What to do when you have a water pipe leak at your business?

Water pipe leaks are no laughing matter. When not attended to quickly, they can lead to large-scale damages to the property, becoming much more than just a plumbing emergency.

Unfortunately, many businesses experience property losses due to leaky pipes. In some cases, the leaky pipes are caused by collision leading to rupture, but in other situations, the leak is something that builds up over time, and being proactive can prevent such occurrences. All you need to do is stay on a regular maintenance schedule with your trusted local plumbing contractor.

Identifying common threats

From aging pipes to frozen water lines to damaged water heaters – the cause of your next plumbing emergency can be just about anywhere, but let’s address your water pipes specifically. The vast majority of your pipes are inside walls, tucked away where you can’t see them.

“Out of sight out of mind” certainly comes into play here, because you can go for months, perhaps years with nary a plumbing issue and suddenly you’re hit with an issue tucked behind a wall, and it could be a while before you notice the problem.

First and foremost, regardless of whether your building is old or new, you need to be a on a regular maintenance schedule with your trusted local plumber, because they’re trained to find problem areas before they start leaking on you.

For example, if you’ve got old galvanized pipes, there is a good chance the protective zinc coating that keeps the rust away disappeared long ago. They could at any moment be the source of a major pipe leak at your business. Your plumbing professional should be able to catch things like this and make repairs before you have a plumbing emergency.

Which plumbing devices are most used?

This is an important question to ask, because at commercial properties, toilets, sinks, water fountains, utility sinks and other plumbing devices see extensive use. A well-used device is more prone to failure, which could lead to leaks.

Toilets, for example, have many parts that can wear out and eventually lead to issues, including water loss, which can be quite costly over time. Furthermore, an easy fix that goes unaddressed can lead to more extensive plumbing work later.

Faucets are some of the most frequently fixed plumbing devices in a commercial property. They are used often, and not often used gently. A number of parts can wear down quickly, leading to water loss and perhaps leaks that could cause flooding.

Freezing weather

We generally do a pretty decent job of keeping all areas of our homes as warm as possible in the winter, but since we’re not living in our commercial property, some areas can be more drafty than we realize, which means when that cold front blows through, the pipes could be at risk of freezing.

When water freezes it expands, which means your inflexible piping material is going to split or burst. Again, have your plumbing contractor come out and investigate potential problem areas, because they have solutions that can keep those vulnerable pipes from freezing.

The “invisible” leak

If your commercial water bill suddenly spikes for no reason, you should call your plumber to find out if you have a leak somewhere in your system. However, check your grounds first and look for wet surfaces. Swelling or water marks on your walls, ceilings or floors could also be a sign that you’ve got a leak.

Fortunately, there is such a thing as a leak detection system that can alert you to impending issue, including wireless water leak detectors, which will notify the appropriate people via email, text or phone that there is a plumbing emergency that requires your immediate attention.

The deep leak

An increasingly expanding puddle on the floor is an obvious sign that you’ve got a leak that needs to be addressed, but it’s not always that simple. An underground leak, for instance, can go unnoticed for quite some time.

During the cold winter months, the soil around your building will shift, which can cause your plumbing lines to move and become compromised. Furthermore, if you have trees on your property, you don’t know in which direction the roots grow, and they could very well be moving toward your lines. It’s not uncommon for them to grow into the lines and rupture them.

While the exact location was once impossible to find without extensive digging, plumbing professionals today have special waterproof cameras they can send deep into the system, locating and figuring out the cause of the problem. This gives them the ability to make fact-based decisions about how to proceed.

Water leak detection and repair experts

At Valley Fire Protection, we specialize in assisting commercial property owners with their plumbing. When you have a leaking pipe, contact us immediately and we’ll respond. In most cases, we can offer same day service for emergencies.

By: Tom Hartel
I acquired my expertise by directing day-to-day operations of the business for over 20 years. Continuous hard work helped me become a nationally recognized speaker and expert on fire protection, fire sprinklers, special hazards, and plumbing systems. In this blog, I share my knowledge that will hopefully help you make better decisions for your projects.

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