What Are the Differences Between Commercial and Residential Plumbing?


When constructing a private residence, an office, a shop, or a public place, the plumbing system is one of the most important considerations because it affects the health, safety, and well-being of the residents or users. If you’ve searched “commercial plumbing near me,” you might be thinking about setting up or constructing a business location, or you might need a plumber to help you maintain the system in your building.

To make sure you get the best service possible, hire a commercial plumber who has learned how to work with large, complex spaces like offices or shops. This expert will be able to deal with the intricate system present in a big building, and they will have no trouble working together with your other contractors. What’s more, a commercial plumber is aware of all the important health and safety regulations in your area.

What Are the Differences Between Commercial and Residential Plumbing?

Some plumbers work exclusively on residential buildings, while others specialize in commercial projects. Generally, businesses and large public buildings are more complex to design, build, and maintain, so the plumbers have to complete a specialized course or class to learn how to work in commercial spaces. Once they have completed this training, they have the necessary skills and knowledge to service even the most complex plumbing systems.

Size and Complexity of the System

Most residential systems are much smaller and simpler than commercial ones because they are only designed to serve one family, whereas a commercial setup might need to accommodate tens or even hundreds of people who work at the office, shop, or factory. For this reason, commercial installations require more and larger pipes, systems, and outlets. The toilets, sinks, and showers are likely to see more use on a daily basis, so they need to be sturdier.

Size of the Building

In the US, the average home is under 2,300 square feet large, and there might only be two or three floors. For this reason, the plumbing system won’t need to be very extensive, and it will be quite simple to manage. Offices and workspaces come in many shapes and sizes, but they are often much larger than private homes. A small to mid-sized company employing 50-250 employees might need a building of between 4,000 and 25,000 square feet.

Offices are often four to ten stories tall, and each floor will need toilets, cold water systems, and sinks. Some businesses, like hotels or restaurants, might need an even more extensive plumbing system. Commercial plumbers are trained to work with these large and complex systems, and they will be able to make sure that everything is connected in the right way.


Building and maintaining a residential building is much simpler. While plumbers might have to collaborate with other contractors, such as electricians and construction workers, the teamwork won’t be very extensive, and unless there are supply chain issues, it isn’t hard to complete a residential project on time.

However, coordination with other trades becomes more complex during a commercial project. The plumbing system isn’t the only thing that is more complicated when the building is larger and more specialized. Other contractors, like electricians, HVAC technicians, and building designers, might also be working on a complex setup. For this reason, commercial plumbers must be skilled at working in collaboration with other tradespeople.

Maintenance Requirements

Most plumbers recommend that residential customers get their system checked once a year or once every two years. That way, problems such as clogged or corroded pipes can be discovered early, before they cause a problem like flooding inside the home. Because commercial buildings often get used much more intensely than individual homes, the plumbing system has to be maintained more frequently.

Toilets, sinks, showers, and other water systems that are used more than a few times a day might benefit from biannual checks. Over time, there might also be changes in the laws and regulations related to commercial plumbing systems, so the systems might need to be altered.

Health and Safety Requirements

Health and safety are crucial when it comes to plumbing systems because waste can be toxic and transmit disease. Within a private residence, it is important to make sure the plumbing system doesn’t cause health issues. However, this is even more crucial in a commercial setting, where people from various households come together and use the facilities. To prevent the spread of diseases, all plumbing systems must be created with health and safety in mind.

What Does a Residential Plumber Do?

A domestic plumber can install, maintain, and change the plumbing systems in a private residence such as a house or an apartment. They are not as highly trained as commercial plumbers, but they have still completed a comprehensive course and apprenticeship. If you have a problem at your home, such as a leak or a clogged toilet, calling a residential plumber is a good idea because they might not charge as much as a commercial plumber.

What Does a Commercial Plumber Do?

Someone working in commercial plumbing is able to address the specific needs of larger, more complex buildings. A commercial plumber might be involved in the planning and construction phase of a building, but they will also offer maintenance and service contracts with the aim of keeping the plumbing of the building in good shape for the long run.

In addition to fixing toilets, sinks, and showers, a commercial plumber can help you keep your fire sprinklers in good working order, work on your water heating system, and check your boiler. They might work with a diverse range of businesses, including restaurants, hotels, shops, offices, schools and universities, leisure facilities, factories, and more.

How Often Do Businesses Need a Commercial Plumber?

To keep your plumbing system in good shape, you’ll need to have a full inspection done on a regular basis. But if you’ve googled “commercial plumbing near me,” you might wonder how often this is necessary. The answer is that it depends on the kind of building you have, how frequently your plumbing system is used, and how old the system is.

Getting an inspection once a year is enough for most buildings, but you might need to call your plumbers every six months if you believe your building is at risk of failure, for example, because it is many decades old. You’ll also need an inspection after a major disaster, such as a storm or a fire, to make sure the plumbing hasn’t been affected.

How Can I Prevent Damage to My Commercial Plumbing System?

Sometimes, plumbing systems fail due to old age, a change in the building’s structure, or a problem in the local area. However, many plumbing issues are preventable. Make sure your team members and customers know what they can flush down the toilet and what should be placed into bins. Always use approved cleaning materials to prevent corrosion.

If you’re not sure what chemicals you can use on your toilets, sinks, and showers, speak to your plumbers and ask them for recommendations. It’s also important to clean your pipes and flush your drains regularly, for example, once a month, and to prevent damaging substances, like wax and grease, from entering your drains.

Finding Commercial Plumbing Near Me

Now you know what a commercial plumber does, you might wonder how to find the best one in the area. Since your plumbing system is so crucial, always select a professional who has years of experience. At McIntosh, we have been working in Tulsa for over 65 years, so we have the necessary experience and local knowledge to serve you well.

We are also affiliated with various local and national groups, such as the Better Business Bureau, the Mechanical Contractors Association of America, and the National Environmental Balancing Bureau. These associations help us to stay up-to-date and incorporate new concepts into our work.

What to Look for In a Plumber

The best place to start looking for a plumber is online because you can find out a lot about a business through their website. Search for local professionals, then check what their credentials are and whether they have been serving clients in the local area for a significant amount of time. There should be an “About” page, where you can find out more about the people who will be working for you.

You can also check out the “Clients/ Projects” page, where you can discover what kinds of work the plumbers have completed in the past. That way, you’ll see whether they have experience with your type of building. Finally, going through the reviews and client testimonials is always a good idea because you can find out what working with the technicians is like and whether they met their previous customers’ expectations.

If you’ve Googled “commercial plumbing near me,” you’ve come to the right place. Our experts are highly trained, and they have experience building and maintaining large, complex systems, such as the ones found in offices, shops, hotels, and restaurants. Give us a call at McIntosh Corporation in Tulsa, OK to learn more about our services or to book a maintenance appointment.