What’s the worst that can happen when it comes to plumbing? You might think plumbing headaches are only limited to clogs or leaks but the truth is actually a bit more haunting. Here are some of the worst plumbing headaches some people go through (more reasons to get your plumbing inspected whenever possible!).


Some water treatment chemicals gradually create minuscule holes in copper pipes and brass valves. Many chemicals, in fact, say they are “safe for use” but wear still occurs and damage isn’t avoided but merely mitigated to an extent. The good news is that most leaks come from the meeting point between pipe and elbow where water tends to become most stagnant. Keeping an eye out for green residue is a good tip to see if a pipe is about to kick the bucket due to chemical reaction damage. The consequence of missing this in your inspection? Major flooding, damage to your pipes, and much, much more. In some buildings repairs have resulted in over $40,000 of repairs.

Hot water can cause additional problems for vulnerable equipment. For instance, if you have a separate hot water faucet on your breakroom sink that’s fed by a heating element underneath, keep an eye out for hard, chalky white residue on the pipes or housing – it’s a sign that water is seeping out.

On the commercial end, many building owners opt for instant water heaters and the get great use out of them – granted that you monitor them with staff on-site 24 hours a day. Otherwise, you have a leak that can go on for hours and hours.


Many owners and managers don’t perform the recommended maintenance on their gate valves. This simple step requires you to open and close each valve twice at least once a year. Valves that aren’t exercised and freeze up, for instance, tend to leak once closed that leads to eventually water stoppage.

Solenoids and other valves in commercial dishwashers are vulnerable too, Giacoma adds, so make sure you keep up with maintenance if your facility has a kitchen.


Refrigerators with ice makers are prone to malfunction if a residential water supply hose is used, says Snow.

Instead of using a stainless steel braided hose for the water supply to the ice maker sometimes a clear plastic hose is used that keeps a supply of steel hoses in stock for such discoveries. Your home refrigerator usually runs between 45 to 50 psi, but in a commercial building, you’re dealing with about 80 pounds, so a plastic quarter-inch hose can’t last forever.


Building occupants who flush inappropriate items can cause a toilet to overflow but urinals can suffer from a more gradual buildup that eventually leads to a hazardous situation. Urinals that don’t have enough flush can accumulate calcium deposits inside the pipe. If you don’t keep them clean, flushes can start going over the rim.


When was the last time you tested your pressure regulators? If your answer is more than a year ago, make sure you add them to your annual PM plans, along with backflow preventers. Both should be serviced once a year. Washroom plumbing can also run into problems when pressure is too high.

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