The value of a good plumbing system is often overlooked — even in restaurants where it has a significant impact on daily operations, from sanitation to food preparation. It should be high on the priorities list, along with strict adherence to food safety regulations.
Restaurants around the world experience downtime and, in effect, revenue loss because of subpar plumbing systems or the neglect of regular maintenance. Whether you are a new restaurant owner or an industry veteran, you may find that considering proper plumbing is essential to the survival of your business and the safety of your staff and guests.
The Importance of a Proper Plumbing System
For a new restaurant owner, having basic knowledge about plumbing systems and their maintenance is benefits the planning stages of your establishment. It will also help you anticipate and prepare for potential drainage issues that your restaurant will encounter down the road.
It’s also a good thing to coordinate with expert restaurant plumbers, like PT General Contractor Inc., in designing a smart and effective plumbing system for your restaurant. Aside from potentially saving you money on future maintenance costs, it’s also essential in aspects that could greatly affect your business operations:
Clean Water Supply
Water is supplied via the city water department or reservoir and is distributed to facilities such as buildings, homes and factories via the water distribution pipeline network. It is up to the plumbing system to distribute water throughout the entire restaurant.
While the water from the source itself may be disinfected with chlorine and is free of any harmful microorganisms, it means nothing if it passes through damaged pipes. If the water transportation system in the building is made of substandard materials, the pipes will corrode prematurely and expose the water to contaminants. When this happens, waterborne pathogens and toxic substances go straight into the food and drinking water, endangering the health and safety of your guests and staff.
This problem can be prevented by having experienced plumbers check the water pipes around in the restaurant before anything else and do necessary replacements and repairs if needed.
While laying out the water distribution plumbing for the restaurant, it is also important to consider the segregation of potable and non-potable water pipelines, so any cross-connection must be avoided. Non-potable water systems such as that for air conditioning must never come into contact with food, drinking water, or kitchen utensils.
As part of proper restaurant plumbing, the installation of a water filtration system is a must for any dining establishment as an added safeguard. Here are some of the benefits:
- It filters contaminants, sediments, and minerals.
- Water filters ensure safe and clean water.
- It provides better tasting water.
- Increases the lifespan of your restaurant equipment by keeping harmful minerals such as limescale out of your equipment.
Proper Drainage System
Commercial kitchens tend to produce staggering amounts of wastewater mixed with food debris, which go down the drain. One of the main functions of a plumbing system is to get wastewater out of the restaurant and into the city’s sewage system.
An effective kitchen drainage system has the following:
- An adequate number of drains throughout the kitchen area
- Grease interceptors
- Backflow prevention
- A drain or sink strainer to prevent solid waste from entering the pipelines.
Grease interceptors or grease traps are common in commercial kitchens due to plumbing code requirements. Their main job is to trap solid waste from entering the drain. The plumbing code also calls for adequate backflow prevention for all water systems. Backflow occurs when trapped air causes wastewater to flow in reverse, going back into the system instead of out. This is considered a health hazard so backflow prevention devices such as check valves have to be installed.
Designing a drainage and sewage system for restaurants requires careful and thorough planning to ensure that wastewater can be easily discarded out of the restaurant. Moreover, installation must be carried out in accordance with plumbing codes imposed by the city so the assistance of an experienced plumbing engineer is required.
Sanitation by Water Heating
The water heater is indispensable to restaurants since hot water is used on a daily basis. It also plays an important role in keeping some things in the kitchen clean.
Here are the various ways heated water is used in a restaurant:
- Handwashing – For kitchen staff, it is absolutely necessary for them to be clean at all times since they are in regular contact with food and kitchen utensils. Warm water is recommended for handwashing to effectively kill harmful bacteria and viruses, especially during the new normal.
- Cleaning the floors – Using hot water to clean both kitchen and restaurant floors effectively loosens sticky residue, gunk, and dirt.
- Washing the dishes – The use of hot water when cleaning dishes and utensils kills bacteria, particularly if used with a quality dishwashing liquid. Hot water also gets rid of food residue on the dishes faster than cold water.
- Cleaning kitchen equipment – Keeping your kitchen equipment clean is important in a restaurant, so using a mix of hot water and an all purpose cleaner will do a great job in killing off harmful bacteria.
Your restaurant needs professionals with expert knowledge on proper plumbing and heating to determine water heater size and type that suit your restaurant’s needs. A reliable contractor can also take care of installation and the necessary plumbing adjustments.
Once fully installed, a proper plumbing system should work smoothly and doesn’t require much attention from the staff. Regular maintenance can extend the life of your plumbing system and equipment while preventing problems from occurring.
Neglecting to do regular preventive maintenance can have disastrous consequences for your establishment. Due to health concerns, plumbing failure can temporarily halt business operations until addressed.
Here are some of the common plumbing problems resulting from lack of maintenance:
- Clogged drains – Blockages are the most common cause of plumbing problems in a restaurant. When chunks of food go down the drain, they accumulate and prevent wastewater from flowing into the drain. To keep this from happening, ask your staff to scrape off any excess food from the dishes before placing them into the sink. Regularly cleaning grease traps should also be observed. A routine drain checkup by a restaurant plumber is also necessary to detect and prevent potential drain clogs before they become severe.
- Backed up or clogged toilets – Staff should regularly check if toilets and urinals are working properly before opening the restaurant. If water refuses to flush, then there might be something clogging the pipeline. Some guests throw unflushables such as tissue paper into toilets, which might cause the clog. If this happens, call professional plumbing services for restaurants right away before the problem worsens.
Restaurant plumbing is something that must taken seriously to keep business operations sailing smoothly in the long-term. Carefully plan your plumbing system and invest in proper drainage equipment to ensure that your kitchen stays functional and sanitary.
If you need master plumbers to install and repair your restaurant plumbing system, call PT General Contractor Inc. at (416) 757-9100. We’ll be happy to provide you with a free quote for our professional plumbing services.