5 Top Methods for Preventative Maintenance of Commercial Plumbing

When you run a commercial property, the last thing you need is a plumbing emergency. Leaks, backups, and certainly floods can shut your company down for days and cost you money, time, and energy on repairs and lost business. Luckily, this can all be prevented with regular maintenance of your plumbing system, so you can keep your business up and running without plumbing disruptions. Here are a few tips and strategies to keep up preventative maintenance of your commercial plumbing.

1. Look for Leaks

You may not notice small leaks right away, but they’re important to find. Small leaks are an indication that something isn’t right with your plumbing, and they can quickly become bigger problems if ignored. It may be inconvenient and costly to fix a small leak, but trust us, it’s even more expensive and disruptive to fix a devastating flood and damaged plumbing.

Additionally, some leaks are not visible but could be costing your company hundreds of extra dollars per year on your water bill. If you notice your water bill is higher than usual or doesn’t make sense, bring in a professional to inspect your plumbing system and look for silent leaks that could be doing behind-the-scenes damage and wasting water.

2. Fix Leaky Faucets

A leaky faucet is more than annoying. Every drip contributes to a huge waste of water, and it can actually cost you significant extra money in your water bill. Leaky faucets are not that difficult to fix. You can either try to fix it yourself by replacing the gasket or other small faucet part that is part of the sealing process, or you can call in an experienced sewer and drain technician.

3. Watch Out for Slow Drains

Does a sink or tub in your building take a long time to slowly drain water? This is not normal and can indicate a growing problem in your plumbing system. Aside from being an annoyance to your customers and staff members, the problem can grow over time and become much more serious. If you notice slowly draining water, it is probably time to bring in a professional plumber to assess the situation and fix the problem before it becomes worse (and more expensive).

4. Locate Your Cut Off Valve

Your cut off valve is the thing that will keep your building from completely flooding should you notice a leak, backup, or other plumbing issue. The cut off valve essentially turns off the water supply to your pipes so that no more damage can be done until the plumbing issue is fixed. This is a last resort strategy to keep in your back pocket should you encounter a plumbing issue despite regular maintenance (or if you become lax on the maintenance of your plumbing).

5. Schedule Regular Plumbing Inspections

The best kind of preventative maintenance of commercial plumbing is having an experienced technician conduct an inspection at regular intervals. Many plumbing issues are not immediately obvious until they become bigger problems, and you want to make sure your business never gets to that point. 

At All County Sewer and Drain Inc., our experienced sewer and drain technicians are always available to keep your commercial plumbing working its best. Whether you are looking for an inspection or you have a plumbing issue of any size, we will make sure your business is not interrupted – or interrupted as little as possible – as we get everything back in working order. With regularly scheduled inspections, you will be able to have peace of mind about your plumbing.

Top 7 Ways To Prevent Pipe Problems: Summer Edition

 

Summer is here and that means beach visits, cookouts, and quality family time. While summer may mean you’re taking it easy for a few weeks (or perhaps not!), your pipes are definitely not taking it easy. In fact, summertime may bring some extra burdens on your home sewer system. Luckily, with some preventative maintenance, you can keep your sewer system in check and halt any potential summer pipe problems in their tracks.

1. Flush Appropriately

Your kids may be home during the day. You may have family or friends visiting for an extended period of time. You may have more get-togethers in your home. Any of these scenarios mean more people are using your toilet, and that means more is being flushed down it. Kids especially need to be reminded to use an appropriate amount of toilet paper (especially the younger set – they tend to love overdoing it!). Additionally, ONLY toilet paper should be flushed down. No tissues, no wipes (even “flushable” ones), and no sanitary products.

2. Launder With Care

If your family spends a lot of time at the beach or pool or doing outdoor activities this summer, you will likely experience plenty more laundry in the months of July and August. All that laundry puts a strain on your washing machine. Only run small loads and make sure any sandy clothing is properly shaken out (outdoors!) before going in the wash to prevent sand buildup in the plumbing of your washing machine. Keep an eye on your machine while it’s working so you can catch any potential problems as soon as they happen and before they turn into catastrophe (you definitely don’t want to deal with a flood!).

3. Properly Dispose of Used Cooking Oil

Barbecues and cookouts are signature summer activities, but they also come with a lot of used grease that needs to be disposed of when the party’s over. All that grease is actually quite harmful to your sewer system. You may know not to pour grease down the sink, but it’s also harmful to pour it down the toilet (see tip #1) – it will still end up in your sewer system! The best thing to do is to pour it into an empty container or bag you can tightly close/seal and throw it in the garbage.

4. Protect Your In-Sink Garbage Disposal

Corn kernels, fruit pits, and watermelon seeds are part of summer eating, but they can also clog your in-sink disposal. Make sure to scrape these items into the trash or into your compost bin to protect your in-sink disposal and prevent a clog or damage.

