Author Archives: Author

What are the differences between commercial and residential plumbing?

plumber working on a bathroom sink

What do I need to know about commercial plumbing?

When it comes to plumbing, a sink is a sink, a toilet is a toilet, pipes are pipes with drains, and a plumber is a plumber, right? Yes, but no. A commercial plumber and a residential plumber will have knowledge and skills for the three basic functions and purpose of plumbing that is specific to the property they tend. Meanwhile, when you need a commercial plumber be sure to reach out to someone you can trust. For a commercial plumber in Vancouver, WA or the surrounding area, our team can be there to provide the services you need. 

What are the three different functions and purposes of a plumbing system?

There are a few things you can keep in mind to understand more about your plumbing system and the purposes that different parts of your plumbing system serve.

  • SANITARY DRAINAGE: The sanitary drainage system serves the same purpose for the same function, which consists of a series of pipes with the specific purpose of disposing of wastewater from sinks, showers, tubs, and laundry. This wastewater goes through the sanitary drainpipes that are connected to the local sewer system. A commercial plumber will have larger-sized pipes to work with than a residential plumber.
  • STORMWATER DRAINAGE: You may either find small holes on the sidewalk or sewer drain openings along the street curbs. These are standard sizes for residential or commercial property and redirect excess water away from the structure into a storm sewer. 
  • POTABLE WATER: A potable water system enables the occupants to use water that comes into a structure through various pipes that are connected to a single water system. Again, the plumbing that commercial plumbers are trained to work with is larger in size because of the size of the structure and the number of occupants on a property.

What is a commercial plumber?

The key differences between a commercial plumber and a residential plumber are the use of the plumbing and the size of the plumbing. A commercial plumber works with plumbing inside larger structures, making it a more complex system because of the amount of people using the plumber system. A commercial plumber specializes in installing, maintaining, and repairing plumbing systems found in places such as: 

  • Office Buildings
  • Recreational Areas
  • Malls
  • Restaurants
  • Schools
  • Hospitals
  • Industrial Facilities 
  • Manufacturing Facilities
  • • … any other large-sized buildings and buildings with multiple floors

What does a commercial plumber do on a daily basis?

Plumbing for commercial properties as we listed is intricate and larger than the plumbing for residential properties. A commercial plumber must be able to install and repair plumbing fixtures, plumbing lines, and commercial appliances throughout the facility.

A commercial plumber must be able to perform routine maintenance for commercial properties like monitoring the water pressure. They are responsible for maintaining the existing drain and pipes such as detecting and repairing leaks and other general plumbing repairs.  If a commercial structure doesn’t have a dedicated maintenance team with commercial plumber experience, they rely on a plumbing company that provides commercial plumbing services. 

Is a commercial plumber the same as an HVAC technician?

No, they are two different careers. A commercial plumber may be trained in both electrical and plumbing systems. An HVAC technician is trained in installing, maintaining, and repairing a central air conditioner system. However, either can be dual-trained and provide both types of services, which is often common for a commercial plumber.

What is the difference between commercial and residential plumbing?

There are various differences in the plumbing for commercial and residential properties.

Commercial plumbing is larger in size and more complex than residential plumbing. Commercial plumbing requires bigger and more piping, more outlets, and more sinks, toilets, and fixtures that can hold up to heavier usage.

Commercial structures are larger in square footage and/or have multiple floors that have bathrooms on each floor. The multiple floors require different water pressure, a knowledge that is essential for commercial plumbers to know. 

A commercial plumber must have experience, knowledge, skill, and the ability to work with other tradesmen for site development and the ability to adhere to plans and timescales established by the general contractor.

In addition to installing, maintaining, and repairing commercial plumbing, a commercial plumber must under the complexity of the commercial pipework, have the ability to overcome any problems with quick resolutions. Commercial plumbers must be able to work with industrial-grade boilers, pipes, and sewers. Commercial plumbers must also be familiar with local building codes for commercial properties. 

Are commercial plumbers more expensive than residential plumbers? 

Yes, commercial plumbers typically charge more per hour or per job, because of the complexity of the plumbing system. The certification, licensing, and insurance for commercial plumbers is more expensive. Thus, they must recoup their investments. 

In Conclusion: Can A Commercial Plumber Do Residential Plumbing?

A commercial plumber will be more likely able to handle a residential need for installing or repairing commercial plumbing than vice versa. This is because the complexity of commercial plumbing isn’t common knowledge to a residential plumber. However, the basics of plumbing is a common knowledge that a commercial plumber should have – it is just a matter of working on a smaller scale. 

