3 Common Commercial Plumbing Problems

Commercial plumbing isn’t like residential plumbing. When an issue comes up, it can have major consequences if not addressed appropriately and quickly. That’s because buildings and businesses are usually up to code that can result in a lawsuit or an issue with the permits if the plumbing isn’t fixed according to local standards.

That being said, it doesn’t mean you can’t be prepared for the next commercial plumbing problem to arise. They might not happen at the most convenient moments but they don’t have to cause as much panic in you and your staff as they usually do. That’s why we’re going to go over some of the most common commercial plumbing problems that our customers have experienced, and we’ll talk a little bit about how they form and what you can do.

Overall, commercial plumbing in Vancouver, BC is best left to the professionals. If you notice anything on our list of common problems, don’t hesitate to give our team of experts a call.

Drain Clogs

More often than not the most common problem in commercial facilities, whether in an office building or a restaurant, are drain clogs. Just based on the sheer number of people that might use your facility’s bathrooms or kitchens, drain clogs are bound to happen and there’s not much you can do to stop them. At least when it comes to residential drain clogs, there are fewer people using each drain and they can be more proactive at how clean they keep their appliances, but with commercial plumbing that all changes.

Clogged drains can often not only be an inconvenience but can harm the presentation of your company and your building. Restaurants that have clogged drains can have trouble functioning up to health and safety standards because fewer employees might be washing their hands or correctly washing produce if they’re having trouble operating faucets and drains.

Basically, a clogged drain should be fixed by a professional plumber as soon as possible.

Faucet Leaks

As we mentioned earlier, these problems aren’t just inconveniences but can signal to customers or clients that your building isn’t up to code. A faucet leaking in a bathroom, kitchen, or anywhere else can be a signal that you’re wasting water. Faucet leaks are pretty hard to predict and there are multiple reasons for why they might exist. Whether it’s just a loose valve or a problem in your main water line, you’re going to need a professional plumber to fix the issue.

Low Water Pressure

This problem is the opposite of a faucet leak since you’re turning on the sink and not receiving the amount of water you’d like. This can be especially bad for buildings in the food industry, since washing produce, cleaning hands, and keeping stations clean are paramount to health and safety. Without the correct amount of water pressure, the kitchen staff will take longer to clean their stations and your business will not be up to snuff.

If your company works with chemicals or any other type of material, you might have eyewashes and showers that need the correct amount of water pressure as well. These are tedious systems, and they need to be repaired almost immediately for them to remain up to safety standards.

Causes of Sewer Odors in Your Commercial Building

The hygiene of a commercial facility is essential for its operation. When sewer odors appear in your facility, it can indicate serious problems. But even smaller issues must be resolved quickly, and it requires professional commercial plumbers to track down the source of the problem so it can be remedy promptly and correctly.

There are several potential causes for the odor of sewage to enter a commercial building. Below we’ve listed a few of the most common.

Dried p-traps in unused or abandoned areas

Large facilities may have sections that are no longer used or have been sealed off. If there are drains in these areas still connected to the main sewage system, sewer gas can escape up through the drains and waft into the space. The p-traps in these drains (the curved section directly underneath the drain) will have dried out and removed a barrier from the movement of sewer gas. We recommend having plumbers seal up the pipes with cement.

Leaking sewer vents or inadequately installed vents

Sewer vents allow the build-up of sewer gas in the drainage system to rise and escape through the roof, balancing the pressure. If leaks develop along the sewer vent pipes, it will allow the sewer gas to enter rooms through the walls. It requires plumbers using leak detection methods to find the precise location of the leaks so they can be accessed and sealed or repiped.

If the drain vents were not installed correctly (the wrong pipe diameter, for example), poor venting will result in sewer gas rising up from drains. Plumbers will need to replace the sewer vents with the properly sized pipes.

Clogged plumbing vents

Damage to the vents, animal nests, or storm damage may clog the vent openings. This will push the sewer gas back down into the drainpipes and up through drains. (You may notice a gurgling sound coming from drains; this indicates sewer gas percolating through the water barrier in the p-traps.) Please don’t try to go to the roof of your facility if you think this is the trouble! Leave all this work to the commercial specialists.

Sewer line, septic line clogging or leaks

The sewer line (or septic line if your facility uses a septic tank) may become clogged with debris or tree root infiltration, leading to a backup in the line that will affect the whole building. Odors are often the first warning sign of a major issue like this. Professional sewer line cleaning or repair is necessary to fix the issue. In extreme cases, the sewer line may need to be replaced.

For commercial sewer line repair and commercial drain cleaning in Burnaby, or any other commercial plumbing service your business needs to keep running, you can depend on our team.

Plumbing Facts and Fiction

Plumbing isn’t always the most accessible topic and misinformation can cause a lot of confusion. Even worse, it could cost you a lot of money if a mistaken idea means you don’t take care of a plumbing issue quickly enough. Vanmech Heating & Plumbing in Vancouver is here to help set the record straight. Keep reading to learn about three common misconceptions as we separate plumbing fact from plumbing fiction!

Leaky Faucets are Nothing to Worry About

Vanmech & Heating Plumbing’s verdict? False. While it might not seem like an immediate problem, minor leaks can lead to a major problem over time. One drip? Okay, but how about ten-thousand? That’s a significant amount of water waste. Leaky faucets, toilets, or appliances should be addressed sooner rather than later. The leak could be the result of a broken seal, a cracked pipe, or potential issues with water pressure. If you suspect that the leak is being caused by more than a loose bolt, call a professional plumber for an inspection.

