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What is the difference between being a plumber in people’s homes and a commercial plumber?

Everyone in life faced with malfunctions of the plumbing system. Many assume the same plumber can solve a problem with a clogged pipe in an apartment building and an office. But in reality, plumbing is much more complicated than it seems at first glance. Residential and commercial plumbing Residential and commercial plumbing share many of the same properties, but also differ significantly from each other. We will consider this issue in more detail in this article.

Features of residential plumbing

Domestic plumbing systems are found in conventional homes, apartment buildings and condominiums in residential areas. Specialists solve plumbing problems in residential homes – fixing drains, sewers, water heaters, etc. 

Features of Commercial Plumbing

Commercial plumbing is more complex than residential ones. It involves installing and repairing faucets and pipes. These specialists serve large residential complexes and a variety of businesses. A plumber is engaged in establishing and maintaining ample water supply and sewerage systems. 

Commercial and domestic plumbing: 6 main differences

Commercial and domestic plumbing solves the same problems: leaking pipes, clogged toilets and more. But in this situation, they differ significantly in their working environment and responsibilities. Below we propose to determine the difference between commercial and residential plumbing on specific parameters. 

Scope of work

The difference between a plumber and a commercial plumber lies more in the scope of work. A commercial plumber serves large buildings with many more tenants and visitors. There are more toilets, sinks and other equipment, and the plumbing system is much more complex. Also, the large number of people in the house leads to the fact that there is a much higher risk of emergencies and routine maintenance needs to be done more often. 

Types of Plumbing Problems

The problems in residential homes are not as dire in scale as breakdowns in commercial properties. We often encounter clogged toilets, dripping faucets, and poor pressure types at home. Commercial plumbing has similar problems, but the scale is much larger. For example, it is much more difficult to find a burst pipe in an office than in a simple residential home. In addition, a commercial plumber needs to solve the problem as quickly as possible. Also, many businesses need to have plumbing and a toilet to use. 

Profile Knowledge

Commercial buildings use special industrial pipes and fixtures, making specific requirements for plumbing skills and tools. For example, commercial involves repairing huge boilers, lift stations, large septic tanks and others. While domestic plumbing often involves repairing toilets, drains, water heaters and other small devices. Regarding knowledge, commercial and residential plumbers have similar skill sets. But this knowledge’s use depends on the building’s size and purpose. 

Plumbing system requirements

Given the size of the building, commercial plumbing has a considerable number of outlets and pipes compared to domestic. In commercial buildings, the system is designed for a more significant number of floors, while residential buildings imply no more than 2. Also, commercial buildings have more complex appliances designed for a massive flow of people who use sinks, plumbing, and toilets. Additionally, any building should be sufficient water pressure, but it is more difficult to achieve in high-rise buildings, where gravity prevents a standard head. 

Plumbing equipment

All equipment must meet specific requirements. For example, large enterprises (factories or office centers) are equipped with large boilers, multi-component sewage systems, industrial pipes and other complex equipment. Presented plumbing must meet the needs of many people and production lines. 

In private homes, the equipment is used much less. Often these facilities need two central communication systems: water supply and sewerage. The capacity of the system is much less compared to commercial buildings. During the plumbing installation, the plumber must know how to do it properly. In addition, it must meet specific requirements. 

Probability of breakage

The latter leads the way if we consider what is more complicated: residential or commercial plumbing. A burst pipe is a real problem in any home, but it is more common in a commercial property where the break is quite challenging to find, repair and prevent the likelihood of a break. A business or office building may need to be shut down completely to complete the repairs. Commercial buildings need to be checked more often and thoroughly because the large flow of people causes an increased demand for plumbing operations. 

What to look for when choosing the right plumber

It does not matter who you need: plumber or commercial plumber – this specialist should have sufficient knowledge and years of experience. When choosing the correct plumber, you should choose a plumber with experience with residential or commercial buildings.

It is also worth ensuring that the plumber and the commercial plumber have the appropriate license, suitable for all modern requirements and regulations. These professionals should be able to do everything:

  • Inspect the system.
  • Diagnose its performance.
  • Identify breakdowns and maintain plumbing.
  • Offer the best solution to any problem.

How do I test my sewer plumbing?

Sewer plumbing is one of the most important communication systems in the home. This part of the plumbing system determines how easy and comfortable it will be for your household to go to the bathroom, take a shower, wash the dishes and perform other daily household processes. If your plumbing is not working correctly, you could face severe problems and inconveniences.

