Understanding Key Plumbing Upgrade Considerations
June 13, 2012
I'm Steve Schuster, associate editor of Maintenance Solutions
magazine. Today's topic discusses plumbing and restroom maintenance.
Many institutional and commercial facilities are installing a new generation of water-efficient plumbing fixtures — including flush valves, urinals, and faucets — at an ever-increasing rate. Their goals most often are to curtail water use by plumbing systems, reduce utility costs and improve the organization's overall sustainability.
But to ensure that these products deliver the desired benefits to the organization and the environment, maintenance and engineering managers who are making product selections need to carefully consider the maintenance impact these products are likely to have.
As maintenance and water costs rise, managers are increasingly installing pressure gages and flow meters at strategic locations in their buildings' plumbing systems to monitor the flow of water. Once managers are certain all of these readings are at normal levels, the next step is to look at individual fixtures and assess their condition. The first steps in effective troubleshooting involve knowing baseline flow readings, and monitoring, recording, and comparing the current readings.
Other efficiency considerations include lowering water use by replacing the aerator on the tap with a new one at a cost of a few dollars. The installation yields a new flow rate of one-half gpm. The flow is reduced by 3-1/2 gallons per minute.
Even if the valve operates just three minutes a day for 250 days per year, the annual savings from that level of operation would be more than 2,600 gallons. Ten faucets operating at that level would multiply the savings to 26,000 gallons.
Hygiene is also a critical component to successful restroom maintenance. Daily cleaning of the toilet seat, bowl, fixtures, and urinals is important to maintain an antiseptic, odor-free restroom.