What Makes Something A Residential Or Commercial Plumbing Project?

A commercial plumber often deals with tasks that are very similar to the issues confronting a residential one. However, there are some key distinctions between the work of commercial and residential contractors. If you're trying to understand why you might need a residential plumber or a commercial one, here are four informative differences.

Capacity Requirements

Among the most obvious differences between residential and commercial needs are the capacity requirements. Even in settings where the peak capacity is similar to home usage, such as a franchise fast food restaurant, the sustained usage simply requires better hardware. Many people are going to be running faucets and flushing toilets all day, and that's before you account for the plumbing needs of a commercial operation for things like drink fountain machines and ice makers.

Likewise, peak capacity demand in commercial settings can be much higher. When a commercial plumbing contractor installs systems at a movie theater, for example, they have to consider the ability of the pipes to handle water and flushing throughputs after several screens' worth of movie audiences crowd out.

Building Height

Single-unit residential structures typically aren't taller than two stories. This is because the physics of pushing water through pipes limits how high the water pressure will go without a pump. Conversely, you'll see a lot of cases in urban areas where a commercial plumber needs to push water several stories up or even higher. There are multi-unit residential locations that have similar needs, but they're more likely to employ a plumber to handle work for all of the units.

Code and Industry Compliance

Given the increased utilization of plumbing by the public in commercial settings, building codes for these structures tend to be more stringent. Also, there may be industry standards in many commercial locations.

While a residential plumbing contractor will have to keep their work up to code, they generally will be able to use the same approach on most projects. This typically makes it easier to use standardized parts and tools, leading to greater consistency between jobs.

Utilization Patterns

Unless you go on a very long vacation, your utilization of your home's plumbing system should be fairly steady. Commercial locations, however, often see major shifts in patterns over the course of a year or even multiple years. A theme park might have a prolonged offseason, and this can create concerns about stagnant water in the lines. These operations often need to call a commercial plumber to flush lines and run tests before they open up.