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Keep an Eye Out for These Common Commercial Plumbing Issues

If you work in the commercial plumbing business long enough, you’ll run into all kinds of plumbing problems. Some are strange, some are fairly standard, and others will make you scratch your head and wonder what someone was thinking when the equipment was originally installed.

Today we wanted to focus on three common commercial plumbing problems and the warning signs that let you know it’s time to bring in a professional before they become bigger and more expensive problems.

1. Issues with Reverse Osmosis and Deionized Water Systems

These systems are great for filtering your building’s process water systems. However, you need to keep a close eye on the operation of these systems to prevent excessive wear on the lines.  These types of lines are typically installed with stainless steel or plastics that can handle the water flowing through the systems. However, major problems can result from the corrosiveness of the water in these lines, excessive velocities from pumps, or improper materials used in minor repairs. . The end result can be leaks, blockages and system-wide issues. Dripping pipes and low water pressure are a few warning signs that signal there’s a problem with your system. Usually the most effective remedy is to replace the water lines piece-by-piece to identify and correct the affected areas, but sometimes you’ll find the whole system needs replacing, particularly when a problem has been neglected for too long.

2. Poor Water Flow due to an Improperly-Balanced Systems

A plumbing system is a cohesive whole that is dependent upon accurate and even flow throughout. We often run into situations where someone has adjusted valves, or added unnecessary pumps, to compensate for water flow issues without understanding how the entire system is interconnected. Essentially “fixing” a flow problem in one area of the building may be causing a problem in a different area of the building. An unbalanced system can also result in premature wear of your piping. If there is a water flow issue in your building, it’s important to look at the entire system and not only inspect the troubled area.

3. Leaking RPZ Valves

Reduced Pressure Zone (RPZ) valves are important safety devices that prevent contaminated water from entering your building’s potable water supply. When someone sees water leaking from an RPZ relief valve, they often assume the RPZ needs to be repaired or replaced. However, many times the leak is due to issues somewhere else in the plumbing system. Unless you look for and fix the root cause of the problem, repairing or replacing the RPZ valve is throwing good money at the wrong solution. A few months later you’ll be back to square one, facing the same problem and wondering what’s wrong with your new RPZ valve.

While commercial plumbing problems can’t always be avoided, a preventative maintenance agreement can help avoid many issues before they become larger, more expensive problems for your facility. Yale’s preventive maintenance agreement offers regular inspection, maintenance and 24-hour emergency service for your building’s plumbing and HVAC systems.

Get in touch with me if you have any questions about your plumbing system or would like to know more about a preventative maintenance agreement.

Blog Author

Mike Holmgren

A 40-year veteran of the plumbing industry, Mike has served as a Master Plumber at Yale Mechanical since 2009. He works with the Yale plumbing team and helps in the inspection and discovery of unusual problems that occur in plumbing systems. He also reviews and engineers custom plumbing solutions for a variety of commercial and industrial settings that optimize system performance and minimize cost.

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