For this system to work correctly, you need to have it serviced regularly. Sewer line leak testing, water heater and sprinkler system testing for the specified capacity, and other tests ensure that the sewer system is working correctly and people will be comfortable living in the house. But getting to the point, only some people know exactly where the sewer lines are in their homes. Not to mention checking them out. If you want to ensure that your sewer line is working correctly and is not affected by any leaks, it is worth digging deeper into the issue and having it checked by a qualified person.

Symptoms of sewer pipe problems: the four most common

A variety of symptoms can indicate problems with the sewer system. Most often, households may notice the following.

Constant water flow

If you hear a faint sound of running water over your head or in the walls after washing something in the sink or using the toilet, this is a sure sign of a leak in the sewer pipes.

Specific Unpleasant Smell

A leak can be indicated by an unpleasant sewer odour that starts seeping through walls or comes from a particular point in the yard.

Strong grass growth

You’ve seen how the grass in the park can be much greener in places with lots of ducks and geese. A similar thing can happen in your front yard if sewage leaks from your sewer pipes. The grass will be greener, lush and taller in the area of the leak. If you notice a lawn like this, you should consider checking your sewer system for leaks.

Rodents show up

Sewage is very attractive to rats. If you notice a rodent infestation in your home, it’s worth testing your sewer system for leaks. No one wants rats in their home, but the presence of these rodents can indicate more serious structural problems with your utilities.

How do I check to see if my sewer pipes are tight?

Every homeowner should know how to perform a sewer leak test. This process can be done in the following ways.

Painting the sewer

Water testing for sewer pipes is entirely possible and will cost relatively cheap. To conduct a drain dye test, you must add a small amount of dye to the toilet bowl or siphon. Then you must flush the toilet a few times or turn on the water in the sink and wait until the dye appears. This process may take several hours. If you notice traces of paint in the area, it is a sure sign of a leaky sewer system.

The same principle is used for the drain smoke test. At home, conducting a DIY sewer smoke test is entirely possible. In this situation, artificially created smoke is launched into the drain or directly drain pipes under low pressure. Smoke test sewer smell will also identify leaks.

Sewer chamber test

Not only can air test sewer pipes, but experts for this task can also use a special sewer chamber to see in detail what is happening inside. Often, sewer lines run under the house itself. Testing begins with the fact that it is necessary to identify the place of the main sewer line and install a special sewer camera. From this area, the master can observe the monitor as the camera moves inside the pipe, looking for any defects.

In addition, more is needed to examine the sewer camera alone. It is only an inspection of the inner surface of the sewer pipe, and it is impossible to assess its condition from the outside. If the result is inconclusive, then smoke testing sewer pipes or other types of examinations must be performed.

Inspection with hydrostatic pressure

Sewer pipe pressure testing involves using special plugs with ball plugs that plug sewer pipes. Depending on the size of the pipe, you need to choose a suitable ball. Before testing with pressure, you must ensure that there is no liquid or debris inside the pipe. The balloon is then inserted and inflated to the point where it blocks the pipe. The tube is then filled with water, and the water level should be observed for 15-20 minutes. If the inlet level decreases, it indicates that there is a leak.

How to solve the problem of a leaking sewer pipe

If you or a handyman has performed a sewer pipe leakage test, sewer gas test, or any other type of test and come to disappointing conclusions, the following options can be used to fix the problem:


The structural lining of a sewer pipe is a minimally invasive, trenchless repair by installing a new line inside the damaged pipe. Before a fork liner is laid, it is impregnated with epoxy resin and placed inside the pipe. It is left there for several hours to allow the resin to cure.

Bursting a sewer pipe

This repair process involves a trenchless method. In practice, it replaces the damaged pipe by pulling in a brand-new one. To do the lining, the damaged sewer pipe must have some structural integrity and not be destroyed.

Spray cladding

This process involves spraying a flexible polymer resin spray on the inside of the pipe where the defect is located.


Many homeowners take the sewer system for granted. In reality, however, these communications consist of a complex maze of pipes, fittings and other elements that need regular and expert maintenance to check their performance. If something goes wrong, if there is a leak or other defect, it can significantly reduce the comfort of living. Armed with professional knowledge of sewer pipe testing, what to look for and what signs indicate leaks, you can easily recognize any problem and fix it on time.

How to use a plumbing snake?

If there is a clog in your pipe that a plunger can’t handle, you should ask yourself how a plumbing snake works and how to use it properly to clean the pipe. The presented tool is a more powerful handheld sewer pipe cleaner compared to the classic plunger. Still, it is also more challenging to use. This tool is difficult to manoeuvre in the bends of the pipeline and steep turns. We recommend reading our material to learn how to use a manual plumbing snake and avoid common mistakes. We will tell you what a plumbing snake is, how to use it correctly and give professional advice.

