.
Life with Pipes
Let’s all take a moment and pause in reflection: How GREAT is modern plumbing? It’s just one of those things that pretty much everyone takes for granted. It’s also one of those things we immediately realize we cannot live without once it’s not working properly.
Being proactive about your plumbing maintenance is essential to the success of your business. Plumbing problems must be addressed immediately. Ignoring plumbing problems? Not an option in your commercial building. Water damage is far more costly than proactively hiring a plumber to fix the problem immediately.
Commercial Plumber Selection
Don’t wait to try and find a qualified commercial plumber when you’re already in desperate need. It can take a bit of time, along with some trial-and-error, to find the right plumbing service. This is the first part of being proactive—develop a working relationship with a great plumber before you have problems.
There are all sorts of plumbing services offered, but the two main categories are Residential and Commercial. Residential is pretty self-explanatory, but there are various sub-categories of commercial plumbers. From light to heavy industrial, and from building to general commercial, the demands and regulations on the commercial plumbing industry are expansive. A company specializing in industrial plumbing, for example, offers different expertise than one focused on new building construction or general commercial plumbing service. Therefore, finding the right service for your needs will take some time.
If your business is a bar or restaurant, hotel, or an apartment building, then you’re definitely a commercial property. Finding a commercial plumber that specializes in your specific building demands is a worthy task. Once you’ve found a service you’re happy with, you’ll need to develop a working relationship.
The best way to do this is to develop a regular maintenance schedule.
Regularly Scheduled Plumbing Maintenance
The proactive way to stay on top of your plumbing needs is to develop and implement a regular maintenance schedule with your plumbing service. They will routinely perform assessments on your entire plumbing system, giving you an accurate and current understanding of your building’s specific needs. Being pro-active has budget advantages too: you’ll be able to plan maintenance schedules in advance and in line with your budget.
Your plumber will not only help maintain your systems, but they’ll also be able to provide you with options for upgrading to more energy- and water-efficient units. Upgrading will extend the life of your various plumbing systems, and will save you in overall costs as well. More money is always a good thing!
Most Common Plumbing Problems
Nearly all your plumbing problems are due to wear-and-tear, which is why functioning plumbing requires regular maintenance. Other plumbing problems arise from building-related issues, such as building age, foundation settling/shifting, and outdated, poorly performing construction materials used during a certain time period. Below are the most common plumbing problems that your commercial building will encounter.
Faucet and Fixture Leaks
A leaky faucet costs you money with every drip. Wasting up to 3,000 gallons of water each year, these leaks are almost always caused by worn out gaskets and O-rings (round rubber washers), and other sealing mechanism failure. Water damage is another issue you must consider—a leaky fixture can not only destroy the area surrounding it, but left unattended, can cause structural damage as well.
Water Temperature Problems
Too hot to wash your hands? Too cold? Don’t have enough hot water when you need it? These are generally signs your water heater might need an adjustment. If your water heater is leaking, it’s probably failing. (But not all leaks are created equal—NEVER mess with a leaky water heater or block off leaks or valves. Your water heater could explode.)
Commercial water heaters need maintenance and replacing just like everything else. It’s important to hire a trained water heater technician—don’t trust just any plumber to fix your commercial water heating equipment!
Clogged Toilets & Drains
We’ve all had these types of problems. Yuck! Slow draining is usually the first indication of a drain problem. Watch for toilets that require constant plunging. Backups are not something you ever want to deal with. Clogged drains can mean overflowing, which ultimately means water damage.
Toilets can leak silently 24/7 and you’d never know. So can pipes and fixtures. Wasting thousands of gallons of water a year, a quietly leaking toilet or pipe can be an astronomical burn on your cash flow – and cause major sticker shock when you open your water bill. Get your toilet tested and always leave the repairs to your professional plumber. And keep an eye on your water bill for unexplained and/or significant increases – this could be a sign of a silent leak lurking in your building.
Other Plumbing Concerns
Other common plumbing issues and concerns are typically within the realm of expertise of your professional plumbing service. From handicapped plumbing needs, crawl space plumbing, unit updating, upgrading to energy-efficient equipment, garbage disposals and more, an experienced local plumber can help with your plumbing problems.
Remember: To keep a healthy plumbing system, your first line of defense is getting routine check-ups via a regular maintenance schedule with a plumber you trust.
Image “Pipes” courtesy of Flickr user Bob5D licensed under CC by 2.0.
Featured image courtesy of Flickr user bradleypjohnson. Post image courtesy of Flickr user Eli Duke. Images licensed under CC by 2.0.