What is the difference between an industrial plumber and a residential plumber? How could plumbing be any different really, between an individual house and an office building? When you think about it, they both have pipes carrying water to and from certain places, so how different could it really be? There’s a surprisingly large difference between the two types of plumbing systems. Understanding the difference is the first step in finding out what kind of plumbing issue you could be having and who you need to call. There are four areas where residential and industrial plumbing differs:

Industrial vs. Residential Pipe Grades and Fixtures

The main difference between residential and industrial plumbing that you need to keep in mind is how much greater the daily usage of everything is for industrial. In commercial buildings, the plumbing systems are going to be used a lot more frequently and thus the grade of the pipes and fixtures needs to be higher. These need to be more heavy-duty, requiring more durability than a single household would.

The Complexity of Architecture

In a residential home, the piping system is going to be rather straight forward. It’s going to be rather simple to map out through the skeleton of the building. Industrial plumbing in Toronto, however, is a lot more complex. There are multiple floors, dozens of toilets, loads of sinks and everything becomes a lot more chaotic. Plumbers who serve industrial buildings have a deeper understanding of this complexity and know that there can be a lot more surprises than in a single household.

Potential for Damages

When you deal with a complicated plumbing system, the potential for damages greatly increases than it would be for residential. When something goes wrong in one part of the house, there’s a limited amount of damage that can be done. Mind you, it can be a lot of damage—like a burst pipe—but if you take that and multiply it by 30 floors, you’ve now gone from an “oh dear” problem to an “ABANDON SHIP” level of disaster.

Usage Demand

If you used your home’s toilet 50 times a day, it would certainly start to show some wear-and-tear pretty quickly. The same applies to industrial plumbing. The fact that you have the potential for several hundred people in one building to be using a limited number of facilities means that they’re going to get worn out a lot faster than your household ones. Having a higher grade and a more durable system helps to off-set this, but it can still only do so much. This is the biggest difference between industrial plumbing and residential.

Plumbing is plumbing; you might think it’s all the same because after all, there isn’t a whole lot of variety in the plumbing world. But the differences between residential and industrial plumbing systems can be as pronounced as apples and oranges. They’re both plumbing, but that’s all that they have in common. Residential plumbing is more straightforward and has limited impact, whereas industrial is big, loud and obnoxious. When you’re trying to figure out the difference between the two, think of it this way: residential plumbing is like the quiet, nice friend who stays in the corner and doesn’t talk much. Industrial plumbing, however, is like an über loud friend who talks more than anyone else, and whose bad side you really want to avoid.