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.