Commercial plumbing installation, maintenance, and repair issues are very different from residential ones. Some factors are easy to imagine, such as the simple scale of some commercial locations. Other issues, though, aren't ones you might think of unless you've been in the commercial plumbing services industry for a while. Here are three ways that commercial projects are distinct from the ones you encounter at home.

Pressure and Gravity in Tall Buildings

Although many commercial structures aren't tall, folks in the industry have to understand the unique challenges that are presented by how both gravity and pressure impact pipes. Almost all taller buildings require engineered solutions to pump water to greater and greater heights. Similarly, sewage and drain pipes have to be designed to permit drainage without essentially sending stuff flying down a straight pipe.

Even somewhat taller buildings can have problems. Due to the laws of physics, air pressure can only be relied upon to push a column of water to about 34 feet in height. Worse, this problem can get more complicated as you go further and further above sea level.

To compensate for these limitations, water pumps have to be positioned accordingly to provide sufficient pressure. That means even a building that's a few stories tall will require some engineering to get water to the top. This is one very good reason why the vast majority of single-family homes aren't taller than two stories.

Wear and Tear

Except for very small businesses, plumbing systems at commercial locations are going to get a lot of use and abuse. If you run a retail store, you may have several bathrooms to accommodate both your employees and the public. Replacing a toilet, for example, might seem like a job your maintenance staff can deal with. Installing, replacing and maintaining tens or hundreds of toilets, though, can quickly get to the point where you'll want professional help.

More Problems

In a home setting, you largely have to worry about basic human needs, such as getting drinking water, setting up a shower and flushing away waste. Commercial operations often have much greater plumbing requirements. A machine shop, for example, may need sufficient water flow to keep tools and workpieces properly cooled. If chemicals are being introduced to the water, they might also have to ensure that environmental regulations are being observed. That calls for a different drainage system to prevent contamination of outside water.

If you're not sure what your commercial building's plumbing needs are, work with commercial plumbing services in your area to keep everything working smoothly.