Common problems for commercial plumbing and how to prevent them

Common problems for commercial plumbing and how to prevent them

Plumbing problems can be similar in both residential and commercial areas. While plumbers are used to fixing leaking toilets and block pipes in commercial and residential properties, commercial properties can run into more immense challenges. Commercial properties have much larger plumbing systems and have different challenges, including much larger daily usage of water volumes, dealing with more users, water pressure issues, permit issues and larger-scaled pipes and hydraulic system issues.

Households will deal with similar plumbing issues over and over because generally most houses have similar amounts of people living in them and residential problems are quite similar, but in commercial properties many different issues can arise.

Here are a few common commercial plumbing issues:

Blocked Drains

Like in a home, kitchen drains can be the most commonly blocked drains in a commercial property because of what is washed down them. To avoid blockages, refrain from dumping greases, fats, starches, coffee grounds and other hardened foods. Commercial kitchens need to be vigilant with vast amounts of constant food preparation and cleaning.  Commercial pipes are much different in terms of size, durability and grading but still can have blockages because of the continuous use.

Blocked toilets

In residential homes, if a toilet is blocked, you may have a second one, and there may only be a few people in the house who are being put out by the inconvenience. But in commercial buildings, when toilets are blocked, it can throw an entire business out of productivity, with the need of so many people needing a bathroom. The potential for damages increases when you’re dealing with multiple floors, and many toilets and people. Health risks are also considerable concern.

Health issues

Companies are obliged to keep their plumbing extremely clean and up to date with maintenance because of their employees and any customers who visit. This especially concerns restaurants and other companies that deal with food. They need to follow strict health care laws and ensure the high hygiene of their plumbing. Without strict health protocol and companies not fixing a commercial plumbing issue at the first sign of a problem, it can lead to potential legal issues arising down the track.

Water discolouration

Sometimes when the water changes colour it’s not always a sign there’s a problem, especially in rural areas, but if a business goes from having clear water to discoloured water, it’s a sign to call a plumber. Dark or brown water can often be a sign of pipe corrosion, depositing rust in the pipes, especially in older buildings. A commercial plumber will assess whether a pipe needs replacement or an upgrade is required on the building pipes. Depending on when your commercial property was built and whether it’s had professional renovations, you may want to consider upgrading the pipes. Different eras utilised various materials for plumbing systems, including galvanised steel, and iron. Modern plumbing systems use steel, copper, brass, or PVC pipes. PVC pipes need to be generally replaced every 25 – 40 years.

Foul odours

Many people use commercial buildings at once, and it’s easy to see how odours can arise from overused sewage systems. Gases can also build up over time and lead to dangerous sewer leaks if not appropriately treated. Regular plumbing maintenance can prevent severe gas-related leaks, which need to be addressed as soon as possible.

Reduced water pressure

Low water pressure can be an indication that there may be a blockage in the system. Gradual decreases in water pressure usually are not urgent, but a sudden drop in water pressure could mean a broken pipe which requires immediate attention.

Gas leaks

On the first sign of any gas leak, contacting a commercial plumber is vital.

Natural gas is widely used in both residential and commercial properties for heating systems. The biggest concern of a gas leak is the possibility of a fire or explosion so even the smallest spark could be enough for gas to ignite. A gas leak should be seen as an emergency situation requiring an immediate response.

 

Some signs of a gas leak could be the smell of gas or rotten egg smell, visible sights of broken pipes or fittings, bubbles coming up from the ground, hissing or roaring sounds from pipes.

 

Murphy Plumbing offers full installation services for hydraulic systems and commercial plumbing services in commercial properties, including:

  • All pipework, including water, gas & air
  • Drainage systems
  • Sewage systems (including trade waste & food waste)
  • Stormwater pipes
  • Downpipes & gutters
  • Natural gas fitting & LPG installations

Contact us today for any of your commercial or emergency plumbing needs.