Commercial vs. Residential Plumbing: What’s The Difference?

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Commercial vs. Residential Plumbing: What's The Difference?

Commercial plumbing differs from residential plumbing in several ways. It requires more skill and expertise to repair, maintain, and install the systems supporting buildings in busy places. When opening a new business or looking for plumbing jobs near you, there are numerous things to take into account regarding commercial vs. residential plumbing.

What is Commercial Plumbing?

Commercial plumbing refers to plumbing in larger buildings such as hotels, office buildings, hospitals and apartment complexes.

Plumbing in commercial buildings is complex in that it must serve hundreds or thousands of people at once.

Commercial plumbers typically handle more complex piping and drainage systems in these establishments than those found in homes, making them ideal for commercial plumbing work.

This includes everything from sewage pipes, drains, water heaters to sprinkler systems and heating.

Commercial Plumbing Systems

Commercial plumbing systems use different materials than residential ones, which helps reduce the likelihood of issues related to pressure or strain on pipes.

These locations require more pipework and outlets to accommodate the large numbers of people that visit them daily.

Commercial plumbers must know how to navigate more intricate building structures and comprehend the effects damages can have on plumbing for commercial buildings.

Furthermore, they need to collaborate closely with other trades while adhering to strict timelines and plans when installing new commercial plumbing systems.

What is Residential Plumbing?

Residential plumbing refers to the plumbing system in a single family home or townhouse.

Plumbing in residential buildings consists of bathroom and kitchen plumbing like showers, sinks, dishwashers, and toilets, laundry room plumbing for washing machines, and drainage to a septic tank or sewer system.

Residential plumbing uses less water than commercial settings, leading to less damage and a lower water bill.

However even with proper care and maintenance, problems can still arise in residential settings that require a plumber.

A residential plumber’s role is to ensure safe drinking water at the correct pressure and quantity. Furthermore, it checks for leakages and minimizes water wastage.

What’s The Difference Between Commercial vs. Residential Plumbing?

Commercial plumbing is more complex

Residential systems tend to be smaller and require less water than commercial ones, as homes typically have fewer people living there and use less resources than businesses or apartment complexes do.

Commercial plumbing costs more to install

How much does commercial plumbing cost? Given commercial plumbing needs to accommodate hundreds or thousands of water users, it takes more time and money to install commercial plumbing.

Commercial plumbing jobs also require much more piping, fixtures, and materials to install these systems.

Commercial plumbing damage can be more severe

If there is a leak or blockage in a commercial plumbing system, it can be difficult to find the culprit.

Since it takes more time to find these issues, employees, customers and tenants are at risk of being without working plumbing for longer than residential systems.

Commercial plumbing can go unnoticed

Determining small leaks in a residential space is much simpler than in commercial settings, since homeowners will notice them and can call a plumber right away.

Unfortunately, in plumbing in commercial buildings those same leaks could easily go undetected, leading to serious dripping, wastage of water and higher bills.

Understanding Commercial vs. Residential Plumbing On The Job

While there are many differences between commercial plumbing and residential plumbing, most plumbers are skilled enough to work on either.

If you’re interested in becoming a residential or commercial plumber, it’s important to know the differences in practice.

Once you do, check out our commercial plumbing jobs and residential plumbing jobs and get your plumbing career underway.

Casey Loeber
Casey Loeber

Casey Loeber is the founder of His mission is to share the best information online about plumbing jobs and help plumbers lead fulfilling careers.

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