Water Heaters Can Explode

While it certainly makes for an eye-catching headline, the reality is decidedly less dramatic. It’s true that old, poorly maintained, water heaters can sometimes rupture under rare circumstances. However, the result will be a cracked tank, not an explosion. Moreover, modern water heaters are installed with pressure relief valves that are designed to release built-up pressure and prevent this exact problem. Sometimes water heaters make rumbling noises, which can mislead homeowners into thinking danger is imminent. However, this is generally a sign that sediment has collected at the bottom of the tank and is preventing efficient operation. So if you do hear noises from your water heater, it is probably time for a check-up. In general, valves should be checked every few months, and the tank should be drained yearly. This will ensure your water heater stays in top shape.

Flushable Wipes are Pipe-Friendly

This is a bit of an exaggeration. While a better solution than non-flushable wipes, the flushable variety still aren’t the best thing for plumbing systems. This is because they degrade at a much slower rate than toilet paper and can cause potential blockages or other problems, especially if they are used in large quantities.

How to pick right size Water Heater?

You’re in the market for a new tank water heater. You either want to replace the aging water heater currently in your home, or you’re moving in a new home that doesn’t have a water heater yet. Whatever the case, you’ll have plenty of questions about buying a new water heater. A major one is how big the water heater needs to be. Too small, and your household won’t receive sufficient hot water. Too big, and you’ll have a massive energy wasting appliance on your hands.

You shouldn’t worry about making a choice. Properly sizing a tank water heater is something to leave to plumbing professionals. They’ll make the calculations to determine the size and type of water heater to meet your family’s hot water demands without draining your bank account.

How Professionals Size a Tank Water Heater

To find the right size of the water heater for a given household, installers need to know two important things. The first is the first-hour rating. You can probably guess what this means: how many gallons of hot water the tank can deliver over an hour starting with a full tank. This rating combines other important data, such as the tank capacity, the energy source used for heat, and the power of the heating source.

The other information the installed need to know is peak hour demand. This is how many gallons of water your household uses during the hour of the day when there’s the largest hot water demand. (Usually, this is in the morning.) When the installers know this, they match it to the first-hour rating of the water heater. A peak hour demand of 36 gallons means putting in a water heater with a first-hour rating of 34 to 38.

If you’re looking for installation of a new tank water heater in , Burnaby, Vancouver - Canada, you’ve found the right people. We not only install tank water heaters, but we also work with an excellent alternative, the tankless water heater.

How to Extend the Life of Your Furnace

The last thing you want is to come home, on a cold winter night, to find your 15 year old furnace on its deathbed. It’s every Canadian’s nightmare, and for good reason. Especially with the Farmers’ Almanac predicting a cold winter this year, you want to be prepared.

For most of us, we usually don’t pay attention to our heating and air conditioning systems until it’s too late. When your furnace inevitably breathes its last breath, you’ll be waiting for that emergency HVAC technician to arrive while you and your family are wearing jackets and toques around the house.

This is an experience nobody wants to repeat twice, and probably the reason you stopped by our blog. If you are concerned about your furnace lasting the upcoming winter, we want to equip you with the proper tools and the following 5 tips on how to extend the life of your furnace.

1. Install a Programmable Thermostat

Overworking your furnace is a great way to send your furnace to heaven early. Although you’re currently toasty warm, you’re diminishing your furnace’s longevity. Without implementing balance with your furnace usage, you’ll need to start booking the funeral.

But, we’re human. Sometimes we forget to turn it down or off. So, how do you create a balance with your furnace’s usage without human error? Introducing smart and programmable thermostats.

Nest Learning Thermostat

Installing a programmable thermostat controls the usage of your heating system. Basically, it allows you to set a predefined schedule that adjusts the temperature of your home based on time of day and season, turning the heat down at night and during the day when no one is around.

Smart thermostats add an additional level of control by reacting to movement (are people home or not), creating schedules on the fly, smart control via phone apps and additional tracking to allow you much better control of your system – from anywhere in the world. Not only are they useful for furnace longevity but these new thermostats will also save you money on energy costs.

2. Replace Air Filter

If your air filter looks like an old, dusty accordion, it’s past time to replace the filter. Often neglected, your air filter can drain the life out of your furnace if not replaced or cleaned. The air filter function is to clean the air and protect your system from allowing dirt and debris to enter the furnace.

GeneralAire AC22 And AC24 Cleaners

When dirt begins to cover the filter, your furnace must work much harder to move air. Because dirt and dust are covering the filter, the furnace fan will need to work hard to overcome the additional resistance. Also, since less air is moving through the system, your furnace will need to run longer in order to raise the temperature.

3. Prevent Air Leaks

Air leaks rob you of the warm air your furnace works so hard to produce. Not only do air leaks drain your home of that warm air but it also pushes your furnace to work harder and longer, resulting in a reduction of its lifespan. Your front door, windows, walls, bathroom and kitchen vents, basement intrusions and any small gaps and spaces can allow air to infiltrate.

Preventing drafts and eliminating air leaks to ensure your home is properly sealed and insulated is one of the best things you can do to improve the comfort of your home as well as the life of your furnace.

A useful trick to determine if your door or window is causing an air leak is by lighting an incense stick and placing it in front of your inspecting area. If the smoke rises up, there’s no leak. If the smoke moves in a different direction, you have a leak. Most big box DIY stores have a whole section on weather stripping and caulking to help fill these gaps and stop leaks.