Compared to residential plumbing, commercial property plumbers must deal with larger pipes and a much higher volume of water usage. This is why it’s best to hire a plumber with extensive commercial plumbing experience.
When we think of high-rise buildings, we often picture startling skyscrapers that are the hallmark of cities around the world. However, there are a great many types of high-rise buildings, and they all have one thing in common: They need perfectly functioning plumbing.
The definition of a high-rise building is pretty straightforward: It’s any occupied floor that is 75 feet or more above the lowest level where fire department vehicles can access it. Generally speaking, these buildings are used for offices, apartments and hotels. Some have a mix of both commercial and residential space, and others are dedicated to one type or the other.
Plumbing in high-rise buildings is complex and challenging. There is not much plumbing code language that specifically addresses how a high-rise should be designed in order to save energy and water, and provide the owner and occupants with a sustainable and safe installation. Most of the code language is confined to backflow prevention, minimum and maximum pressures, and waste and vent stack sizing.
If a toilet in a high-rise building doesn’t work correctly, it can affect the entire building. This is why it’s important to have a plumber on hand who understands the unique challenges of working in these types of buildings. It’s also important to have a plumber who can handle the use of specialized equipment like hydrojetting, which uses pressurized water to clear away clogs and wash them into the city sewer system.
Commercial Buildings with Multiple Floors
A plumbing system for a commercial building needs to have the capacity to handle hundreds of users on a daily basis. This means the pipes must be larger to accommodate the extra pressure.
A regular home gets by with three-quarter-inch supply lines, but a large office building or mall may require supply lines that are 4-inches or 6-inches in diameter. These larger pipes must handle higher volumes of water and are more expensive to install, but they’ll save money in the long run on utilities costs.
Commercial plumbers also work with special tools and equipment that are different from those used in homes. For example, industrial-grade water pressure pumps are a must for working on high-rise buildings, and hydro-jetting is used to remove stubborn blockages that wouldn’t be removed with a snake.
Unlike residential plumbing, which is generally done during normal business hours, commercial plumbing services are required during evenings and weekends when many businesses operate. This is especially important for offices and retail centers, which need to stay open during these times.
In addition to working during off-hours, commercial plumbers must also be prepared to respond to emergency calls at any time of day or night. The last thing a company wants is for an issue to slow down productivity and lead to revenue loss, so it must be ready to react quickly when problems arise.
Commercial Buildings with Multiple Toilets and Sinks
When compared to the relatively simple plumbing system of a home, commercial buildings have much more toilets, sinks and other facilities. That’s why it takes a skilled commercial plumber to map out and install the pipe network that will serve all these different areas in a large building.
A big commercial plumbing job includes figuring out what size pipes are needed to handle the flow of water and waste. This requires knowledge of local codes and regulations, as well as the ability to work with a wide range of materials. It also involves identifying the best location for plumbing fixtures and piping, so they can be easily accessible and won’t impede the flow of air or water.
Commercial plumbing also encompasses maintaining or replacing these systems. Some of the most common problems include fixture leaks, low water pressure and clogged sewer lines. The latter problem can be caused by a variety of factors, including a fully open water meter valve, failing pressure regulators or old galvanized pipes.
A sewer clog can cause nasty smells that expels patrons and discourages them from returning to your business. It can also cause sanitary conditions to deteriorate and even lead to lawsuits. To prevent this, commercial plumbers use special tools to clear even the most stubborn drain clogs. They can also repair or replace touchless faucets and toilet sensors, which are great for improving sanitation and convenience but can malfunction from time to time.
Commercial Buildings with Multiple Drain Lines
While a home may have multiple drain lines from water appliances, commercial buildings have one large main line that all branch off into. This means if the main line experiences a clog, all of the smaller drain lines will back up as well. This type of plumbing problem can lead to unsanitary conditions and noncompliance with regulations if it is not resolved quickly.
A commercial building’s plumbing system also includes a vent that allows air to enter pipes and equalize the pressure of wastewater while allowing sewer gas to escape outside the building. If this vent becomes blocked or broken, sewer gas can leak into the building, creating a health hazard for employees and customers.
Commercial plumbers use a variety of pipe materials when installing and servicing commercial plumbing systems. These include copper, stainless steel, and cast iron. Copper is safe for both hot and cold water supplies, resists corrosion better than most other metals, and holds up to high pressure. Cast iron is often used for fire sprinkler lines and in floor drains because it is strong enough to withstand heavy loads.
Lastly, most commercial drains have a trap that uses a small amount of sitting water to hold waste and prevent odors. If this trap dries out, waste can begin to accumulate and cause problems for the entire plumbing system. Luckily, a professional plumber can easily restore the proper water and waste flow in any drain line.