Prevent Costly Plumbing Problems in Multifamily Buildings
A multifamily building presents substantial challenges to a building owner or manager, especially in terms of ensuring the basic functions continue to work properly. Plumbing problems can be especially bothersome in residential settings, as they interfere with tenants’ daily lives and have the potential to escalate from a nuisance to a disaster. Preventing plumbing problems in multifamily buildings will ensure that water flows when needed and stays where it’s supposed to.
Potential Issues From Plumbing Troubles
Plumbing problems in a multifamily building can cause issues ranging from minor leaks to substantial floods. Most of the time, when these issues occur, they’re the result of a genuine problem or equipment failure. However, building owners and managers don’t have strict control over what their tenants do in their apartments.
Some plumbing problems could be the result of misuse, tenants trying to flush inappropriate objects, or of putting too much material through a garbage disposal. Whatever the source, plumbing problems in residential settings must be dealt with promptly. If not, there could be significant issues with:
- Sanitation – Toilets that won’t flush or drains that won’t clear could lead to waste material being left behind with no way to get rid of it. A lack of running water, or of hot water, could mean that cleaning, hand washing and other important sanitation activities can’t be taken care of.
- Floods and leaks – Clogged drains and toilets can lead to overflows that can create floods of various sizes. Major floods can affect not only the tenants in the apartment where the leak occurred ,but also residents in apartments below them.
- Occupant inconvenience – Lacking running water makes it inconvenient for tenants to cook, clean and use the bathroom. Similarly, clogged toilets and drains require inconvenient trips elsewhere for such necessities. Preventing Common Plumbing Problems Building owners and managers have a few effective options to help prevent common plumbing problems in residential settings.
- Educate – Education and information is a key component of preventing plumbing problems. Establish policies and procedures for the normal operation of plumbing services and make sure that tenants and visitors are thoroughly informed. For example, if the apartments in the building have garbage disposals, clearly explain the use of these devices, what should and should not be put down them, and how to avoid overloading them.
- Ask for early response – Make sure all tenants know the phone number they should call immediately if they’re having problems with their plumbing system. Early intervention can often keep small issues from escalating into large problems.
- Install drain screens – Put drain screens in the sinks of all units. These screens will help keep the larger pieces of food and other material from getting into the drain system. Some material is inevitably going to get past the screens, but they will be effective at stopping the pieces that are most likely to create clogs. Make sure tenants have instructions on how to clean these screens, especially if the screens aren’t removable.
- Conduct regular plumbing inspections – Preventive care such as plumbing inspections will be effective at stopping plumbing problems before they occur. Look for issues such as minor leaks, signs of damage or abuse, developing clogs, and other signs of future problems. Ask tenants about any plumbing issues they’ve experienced and use the inspection as an opportunity to look into the problems and see what can be done to resolve them.
- Watch for problem indicators – Keep an eye out for problem indicators such as a sharp, sudden increase in your water bills. This could indicate a serious leak that hasn’t been found yet.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about Plumbing, HVACR, Fire Protection, and Alarm Systems in Mechanical, Commercial, and Residential settings. For more information on preventing and resolving plumbing problems in multifamily buildings, and to view projects we’ve worked on, visit our website!