A Quick Guide to Preventing Major Plumbing Issues

Commercial plumbing

Having something go wrong with your plumbing is sure to elicit a groan of despair from almost anyone. It usually signals a pretty major inconvenience and the need to call in a plumbing repair company to troubleshoot whatever went wrong. However, there are measures you can be taking in the interim to help you avoid a major plumbing catastrophe. This can help you save money and hassle in the long term, especially if something goes wrong with the plumbing in a commercial building. (Commercial buildings can have an even tougher time maintaining plumbing, because there’s a higher flow of people in and out of the building and they can’t necessarily control how individuals treat the plumbing system.) However, if you do have a plumbing issue, it’s important to call a plumbing repair company to come fix whatever went wrong instead of trying to do it yourself!
What Usually Causes the Need for Plumbing Repair?
All that pretty landscaping outside your hotel or business? Be careful! Tree roots are often the perpetrators behind broken plumbing pipes. A tree’s root system can grow 12 to 36 inches underneath the soil, but can also spread out horizontally by as much as two to three times the canopy’s diameter, and infiltrate sewer lines. So even if you think you’ve placed your trees far enough away from any important plumbing lines, keep those tree roots in mind!
An older plumbing or sewer system can also be at fault. For example, clay pipes (that were popular up until the 1980s) are particularly at risk to be breached and ruined by roots. If you own an older building, find out if you have clay pipes — you might want to just get them replaced altogether. Additionally, if your sewer is over 40 years old, you might just want to consider replacing it.
Humans can also be at fault for plumbing malfunctions. A buildup of fat or oil cause almost half of the 36,000 sewer overflows that occur yearly in the United States, both residentially and commercially. If people flush things that don’t break down well (like sanitary products) down the toilets, these can also jam and cause backflow in the plumbing system.
So I Have to Call a Plumbing Repair Company. Now What?
Depending on what the plumbing company is coming to do, you have a couple options. Ideally, if you own a building that services a large number of people who rely on the water (like a hotel), you should have adequate storage to hold a day’s supply of water in case of emergency. This will give you a full day’s coverage while repairs are done, providing your customers or guests with the amenities they require. If there’s a big leak, most plumbing services will be able to slow it down or stop it temporarily so that you can issue a 24-hour notice to your residents about the status of the water in the building. This allows them to make other plans (if they need to) and you’re lessening the risk of water damage to your building.
What Can I Do to Minimize My Need For a Plumbing Repair Company?
Emergencies and accidents happen, so there’s a good chance you’ll still need the expert and professional help of plumbing repair services, but there are ways you can take care of your plumbing and sewer system. Following the International Plumbing Code (often abbreviated IPC) will help you follow the minimum regulations for preventing backflow, regulating sanitary drainage, water heaters, etc. It’s adopted on the state or local levels in around 35 states at the present time, but if your state doesn’t have it as a matter of law, it’s still not a bad idea to implement.
Having a plumber come inspect your plumbing and/or sewer lines annually is also a good idea. They might be able to nip any problems in the bud or alert you to repairs that aren’t a problem now, but could be in the future.
Don’t let a major plumbing crisis become the norm for your building. If you stay aware and are proactive about maintaining your sewer lines and plumbing system, you can help mitigate many plumbing problems.