As a commercial plumber, you’re used to being called in emergencies. When a commercial property has a sudden water leak, they will reach out to you. If they notice signs of water damage, have a sudden massive water bill, all these issues apply. However, ideally, plumbing professionals should be ahead of problems before things ever get to that point. This especially applies to long-term clients.
So, beyond just replying to your typical clogged drain, here are some key commercial plumbing tips to use. These will help you maintain customer plumbing in those times where there isn’t an obvious problem.
To start in terms of commercial plumbing tips, you want to have a routine down for your basic maintenance visit. When you first talk to a client with a commercial property, you should suggest a preventative maintenance schedule. This is essentially a schedule where you will send one of your professionals out to the commercial building, whether or not there’s anything wrong.
How often should this be done? This is ultimately going to depend on the plumbing and the facility itself. For example, a commercial property like a mall that can have hundreds of visitors a day is going to be a lot more subject to wear and tear than a small office. They should plan out their upkeep visits accordingly. Along with this, a building with older drain pipes is naturally going to need service more often than one with brand new plumbing.
However, what exactly takes place during these basic maintenance visits? Things may vary slightly, but you can expect a few common things:
- -Running all relevant plumbing fixtures (sinks, toilets, etc) to make sure that there isn’t a slow drain or lack of cold/hot water
- -Looking at the pressure gauge to ensure that the water pressure is running as normal
- -Running diagnostics to check for any signs of silent leaks or other ruptures in the pipes
- -Making sure all shutoff valves operate correctly
- -Making sure the water heater is running at the proper temperature
- -Ensuring that there isn’t any risk of backflow in the building water system at all
Searching For Signs of Trouble
A major goal of these visits is making sure that smaller issues are caught before becoming large ones. This means that you need to have a list of steps in place for all of your team to follow. Equally important is opening up a dialogue with your clients (more on that in a bit). This will help you learn about any symptoms of problems that may not seem like huge issues in the moment.
One of the first things you want to do is keep an eye out for any signs of water damage around the building. Note that even a small spill on a piece of furniture qualifies as water damage. The reason that this is so important is that even a small water spot means there is a leak somewhere. When it comes to commercial plumbing, leaks are only going to get worse as more wear and tear are put on the systems.
Equally important after that is taking a close look at the drains. Remember that a slow drain may not be as urgent as a blocked drain, but they all represent the same major problem. Rather than just assume the pipe is “getting old,” ask the customer if they are interested in you using a camera or taking apart the pipe to see the nature of the blockage. This gives you the chance to fix the immediate issue, but also provides them with future guidance. For example, flushing anything other than toilet paper or human waste in a toilet creates a potential block hazard.
Communicating With Your Clients
After you’ve done your check, one of the last steps you need to take during your commercial plumbing maintenance is a post-mortem talk with the customer. This may not seem like a true “plumbing tip” but it’s an area where a lot of companies fall short. Sometimes, you have a visit where nothing goes wrong. This is all well and good, but you still want to do your due diligence when it comes to the visit. Make sure your worker fills out and leaves a report. This gives a record of the plumbing status at the time, but also covers your company. If something suddenly happens, they can’t accuse your worker of not doing their job during the maintenance visit.
If something is discovered in the visit, like one of the issues in the last section, this step becomes a consultation. You need to explain the situation to the client, in clear terms, and also discuss what can come from it. After this, you can present the options that your company can do to fix it now and what it will cost. You want to be honest, but not act too hard to sell the service to them. Some clients simply always wait until an emergency happens, and that’s ultimately on them.
Another one of these commercial plumbing tips is preventative maintenance. Preventative maintenance is key to keeping your commercial plumbing system working at its best. However, the larger your commercial building or installation, the harder this is to manage. Even commercial plumbing services with plenty of experts on hand can get overwhelmed by the sheer volume of clients that they have to manage. As we mentioned before, making sure that you have a uniform upkeep process is key for giving your commercial clients top service and peace of mind.
In order to make sure that no steps get missed, and your minor issues don’t turn into plumbing problems for clients, it’s essential that you invest in plumbing management software like eSUB. Use our reminder system to alert clients that they are due for service. In addition, our audit system and regular reports make sure that none of your teams out in the field miss a maintenance step while out on a commercial property.