Are you worried about a plumbing emergency in your commercial building? You don’t need to panic! Here’s a guide to help you through any plumbing issue, ensuring you know what to do in a commercial plumbing emergency. You’ll be ready for anything!
Identify the Source of the Problem
In the case of a commercial plumbing emergency, it is important to first identify the source of the issue before taking any action. Start by locating the main shutoff valve, which is typically located close to the water meter. Once this is found, quickly shut off the water supply in order to prevent further damage.
There are several potential sources of an emergency plumbing issue and it can be difficult to pinpoint the exact cause without proper diagnostic equipment and expertise. Some possibilities include:
- A broken pipe
- Build-up of debris in drains or toilets
- Leaking fixtures
- Problems with air pressure within an air conditioning system
In order to successfully mitigate further damages from occurring, it is critical to accurately identify the source and isolate its location as soon as possible following an emergency event.
Turn Off the Water Supply
Turning off the water supply should be your top priority when responding to any commercial plumbing emergency. This will help to stop any further water damage and reduce the possibility of additional problems. Make sure you know where the main shut-off valve is in your building before an emergency situation arises to reduce the stress and confusion during this critical time.
Additionally, for flooding emergencies, you can shut off all interior valves and plumbing appliances to ensure your premises does not become further exposed or worsen due to additional backflow from the drain system. This can include toilets, sinks and basins, washing machines, dishwashers and other ancillary items connected to the plumbing system. When turning off water supply valves it is important they be closed slowly so as not to cause any damage or cause a burst pipe.
When attempting DIY repairs or maintenance on any major plumbing component, such as a pipe or sink, it is important that professional assistance be sought whenever possible due to the potential of hidden risks that may have already caused damage such as corrosion or cracking inside of pipes that will require expertise for a permanent solution.
Call a Professional Plumber
In the event of a plumbing emergency, an experienced, licensed and insured professional plumber should always be called right away. Attempting to handle the problem yourself or waiting days or weeks for a non-emergency appointment can lead to costly water damage, exacerbation of the issue, and even other health hazards. To understand when a plumbing emergency exists and when it is best to contact a professional plumber, here are common types of plumbing emergencies:
- Burst Pipes: This is probably one of the most common causes of plumbing emergencies. A burst pipe can cause extensive water damage in minutes if it’s not attended to quickly. It’s important to shut off your main water valve as soon as possible if you suspect you have a burst pipe. However, it should be noted that this won’t stop all water flow in some cases due to pressurized pipes in certain parts of your system. Contacting a professional plumber immediately is the best route in this situation.
- Leaking Fixtures: When leaking sinks, toilets and faucets cannot be fixed by tightening connections or replacing washers, they must be examined by an experienced commercial plumber as they may signify signs of something more serious such as corroded pipes or rusty valves behind the walls which will require repairs or replacements. Professional expertise is essential here so that further damages don’t occur or go undetected if ignored initially.
- Clogged Drains: Clogged drains may take time before they become too prominent but they still need immediate attention when they do. This is because leaving them unchecked could lead to greater issues such as bad odors due to buildup leading up pools of sewerage that can contaminate your premises with potentially hazardous bacteria and mold growth which could bring about health risks especially for those who already have breathing problems such as asthma sufferers or those with allergies and sensitivities to certain molds spores are unknowingly inhaling them from their properties’ environment each day unknowingly.. It is important for businesses owners in particular to take extreme precaution around their employees wellbeing in this instance by having regular check-ups on their premises systems by qualified professionals at least twice per year; once per season depending on available budget allowance.
Implement Temporary Solutions to Contain the Damage
When a plumbing emergency strikes, it is essential to quickly identify the source of the problem and take steps to contain and control any damage. Depending on the cause and extent of the emergency, there are various methods for implementing temporary solutions that can help minimize water damage or clogging.
For a serious water leak, you need to shut off the main water valve immediately, as this will stop any further water from entering your commercial building. If extensive flooding has already occurred, removing standing water with a wet/dry vacuum is an important step in containing the issue. Your plumbing expert will be better equipped to assess the cause and advise on any repairs needed once they have identified it’s location. Make sure no one enters wet areas until all electricity is turned off and potential hazards have been addressed by an electrician or safety professional if applicable.
For drainage blockages caused by objects such as hair and food debris that can accumulate in sink drains over time, using liquid drain cleaners can temporarily dissolve blockages so that waste can pass through, relieving pressure on septic systems or drains where possible until a more permanent solution is available from your plumber.
Providing temporary solutions can help reduce further damage and even prevent having to replace entire sections of piping when appropriate measures are taken in times of emergency. Contact local professionals for advice if you suspect a plumbing problem has occurred.
Keep the Affected Area Safe and Accessible
When dealing with a plumbing emergency, it is essential to ensure the affected area is secure and easily accessible for repair personnel. Make sure that no children or pets are in the vicinity, and ensure all safety protocols are followed. If possible, try to locate the source of the problem to allow for more efficient repairs.
Immediately turn off any water supply connected to the affected area and if necessary, shut down power supply. Never attempt any major repairs yourself; instead call qualified plumbing personnel who can assess the situation and provide an appropriate solution as quickly and safely as possible.
Provide a clear path so that personnel can immediately access vehicles and access points without disruption or delay. If outside access is limited due to blocked areas, consider removing any potential hazards or debris beforehand. Consider providing ample lighting or flashlights upon entry so that technicians may assess the situation thoroughly without interruption.
Be prepared with essential information such as water pressure levels, type of pipe used in installation etc., in order to expedite safe repairs while on-site personnel await further direction from their supervisors or designated contacts. Lastly – be sure the manufacturing specifications of any materials or equipment that may need replacing are on record prior to dispatch of repair teams.
Commercial plumbing emergencies can be stressful and expensive to fix, and damages can be difficult to reverse. The best way to prevent plumbing issues is through preventive maintenance and the use of appropriate problem-solving steps when an emergency does occur.
Make sure you know who is responsible for maintenance and repairs on your premises, and how much water pressure exists in your pipes, if any. Have a professional plumber come by at least once a year for an inspection and annual repairs, as well as complete any necessary maintenance tasks to keep things running smoothly.
By taking proactive steps, you can avoid potential plumbing disasters that could disrupt business operations or lead to significant damage. Be mindful of the materials used in your pipes and fixtures, use water filters regularly, conduct regular inspections of the premise’s plumbing systems, and invest in emergency services such as those offered by licensed professional plumbers if needed. Taking these precautions will go a long way in keeping businesses running smoothly during commercial plumbing emergencies.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the first step to take in a commercial plumbing emergency?
The first step to take in a commercial plumbing emergency is to shut off the water supply to the affected area and call a licensed plumber as soon as possible.
What are some of the common causes of commercial plumbing emergencies?
Some of the common causes of commercial plumbing emergencies include burst pipes, clogged drains, and sewer backups.
How can I prevent commercial plumbing emergencies?
To prevent commercial plumbing emergencies, you should take steps to properly maintain your plumbing system, such as regularly cleaning drains, checking for leaks, and replacing worn or damaged pipes on a regular basis.
Andrew Lee is the founder of My Plumber. He has been in the industry for over 20 years and has extensive experience in all aspects of plumbing. He also enjoys sharing his knowledge with others and has written several articles and given talks on plumbing.