When hiring a commercial plumber, just as with a residential plumber, always check for their certification, licensing, and insurance. Asking for references and checking those references is always suggested for any type of contractor work. When you need a commercial plumber in Vancouver, WA, the team at True Plumbing can be there to help. Call us at (360) 831-2041 to learn more about the services that we can provide.

What Can I Do to Fix My Toilet?

plumber repairing a toilet

Do I Need Toilet Repair?

The toilet is like a water heater. We just assume they are there and providing the service we need. But like a water heater, a toilet can malfunction, probably more likely to malfunction, with little to no indication of a problem. Fortunately, you can do your own toilet repair – service for this problem by a professional plumber isn’t always necessary. Meanwhile, when you do need a professional for toilet repair in Vancouver, WA our professionals can be there for you.

So, will a plumber fix the toilet?

Yes, they will repair or replace any parts inside the tank, and the plumbing connected to the toilet, and even replace the toilet if necessary. How much should it cost to fix a toilet? That can vary based on the problem requiring toilet repair service as to what parts are needed. Additionally, a plumber will either have a flat rate charge for the service call or will charge by the hour. 

The basic operation of the toilet inside the tank doesn’t always need the professional toilet repair service of a plumber. So, what can you do to fix your own toilet?  Let’s look at three possible easy-to-fix problems that you can do yourself.

Toilet Running Constantly

This indicates that water is flowing into the tank constantly through the fill valve.  Steps you can take for your own toilet repair service start with the rubber flapper. Usually, constantly running water means the flapper isn’t sealing at the flush valve opening, allowing water to flow from the tank to the bowl. Sometimes, you can adjust the chain, and other times, you need to replace the flapper. 

Toilet Leaking

If you notice water leaking from the toilet, address the situation promptly. Left unaddressed, the water will cause damage that will cost more than just the toilet repair service for the leaking toilet. Make sure the base of the toilet is firmly bolted in and check the water connection at the back of the toilet tank to the wall. If all is in a good position, contact a professional plumber.

Flushing Problems

For a toilet that is slow to flush, check that the handle and chain are connected and at the right length. If the toilet is clogged, use a toilet plunger to plunge the clog out. If that doesn’t work, call for a professional toilet repair service by a plumber – they may need to ‘snake’ the toilet, or it could be a broken or clogged sewer line.

Is it cheaper to fix a toilet or replace it?

If the problems with your toilet are in the tank, replacing the internal parts is cheaper than purchasing a new toilet, even if you have to call a plumber for toilet repair service. If the tank or bowl is cracked, they are vulnerable to leaking and the entire toilet should be replaced. However, if you’re upgrading your bathroom and a new toilet is on the horizon, make the purchase instead of repair. This is a great opportunity to purchase a low-flow toilet that will save you on the water bill every month!

How much does a plumber charge to replace a toilet fill valve?

This can depend on the plumber with each having their own rates. Some will offer a flat rate and others charge by the hour, plus the part(s) needed to complete the toilet repair service.

Before you spend that money on a plumber, visit your local home improvement store and purchase the fill valve. The store may offer a class on toilet repair and you can always find a vast number of online videos that will walk you through doing your own toilet repair service.

How long should it take to fix a toilet?

Depending on the problem and toilet repair service, a plumber can typically complete the job within an hour to two hours. For a DIY homeowner, the time to complete a toilet repair the first time may take up to two hours. 

Can I change the toilet myself?

Absolutely! As long as there aren’t any building codes in the area, a DIY homeowner can change out their own toilet. Keep in mind that the water in the tank and bowl will need to be emptied as much as possible. Having a wet vac on hand is recommended, along with another adult to help. A toilet, without water, can weigh up to 100 pounds! Remember, this is a solid ceramic item.

Flushing It All Away 

A DIY toilet repair service is possible, and this is one item in a home that the repair can be easily learned with a little patience. If the toilet repair seems to be challenging, or you didn’t have any success doing it on your own, it is worth calling a professional plumber. 

Keep in mind, that any toilet repair service calls after business hours, on weekends, or on holidays will cost more. Plan your DIY attempt so that you won’t have that added expense if you have to call in the pros. Meanwhile, if you find yourself seeking toilet repair in Vancouver, WA be sure to call someone who you can trust. Our team can be there for you – reach out at (360) 831-2041.

Should I Replace My 20-Year-Old Water Heater?

plumber installing an electric water heater

Does My Water Heater Need Replacement?

