The Difference Between Commercial and Residential Plumbing

The Difference Between Commercial and Residential Plumbing

Although we might not give it that much thought day to day as plumbing seems to work the same wherever we go, there’s actually a pretty big difference between commercial and residential plumbing

What is residential plumbing?

Residential plumbing deals with services for the home, including water, drain and sewer lines, water heaters and every plumbing-related fixture. 

What is commercial plumbing?

Commercial plumbing entails complex faucet and pipe installation and repair. It covers many different forms of businesses and large housing complexes, and involves the installation and maintenance of extensive waste removal and water supply systems. If you’re looking to hire a professional plumber for your commercial property in Kansas City, be sure that they are commercial rather than residential plumbers. 

11 differences between commercial and residential plumbing

  • Daily usage of the plumbing system

In the commercial space, daily plumbing usage is greater compared to that of residential. This is as a result of frequent use by more clients and employees. In a residential setup, only the family is dependent on the system, thus requiring less pipe fitting and outlets.

  • Size and durability of the plumbing system

As a result of more usage of commercial plumbing, large fixtures with longer durability and high grading should be used. This will reduce cases of break down due to strain and pressure. For household systems, plumbing systems are smaller, and low-grade pipe fixtures might be used as they do not undergo such frequent use.

  • Difference in complexity

Commercial buildings might have multiple floors, lots of sinks, and multiple toilets and urinals, while residential buildings typically have simple and easy navigation through the building. This means that commercial plumbers need to understand a more complex building structure.

  • The efficiency of the plumbing system

No system is perfect and damages might occur at any point. A clogged bathroom in a commercial system might pose a difficulty to many people, and needs to be fixed quickly. It’s advisable to hire a professional who’s experienced in dealing with commercial plumbing because damage that seems small might create a problem through the entire foundation of the piping system.

  • Probability of damage

The complicated plumbing systems in commercial facilities are more prone to damage compared to residential plumbing, which is less complex. Damage to residential plumbing is limited due to the smaller size of the plumbing system, whereas damage to a commercial plumbing system can be a disaster, especially if your workspace covers multiple floors. 

  • The difference in water heaters

For commercial heaters, large storage tanks and more gas input levels are required as commercial buildings have more people who require larger amounts of hot water than in residential homes. Tanks for commercial use are larger and can take up to 250 gallons, while residential heater tanks are typically no larger than 100 gallons.

  • Health issues

More people tend to visit commercial buildings, especially places like restaurants, so there’s a need to follow strict health care laws and ensure good hygiene in your plumbing system. Homes are more easily manageable due to fewer and more controllable occupants. As a result of this, commercial plumbing requires different sets of plumbing fixtures which are easy to clean and drain off quickly.

  • The difference in work scope for the plumber

Commercial plumbing jobs are more repetitive because they can be done on large plants with equipment used for larger applications, unlike residential plumbing which may require different applications on different sections of plumbing. Residential plumbing involves a standard eight-hour work – except for emergencies – while commercial plumbing takes place at any convenient time of the day. At times, commercial plumbing needs to be done during the weekends or holidays when employees aren’t at work. 

  • Job knowledge prerequisites

Commercial plumbing is more schedule oriented, for instance, a repair to be done on an existing building has to be done well within the time frame as more people depend on it, and delays can lead to losses. 

  • Drainage services

Draining residential plumbing is relatively straightforward compared to commercial plumbing. For instance, in multiple storage buildings snaking drain lines is complex and time-consuming, as it requires a plumber to snake from each unit and confirm any clogs are cleared down to the main sewer line. In residential plumbing, commercial issues are simpler to solve. 

  • Cases of dripping and running water 

Determining small leakages and running water is much easier in a residence than in commercial space, because homeowners use the majority of their home plumbing regularly and will notice small leaks. In commercial buildings, especially those with multiple floors, leaks are more easily missed, which might lead to serious dripping, wastage of water and large bills.

If you’re looking for a commercial plumber in Kansas City, contact us today for your customized quote.


Founded in 2004, DMC Service, Inc. is proud of our decade plus service to the Kansas City Metro and beyond. Based out of Olathe, we are a 100% woman-owned business with Karen Crnkovich at the helm as President and “Chief Hand-Shaker”. Karen leads the DMC Service team with unwavering passion and enthusiasm to fulfill our purpose: To keep people comfortable, safe and healthy.

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