The plumbing system that carries water into and out of your University Park, Florida, business is essential to the health and well-being of your employees and customers. Proper maintenance and prompt repairs of damaged pipes and leaky faucets make life more comfortable and reduce future expenses. Discover how plumbing maintenance, water treatment devices, and water conservation practices help preserve your commercial plumbing system over the long term.
How Commercial Plumbing Works
A network of pipes delivers fresh water to your business. The water itself generally comes from a municipality’s supplier. Once the water enters your business, it’s distributed to different areas via a network of pipes. These pipes direct water to a heater, which then sends the flow to sinks, showers, or other appliances.
Used water exits your business via a different network of pipes, the drain-waste-vent (DWV) system. The water flows into the sewer system, aided by gravity. Venting pipes are linked to the drain and waste pipes. They also release hazardous gases and maintain proper drainpipe pressure.
Master Basic Plumbing Maintenance Tasks
The following monthly plumbing maintenance tasks help keep your business’s system running smoothly.
- Clean drains with a mixture of boiling water, baking soda, and vinegar. This solution can help keep drains from clogging, and it’s gentler on pipes than the harsh commercial drain cleaners often used.
- If you have sinks, toilets, or other appliances in your business that are rarely used, flush or run water through them regularly to keep the components in good working order.
- Once a month, visually inspect the network of water pipes in your business for signs of leaks. A small inspection mirror mounted on a handle allows you to see around corners when you’re working in tight spaces. If you do discover a leak, contact one of our Aqua Plumbing & Air specialists immediately so that we can correct the problem and prevent it from becoming a larger and more expensive repair.
Focus on Proper Water Treatment and Quality
Approximately 85 percent of Americans access tap water from municipal water systems. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) oversees the municipalities that provide water service. The agency also determines safe levels of contaminants and requires water authorities to provide detailed annual reports to consumers to keep them informed.
All tap water contains some dissolved contaminants, such as material picked up from surfaces it travels over on the journey to your business. While tap water potentially contains millions of contaminants, only a few pose health risks, and most are present in such low levels that they’re not dangerous. But a few, such as lead, can pose serious health concerns if they’re present in high levels so it’s important that those levels are monitored.
You can employ various water treatment methods at your business.
- Activated carbon (charcoal) filter: The carbon (or charcoal) in the filter absorbs and attracts impurities. These filters are generally installed as under-the-sink filters. While this option is relatively inexpensive, you’ll need to replace the filters periodically.
- Ion exchange: This system, also referred to as a water softener, exchanges ions in the unit with ions in the water. An ion exchanger removes minerals like calcium and magnesium that make water hard. Although these are not unhealthy to consume, they leave hard-to-clean mineral deposits on appliances and sinks. A whole-business system requires professional installation. Keep in mind that these units need to be periodically replenished with a special kind of salt.
- Reverse osmosis: This type of water purifying system uses a semipermeable membrane to block contaminants but still allows water to pass through. Reverse osmosis removes the widest level of contaminants from the water, including organic compounds and inorganic chemicals as well as arsenic and other waterborne pathogens. A plumbing professional can install this type of system in your business. When considering a reverse osmosis system, keep in mind that these systems use a substantial amount of electricity, and they can waste two to four times as much water as they filter.
Before buying any kind of water filter, read the fine print carefully. Each type removes specific contaminants, and not every model removes lead. For best results, be sure any filter you select meets the standards issued by the American National Standards Institute and National Sanitation Foundation (ANSI/NSF).
The method of water treatment you choose for your business ultimately depends on how you want to change your water. Do you want to improve its taste, eliminate contaminants, or both? Give some thoughts to your goals before you choose a treatment option.
Put Best Water Conservation Practices into Place at Your Business
Conserving water is not just good for your business, the utility bills you pay, and your commercial plumbing system. It’s also good for the environment. Discover some daily and long-term ways to conserve water at your business.
- Don’t allow faucets in bathrooms or break rooms to run unnecessarily.
- If your break room has a dishwasher, run it only when you have a full load, and use the Economy setting if your appliance has one.
- Install low-flow toilets, which use 1.6 gallons of water per flush. By comparison, toilets installed in businesses before 1994 consume between 3.5 and 5 gallons of water per flush.
- For businesses such as gyms or other workplaces that offer shower facilities, installing low-flow shower heads can cut water usage to 2.5 gallons of water per minute. Shower heads installed before 1994 use up to 4.5 gallons of water per minute, so the savings can be substantial.
- If you decide to use a water softener, choose wisely to get the maximum benefit. As noted above, reverse-osmosis water softeners use substantially larger quantities of water to produce a gallon of purified water.
- Think about the landscaping outside your University Park, Florida, business. Xeriscaping is a landscaping method that relies on rocks and drought-tolerant plants instead of grass to create an attractive outdoor setting. Xeriscaping helps with water conservation because it requires less watering, and that helps you keep your business’s water usage in check.
Don’t Ignore the Water Heater
Generally located in a maintenance or special service area of your business, water heaters use electricity or gas to warm the liquid. Both types operate similarly, except that a gas water heater has a burner with a flame and an electric water heater has electrical heating elements.
To keep your water heater functioning properly, schedule a regular maintenance inspection with one of our Aqua Plumbing & Air plumbing specialists. During this visit, your service technician will:
- Check the thermostat’s operation.
- Inspect the flow of combustion and ventilation air.
- Verify that the pilot light is operating properly and clean the burner parts in gas water heaters.
- Drain off the water.
- Inspect the anode rod.
- Check the pressure-relief valve.
If you’re not getting enough hot water, your business’s heater may be too small for the usage. Another problem may be that your water heater’s dip tube, a plastic pipe that fits inside the tank and runs vertically to deliver cold water to the bottom of the tank, may be broken. A cracked dip tube can allow cold water to mix with heated water in the upper portion of the tank. Contact an Aqua Plumbing & Air plumbing specialist for repairs or water heater replacements.
If you’re not getting any hot water, the thermostat may be defective or you may have a malfunctioning fuse or pilot light. Contact Aqua Plumbing & Air for assistance with any of these problems.
If you have a gas water heater and you notice a strong smell of gas near the heater, evacuate your business and call your local utility company. A gas leak may be the cause.
Since 1974, Aqua Plumbing & Air has provided professional commercial plumbing services to businesses throughout Bradenton, Sarasota, and University Park. Our team of licensed, knowledgeable commercial plumbers can recommend the best products and solutions to help you deal with a host of commercial plumbing problems, including drain backups, leaky faucets and toilets, and installation of more energy-efficient plumbing fixtures. Whether you need emergency repairs or preventive maintenance, you can turn to Aqua Plumbing & Air for prompt attention. Call us at 941-306-3715.
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