Are There Differences Between Commercial, Industrial, Institutional and Residential Plumbing?
YES. Well the concepts are certainly the same, but there are actually quite a few differences. Here is an example we will use to clarify: you have a great mechanic that works on your car and from all of your experience you haven’t given him or her an issue they couldn’t resolve. However, do you think a professional NASCAR pit crew would hire them as a mechanic? The answer is probably no. If they did, it wouldn’t come without extensive training or retraining. Of course, your super mechanic would be familiar with the overall concepts of a race car, however, because they don’t see or work on them everyday, it would be a struggle. The same holds true for residential vs. commercial service contractors. The great thing about Expert Plumbing Service is we specialize in both. Below are some of the most common differences you can expect to encounter when dealing with commercial, industrial and institutional plumbing service.
Plumbing Mechanical Equipment
Most residential water heater installations require a tank type electric or gas fired water heater. Of course some light commercial applications use the same type of water heater but most heavy industry, multi-level commercial/office, hospital, schools and apartment complexes use a commercial boiler and a storage tank. These installations are very different from the normal tank type water heater installations. The servicing technicians are specially trained in how to diagnose problems in heat exchangers and much more complex controls.
Water Pressure Booster Systems (House Pumps) :
Lack of water pressure is a very common problem in most major municipalities when servicing a multistory building, school or high rise. When a municipality does not have adequate water pressure to service a building, a water booster or house pump is installed to boost the pressure of the incoming water. This way water can be used at acceptable levels and according to plumbing fixture requirements. Booster pumps are used in single family residential applications to run lawn sprinkler systems or to provide enough water for custom showers, but they are not nearly as complex or large. Here are a few other types of mechanical equipment that you would rarely see in residential applications: roof drains, commercial floor drains, trench drains, flush valves, thermostatic mixing valves under lavatories and RPZ valves.
Toilets are toilets right? Well sort of. They do the same thing, but how they are installed and how they do their thing can be different. In residential applications, especially in homes, most toilets are floor mounted and secured to a closet flange. Sure, the same toilets can be used in commercial or industrial applications, but, quite often, when high usage is expected, a toilet with a flush valve is the better choice. The flush valve may be manually activated or be automatically flushed using an infrared beam. That brings us to how a wall-hung water closet is installed. If a wall hung water closet is installed properly, it will use a fixture carrier behind the wall. This fixture carrier supports the water closet and allows for a much sturdier and durable installation. A plumber that has been working exclusively in residential construction or service may never even see these types of fixtures or equipment. These are but a few of the differences and that is why it’s important to choose the right type of plumbing contractor.
Type of Material and Pipe sizes
Single family homes will use anywhere between a ¾” and 1-1/2” incoming water service depending on the size and demands of the house. It’s not uncommon for light commercial application to use the same size, however, in most commercial/industrial and high rise construction the incoming water service starts at 2” and can go up to 12” or larger. At these sizes, connections are made with flanged fittings. Another commercial and fitting joining method is the mechanical joint fitting. The term mechanical joint covers a wide spectrum of products, but it’s basically this; it is a means of connecting pipe and fittings together by way of a coupling with a gasket. The materials being connected, whether it be copper, steel, ductile iron etc, are not using any soldering, brazing or fusion methods. One example of a mechanical joint is the grooved pipe method. It is accomplished by using a tool called a groover to groove a notch at the end of each pipe being joined together. The two ends are joined by a groove coupling. The coupling has a rubber ring inside that fits inside each groove at the pipe ends. It is tightened by two bolts on the outside of the coupling compressing the gasket to fill up the groove thereby sealing the joint. These different types of joining methods are used because traditional joining methods are not cost effective when dealing with large diameter pipe and fittings.
Again, we’re glad you found us and we hope to serve you for all of your plumbing needs.