5. Keep Your Shower Drain Clear

Has your shower suddenly become a bath? If the water is building upon the floor of your shower, it means something is blocking the drain. This is a common summer problem due to the sand and pebbles people bring home from the beach and time outside. Make sure to rinse off at the beach when you are finished so you don’t bring unwanted sand back home. Additionally, keep your drain clear of any stray hairs while you are showering.

6. Watch Your Sprinkler Heads

There’s no question that your yard is used most heavily during the summer, which means your sprinkler heads are vulnerable to damage from lawnmowers and kids playing roughly. Inspect your sprinkler heads before the season starts and periodically throughout the summer to make sure they are in good working order.

7. Get Your Sewer Thunderstorm-Ready

Sure, it rains throughout the year, but summer thunderstorms can bring with them rain so torrential that they actually overload your sewer system. Backed up sewers due to thunderstorms are a common summer plumbing issue. Have a professional inspect your sewer system before the season starts, and make sure each drain has a plug to block water from backing up into your home.

Prompt Care of Summer Pipe Problems

By following these tips, you will keep your sewer system safe and working optimally all summer long! If you should run into any plumbing issues, make sure to call a professional right away. Plumbing issues tend to escalate quickly if not properly dealt with. At All County Sewer and Drain, Inc., our expert plumbers will help you make sure your sewer system is ready for the summer!

How To Keep Sand Out of Your Sewer this Summer

Beach season has arrived! Time to get out your flip flops and sunscreen and head to the water! Isn’t it the best feeling to dig your toes into the warm sand? Be careful, though! Even if you “rinse” at the beach when it’s time to go home, it’s hard to truly get all the sand off. No worries, you think. It’ll come off in the shower! True, but the sand, as well as other beach debris and thick sunscreen lotions, can cause drain backups or even actual pipe damage, especially if your pipes are older and made out of galvanized steel or cast iron. Luckily, we have some tips for you on how to keep sand out of your sewer!

1. Thoroughly Rinse Beach Toys in the Ocean

A shovel and pail are fun for your kids, but you don’t want to rinse them in your tub at home. Make it someone’s job to thoroughly rinse all beach toys in the ocean before you leave, and the put the clean toys right into a clean bag.

2. Baby Powder Your Feet

It’s hard to keep your feet clean because there’s often sand on the ground everywhere, pretty much until you get to your car. Plus, sand can be sticky and doesn’t rinse off super well. Luckily, we have a useful hack to help you sluff off the sand on your feet and legs. The hack? Baby powder. That stuff works magic on sand as you rub it in. It absorbs the moisture adhering the sand to your skin and makes it much easier to brush off. Anything that’s left you can rinse off with a hose when you get home. Don’t forget to rinse in between your toes!

3. Rinse Shoes and Bathing Suits Outside

Beach shoes and bathing suits will be a lot easier to successfully clean when they are dry. Leave your shoes on your porch or patio and drape your bathing suit on a porch railing, patio chair, or somewhere else convenient in your backyard until dry. Once they’re dry, you can shake them out and rinse them off with a hose to get rid of whatever sand is left.

4. Fitted Sheet Trick

Shower and bath drains are not the only places you need to keep sand from. Your washing machine contains a pipe that can also become clogged or damaged from sand. That means you definitely don’t want to throw sandy towels into your washing machine. 

You can clean the sand off your towels by implementing the same strategy as number three (above), but there’s an even better approach – don’t let them get sandy in the first place! There’s a neat trick where you lay down a fitted sheet, place your bags in the corners to keep it flat and extended, and then you can place your towels on the sheet. Voila! They will stay free of sand (mostly, considering you will probably track in some sand when you hang out on the towels after walking on the beach) and you can run them through the washing machine without worrying.

Keep Sand Out Of Your Sewer For A Happy Summer

Using these precautionary measures, you will keep your pipes healthy and working smoothly this summer. That said, if you DO experience a blockage in your sewer system due to sand buildup or any other reason, the expert plumbers at All County Sewer and Drain Inc. will come right away and clear up the problem for you. Don’t wait until a backup becomes a flood–call for help as soon as you notice a problem! 

Five Simple Reasons Why It Is Crucial To Clean Your Grease Traps

If you own or run a commercial kitchen, you know the amount of cooking grease discarded in a day is too much for the sewer system to handle, and if that amount of grease builds up day after day, week after week, your pipes could really be in trouble. In fact, yours are not the only pipes affected by too much grease. The pipes under your kitchen lead to the town or city sewer system and can damage the entire thing, including harming the surrounding ecosystem. Luckily, grease traps exist to collect that oily, fatty debris and keep it from harming your sewer system. Most of the time, you don’t have to think about them, but from time to time, you need to clean your grease traps to maintain their functionality.

It is important to clean your grease trap.

