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Plumbing Upgrade Strategies


I’m Dan Hounsell, editor of Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today’s topic is, plumbing upgrades.
Most institutional and commercial restrooms are designed to function for 20 years without major upgrades or renovations. But restrooms are highly visible and maintenance-intensive areas, and normal use takes its toll on fixtures and surfaces.
As a result, fixtures and controls require increasing levels of maintenance just to keep them operating. Eventually, engineering and maintenance managers have no other option than to renovate the restroom.
Renovations give managers a unique opportunity to improve the performance and appearance of these areas while also reducing operating and maintenance costs. But renovations come with challenges.
To reduce operating and maintenance costs, managers can incorporate some simple but too often overlooked plumbing design features into renovation plans:
• Installing wall-mounted toilets and urinals reduces cleaning costs by making it easier to mop and scrub floors.
• Installing suspended ceiling tiles in multi-floor facilities where restrooms are stacked allows easier access to piping and other system components. Should leaks occur, damaged ceiling tiles are easy to replace.
• Multiple floor drains with adequately sloped floors makes cleaning floors easier.
• Paying attention to custodial closets can boost worker productivity. Cleaning is a major long-term expenses for restrooms, so managers must be sure plumbing systems are set up to support a custodial closet in or close to restrooms. Each custodial closet must have a floor-mounted mop sink and a separate floor drain to contain spills and make cleaning easier.
One of the most common complaints maintenance technicians have concerning restroom fixtures is a lack of isolation valves. Too often, they have to shut down an entire restroom to replace one plumbing component. Renovation plans should call for each individual fixture to be installed with its own isolation valve so workers can isolate and work on one fixture without having to close down the entire restroom.

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