The water heater. When was the last time you used it? Probably this morning as you got ready for your day, starting with a hot shower and washing your breakfast dishes. When was the last time you needed a water heater replacement? If you’re like most homeowners, you may not know the age of your current water heater, unless you have a newly built home. 

However, if you turned on the hot water to shower and got only cold or lukewarm water, you may need to get ready for a water heater replacement! Just how often are hot water heaters replaced? The standard tank-style water heater will typically need to be replaced between 5 and 15 years, with an average of around 8 to 10 years. Over time, sediment from the ground begins filling up that water heater tank, and if you don’t catch the quiet indicators that could save you from having to get a water heater replacement, it will clog the unit up, and you won’t get any hot water. Meanwhile, if you think it may be time for a water heater replacement in Vancouver, WA or the surrounding area, you can count on us to help.

What are the indicators a water heater is going out? 

There are 9 indicators that could start around the 6th to 8th year of a water heater. Those indications are: 

  1. Strange Sounds: If you’re hearing strange sounds coming from the water heater, like banging, popping, or rumbling, you should start shopping for a  water heater replacement. 
  2. Water Temperature: If the water temperature isn’t consistent, or it doesn’t get as hot as it used to, you may simply need to turn the thermostat up. If that doesn’t fix the problem, you’re probably looking at a water heater replacement sooner than later. 
  3. Water Pressure: If you have good water pressure from the cold water tap but not the hot water tap, you may need a water heater replacement soon. 
  4. Discolored Water: If the hot water isn’t clear anymore it is discolored, rusty, or yellow in color, the anode rod probably needs to be replaced. If that doesn’t fix the problem, then a water heater replacement is your next option. 
  5. Insufficient Amount of Hot Water: If your shower is cut short by running out of hot water quickly, it is probably time to get a water heater replacement. 
  6. Leaking: If your water heater is leaking water, there is no doubt it is time to invest in a water heater replacement. 
  7. Constant Repairs: If you have had several water heater repairs over the past year or two, it is time to invest in a water heater replacement. A worthy plumber will advise you to do this before they make too many service calls. 
  8. The Water Smells Funny: If the hot water has a funny smell, that is probably a build-up of bacteria in the tank and your best bet is to get a water heater replacement ASAP. 
  9. Water Heater Age: If your water heater is around 8 to 12 years old, even if you’re not experiencing any of the things we’ve mentioned, the safe bet is to get a water heater replacement before you find yourself in cold water! 

How long does it take to replace a water heater?

A professional plumber can complete a tank-style water heater replacement usually within an hour. If there are any issues with the electricity, gas, or water lines, it may take a little longer. If you’re getting a tankless water heater replacement for the standard tank style, this can take 4 to 6 hours. This longer time is needed to run any additional electrical or gas lines, move any water lines, etc. 

What’s included in a water heater installation?

First, the water, electricity, and/or gas are turned off to the water heater. Then the plumber will begin removing the old unit, including any gas or water lines and drip pan. Then they will install a new drip pan and position the new water heater tank in place.  The electric and/or gas will be reconnected, then the water lines. The water is turned back on and the plumber will inspect for any possible gas or water leaks, repairing as needed. 

Can I install a water heater myself?

If you are handy with basic tools and knowledge of electricity, gas, and water, yes, a water heater replacement can be a DIY project. However, depending on where you live, there may be ordinances that require the job to be done by a licensed plumber and they must have a permit pulled before starting the work. 

How much is a brand-new water heater?

The cost of a new water heater replacement can vary from brand to brand and the different models each brand offers.  Electric tank-style water heaters are less expensive upfront, but the gas-powered tank-style water heater replacement will heat the water faster and longer. 

If you’re interested in switching over to a tankless water heater replacement, the upfront cost will be double or more than staying with the tank style. There are a lot of preparations required for tankless water heater installation and from the electricity or gas to the water line, the plumber will have to either move the lines or add new ones. 

Most plumbers charge by the hour plus materials. Some may offer a flat rate after reviewing where the tankless water heater will be installed versus where the current water is located. 

The Bottom Line

Even if you are a handy homeowner who does DIY projects around the house, having your water heater replacement done by a professional will give you a warranty on the installation. And, if the water heater has problems later, the manufacturer will honor their warranty on the unit if installed by a professional. If you need a water heater replacement in Vancouver, WA or the surrounding area, it’s often best to rely on the professionals to help. You can give us a call at (360) 831-2041 to schedule your services if you need a new water heater for your home.