Drain snake – what is it and what is it for

The sewage snake is a unique plumbing tool which consists of the following:

  • a piece of metal (most often steel is taken), coiled into a spiral, its thickness is often a quarter of an inch;
  • the handle, where the spiral is attached.

The metal spiral is shaped like a snake, hence the name. If you’re wondering how plumbing snakes work, this tool allows you to pick up an obstruction in the pipe and break up the clog to make flushing the pipe easier. The snake also removes the clog in the sewer so that there are no more obstructions inside.

This tool comes in several types and sizes. If you are wondering what size plumbing snake you need, it should be chosen depending on the pipe size and the clog’s complexity. As for the varieties, you can find on sale a cable drill, in which the metal spiral is several feet long and wraps around a spool with a handle. There are also models where the reel is replaced by a shaft to hold the coiled metal in place. The end of this tool is curved, allowing it to move around curved pipes. In addition, there are unique powered versions to remove large clogs far away from the toilet bowl, drain or sink.

How to use a plumbing snake

It also does not hurt to know how to work a plumbing snake. This tool is familiar to those who have tried to clean a clogged drain, toilet bowl or sink with a plunger, but all attempts have failed. In this situation, it is worth using a particular sewer snake.

Considering what a plumbing snake is used for, this tool is excellent for persistent clogs that are pretty difficult to remove. It’s also great for clogs a few inches or a few feet away from the pipe. If you have a reasonably small clog, however, it’s worth using a plunger, which creates a vacuum that cleans the pipes and removes minor clogs.

A guide on how to use a plumbing snake

Suppose you’re wondering how to use a plumbing snake toilet and other pipes. In that case, we recommend reading our step-by-step guide on properly removing a clog with your own hands at home with just one tool.

No. 1: Dismantling the U-trap and opening the access to the drain

If you’re cleaning your sink, it’s worth removing the U-shaped siphon – a curved pipe with a diameter of 1-2 inches. This is where the standing water is held to ensure the drain is sealed from sewer gases. You can disassemble the siphon yourself. Before working, you should throw towels on the floor. It would help if you also put an empty bucket under the siphon. If you are disassembling the bathroom drain, you can access it through the overflow.

No. 2: Pull out the cable

First, you need to loosen the thumbscrew on the drain pipe reel. Next, pull the cable out and place it in the drain pipe. Move forward until you hit an obstacle.

No. 3: Hook the clog.

It would help if you tightened the thumbscrew on the drum. Next, gently turn the handle on the tool 2-3 times.

No. 4: Pull the cable toward you

Loosen the thumbscrew on the tool. After that, gently and without jerking, pull the sewer snake out of the pipe.

No. 5: Clean the pipe all the way through

If you think you still need to pull all the way out of the drain, it’s worth repeating the above steps again. It is only possible to check the drain by fully assembling the drain pipe. So it is best to keep going by the word until you get to the end of the cable to ensure there are no clogs.

No. 6: Test the drain

After removing the clog, you need to reassemble the drain pipe. Next, open the water to test how well it goes in.

№ 7: Clean the snake

After you take the tool out of the pipe, it needs to be thoroughly cleaned. Debris, hair and other things can contain pathogenic bacteria on the spring and along the cable, and they should not be dragged inside the reel. Also, the cable should not be wet, as it can become rusty. Be sure to dry it out after rinsing it.

How to make a plumbing snake turn corners

One of the most common questions is how to get a plumbing snake around a corner. Going around the bends of a plumbing system, mainly right corners, causes quite a bit of trouble. As you gain practice, getting around corners will become more accessible, the main thing is to move the tool in the right direction.

Suppose you are wondering how to get a plumbing snake around corners before inserting the tool into the pipe. In that case, you should bend its end 3-4 inches from the edge, making it faster and easier to get around the corner when it appears in front. You can pull the cable slightly when you get to the bend. This will reposition the tool so the end is at an angle relative to the curve. You can then move the cable further toward the clog.

Professional tips for using a plumber’s snake

Finally, we also want to give you some tips on how to use a plumbing snake on a toilet:

  • try to pull the cable straight out. You can turn it counterclockwise, you can also loosen the clog somewhat and try to pick it up again;
  • if you feel the instrument is stuck, do not twist the drum any further, as this will only worsen the situation. It is best to fix the screw and twist the drum with the cable in the opposite direction, slowly pulling the instrument towards you.

All in all, there should be no problem with a concept like plumbing snake how to use. The main thing is to move carefully without sudden movements and learn all the tool operation rules.