An outdoor grease trap with a drain system

Here are five reasons why you don’t want to wait too long to clean your grease traps:

1. Odor

Over time, a grease trap will start to emit an unpleasant smell due to rot produced by decomposing FOG (fat, oil, and grease). The longer you ignore the smell, the stronger it will get and it can even start to drive away customers. The sooner you clean your grease trap, the sooner you can eliminate that disruptive foul odor.

2. FOG Build-Up

If grease traps are not cleaned regularly, the fat, oil, and grease waste will build up over time. They harden at the bottom of the grease trap, becoming extremely difficult to clean away. Additionally, they will fill the grease trap to its capacity, overflowing into the sewer system–an event the grease trap was installed in order to avoid in the first place. This overflow can lead to blockages and backups, causing damage and requiring expensive repairs. Your business may even be shut down for a while until repairs are finished.

3. Damaging Gases

As FOG sits in your grease trap rotting away, it eventually emits sulfuric acid, a harmful gas that can cause lasting damage to a variety of materials, including steel. Sulfuric acid can completely break down steel pipes and even the grease trap itself. Plastic pipes may put up more of a fight, but they will eventually become damaged as well. It’s better to just regularly clean your grease trap!

4. Pollution

Runoff from your grease trap will enter the town or city sewer system and seep into the environment, causing harm to local animals. If you have an outdoor grease trap, make sure it is covered so animals don’t get to it and so rainwater doesn’t build up inside. If your grease trap fills with rainwater, it can overflow and release FOG into the surrounding environment.

5. Fines

FOG overflow into larger sewer systems can cause so much damage to the town’s infrastructure as well as the environment that most municipalities will actually issue expensive fines to those who either don’t have a grease trap installed or who don’t maintain their grease traps regularly.

Clean Your Grease Traps Regularly for a Healthy Kitchen and a Healthy Planet

We know cleaning your grease traps is not a glamorous job. The grease itself also needs to be disposed of properly and in an eco-friendly manner. The good news is that at All County Sewer and Drain, Inc., we can clean your traps for you while adhering to the strictest regulations of grease waste removal recommended by the state. Our experienced technicians will thoroughly clean your grease traps and dispose of the waste in our specialized grease removal trucks in order to protect the environment and ensure a brighter, cleaner future for our children. If you sign up for our preventative maintenance schedule, we will maintain your grease traps and sewer lines so that your commercial kitchen will be able to function to its best capacity.

Advanced Crawler Camera System for Commercial Sewer Lines

How Does A Crawler Camera System Work?
For business owners, a few key things are important: the bottom line, client relations, and a healthy pipe system. That’s right. Complications with sewer lines can cause serious problems, such as Sanitary Sewer Overflows (SSOs), which can disrupt the flow of operations at your workplace. In one U.S. city, 43% of SSOs were estimated to have been caused by pipe blockages. The tricky thing about pipes, however, is that you can’t see inside of them. At least, not without the help of specialty plumbing cameras. More specifically, large-scale commercial sewer lines require advanced crawler camera systems to locate potential blockages and prevent future problems.
What is a crawler camera?
Most homeowners are probably familiar with the classic pushrod cameras. Using a high-resolution camera attached to a long, flexible rod, a professional technician will direct the rod through drain lines up to 36 inches in diameter. However, most industrial sewer lines go well over this limit. In these cases, a crawler camera system is needed.

An industrial grade crawler camera is capable of inspecting sewer and storm drain systems up to 60 inches in diameter. These cameras are remotely-controlled, self-propelling, and able to record high-quality videos and images of sewers and pipelines. An experienced technician will control the camera from above ground while receiving a live feed of the footage.
What are the benefits of using a crawler camera?
Being able to extract geographical data in a large and complex sewer line allows the system to be accurately managed through the years. A crawler camera’s transmitter sends signals above ground that provide information about the direction of the pipeline, as well as the exact location of a potential problem area. This technology gives technicians the necessary information to map out the specific topography of a pipeline with ease and precision. Blockages or other problems can be easily pinpointed, which significantly reduces the amount of digging that has to be done. Furthermore, regular inspection protects you from potential health department violations.
What happens if a blockage is found?
If a blockage is located through a crawler camera, high-powered jetting systems are your best bet. Water-jetting can break up stubborn grease, soap, cooking waste, food oil, tree roots, or any other debris in your pipes. By controlling the pressure of the water jet, pipe walls can be completely scoured to remove obstructions that have caused clogs or blockages.
I’m interested in using a crawler camera. How can I get started?
Catching potential risks before they snowball into larger problems is key when it comes to managing a pipeline system. Today, many commercial projects use advanced video camera inspections for preventative maintenance. To have a commercial sewer system inspected using a crawler camera, contact a team of experienced professionals like All County Sewer and Drain, whose top-of-the-line crawler camera system can pinpoint details perfectly. When it comes to sewer lines, never wait until the last minute. Keep an eye on what’s happening.