As you might expect, a commercial plumbing system works harder than most residential systems. It’s more complex, there are more pipes, drains and fixtures connected together and the cause of problems may be less evident. Many businesses have employee and public restrooms and the water supply needs to be maintained. Minimizing potential downtime is possible with a regularly scheduled inspection and tune-up. But, here are six signs that may indicate a problem in your plumbing system that you can look out for without specialized training and knowledge.
1. Slow Drains
If you notice that the water in your sinks or toilets is slow to drain, this usually means that there is a clog somewhere in the drain pipes. If the problem is isolated to a single sink or toilet, then it could be a localized small clog in the drain opening. If there are multiple drains affected at the same time, the clog is probably located further in the drain pipe. Removing a single drain clog can be attempted with a cup plunger in the sink. If you want to plunge a toilet, make sure the plunger has a flange in the inner circumference of the cup. This rubber flange indicates that it’s a toilet plunger and you can use it on curved surfaces. Another option is to insert a drain augur (snake) into the drain until it comes into contact with the clog and then turn the handle. This drills into the clog to break it apart and the pieces can be flushed away with water. Avoid using chemical drain cleaning products because the caustic chemicals will damage your pipes. If you cannot remove the clog or it returns regularly, contact your local certified plumber because this could indicate a deeper issue.
2. Constantly Dripping Faucets
When a faucet is dripping water constantly, it’s usually caused by a worn out rubber washer in the fixture. This needs to be replaced and you can find a new washer at your local home improvement store. This is a minor repair and anyone with some basic DIY skills can fix this problem, if they have the time. But, it is an essential repair because if it’s left unchecked, it could waste a large volume of water. This will cause a spike in your water bill and if you have a commercial building with multiple leaks it can really add up fast.
3. Discolored Tap Water
If your water is discolored when it comes out of your taps, it could be a sign of corroded pipes. Most discolored water is brown or yellow, but if you notice any other colors, you should contact your local plumber for expert help and advice. Another cause of discoloration is an accumulation of dirt in your water supply, which can be fixed with an inspection and maintenance. If you notice that the water is discolored for a while and then it returns to normal, it could be a sign that the county water system is being repaired.
4. Low Water Pressure
A lack of water pressure can be an annoyance at home, but if it’s affecting an entire commercial building, it’s a huge problem. The most common cause of a drop in water pressure is clogged pipes. This is not a problem that you can solve yourself without professional help. Contact your local certified plumber and get them to inspect your plumbing system. This problem could be fixed with some toilet repairs and drain clearing in many cases.
5. Water Stains
If you see water stains underneath plumbing pipes or on the walls, this is usually caused by a leaking pipe. The network of pipes can be extensive in a larger building and some pipes will be hidden behind walls, in ceiling spaces or under the floors. So, it can be difficult to locate the source of the leak without specialized training and tools. After all, a water leak can occur some distance away from the leak due to dripping and travel along other surfaces. Precise leak detection devices can pinpoint the leak quickly and a plan of action can be made to fix it quickly. In some cases, it may be necessary to repipe the plumbing pipes with up-to-date copper or PEX alternatives depending on the needs of your system. It’s important to contact your plumber quickly because water leaks tend to get much worse over time. A water leak can cause a lot of damage in a short period of time and leaking pipes can burst when you least expect it.
6. Foul Smelling Drains
If you can smell a foul odor emanating from your drains, this could indicate that there is a sewage back. This cause may be a clogged drain or a break in the sewer line that needs an urgent repair. If a sewer backup is not fixed, it can lead to the sewage coming back up into your building. This will represent a health hazard and it’s a messy task to clean it up safely. Contact your local plumber, they can insert a drain line camera into your plumbing system to check the condition of the pipes. Then they can recommend a course of action to fix the pipe and get your plumbing system working properly.
If you notice any of these six problems, it’s important to take action quickly. Fixing a simple leaky faucet is certainly possible for many people, but other problems listed here would be beyond most of us. This is true in our homes, but it’s especially applicable when you think about a commercial plumbing system. When your business is affected by plumbing problems, it can lead to downtime and a loss of revenue. So, it’s always a better idea to adopt a proactive approach with regular inspections and maintenance. But, if you do have a commercial plumbing problem, it needs to be checked out and fixed by a local professional plumber. When problems are ignored, they tend to get worse and this can lead to a more expensive repair bill later.