One of the most important services we provide for our commercial clients is drain and sewer cleaning. We recommend clients schedule this as routine service. We can certainly come to the rescue when a facility is endangered because of clogged drains or a sewer line causing sewage backup—it’s why we have 24-hour emergency service available for commercial drain services in Falls Church, VA. But these cleaning jobs done as regular maintenance can head off numerous problems and potential closures due to code violations.
Our main tool for handling commercial drain/sewer cleaning is the hydro-jetter. This device blasts water at extremely high pressure through a hose inserted into the drain and sewer pipes. The force scours the pipes clean. This is a job that only licensed professionals can handle for a range of reasons—one of which is safety. High-pressure water is dangerous: it only takes water at 100 psi to break human skin, and we often use water at pressures of 2,000 psi. Technicians must take special precautions to avoid serious injuries.
Here are the protections (personal protection equipment, PPE) we use to keep our team members safe when providing hydro-jetting:
Think of this as the world’s strongest baseball catcher protective gear. These aprons cover the chest, stomach, and abdomen—areas of the body most vulnerable and most likely to be hit by a high-pressure water blast. The special materials used to make these aprons is stronger than steel wire—it’s the material often used to tie ships at anchor in harbors. Although heavy, the design of the aprons allows for freedom of movement by the technician and the weight is evenly distributed.
No, not gloves. These gauntlets are the heaviest protections possible for hands, but they still leave the palm exposed so the technician can use the hydro-jetting tools with the required precision. The gauntlets cover the other parts of the hand and all the way up the arm.
Feet and legs need protection as well where the apron doesn’t provide cover. The gaiters that hydro-jetting technicians use are often manufactured from aluminum. They provide full protection from all sides.
The helmets used during hydro-jetting are the same quality as used in other dangerous occupations such as firefighting. The industrial strength plastic face shielding gives full protection to the technician, and the helmet completely covers the rest of the head and neck.
We abide by all the latest industry standards as set out by the National Association of Sewer Services Companies (NASSCO) to ensure the highest level of safety on any commercial hydro-jetting job we take on. We follow all OHSA requirements and our technicians have the proper certification and the highest level of training necessary to use all the equipment. Our company is fully licensed and insured in Washington, DC, Maryland, and Virginia to ensure your protection as well. We’ve been in the business since 1954 and we always keep up with the latest in technology to provide the best service to our customers.
One of the vital services we offer to our many commercial customers is proper air balancing for their HVAC systems. This is a part of climate control and ventilation in a building that often gets ignored. Our technicians frequently find that the source of troubles like high and low humidity, cold and hot spots, and stuffy air stem from bad air balance and negative air pressure in a building. Thanks to air balancing services, we can remedy this.
What Is Air Balancing?
Air balancing is a process that HVAC professionals perform to ensure that the AC and heater for a building are delivering the desired or necessary air and air pressure to the rooms. To perform air balancing requires technicians to assess airflow from different registers in the building and check on system pressure using manometers. The technicians also check on the heat levels in rooms as well as humidity using advanced equipment. The tests will tell our professionals what issues your building has with air balance—and what we can do about it.
Why Air Balancing Is Critical
An HVAC system is about much more than the heating and cooling power it provides. It’s easy for people who aren’t trained in climate control and ventilation in commercial buildings to assume that the air sent around the building is adequate and that problems with stuffy, dry, and cold conditions around the building are a fault with the heater or the AC.
But poor air balance throws off the entire HVAC system. Think of it as owning an expensive musical instrument, except that it’s out of tune. A great heating and cooling system will be “out of tune” if it has poor air balancing, and that throws off everything. You’ll spend money on heating and cooling only to still have a building where nothing feels right.
Problems you may encounter in a building or facility due to poor air balancing include swings in humidity levels, smoke and other exhaust products gathering in rooms because of air pressure problems, condensation on equipment, and general discomfort among people in the building, even though the AC and heater seem to be operating as they’re supposed to.
What Causes Poor Air Balance
There are many potential sources for poor air balancing in a building, which is why you want only experienced commercial HVAC services in Fairfax, VA from people with the best equipment, training, and history. They’ll track down the issues and fix them. Here are a few potential trouble spots:
Leaks along the ductwork
Worn down blower or exhaust fans
Improperly sized filters
Malfunctioning make-up air units
Poorly installed or broken outdoor air dampers
Air balancing involves identifying the specific issues at play and then “tuning-up” the building so the HVAC system properly distributes air and creates a slightly positive indoor air pressure.
This is a difficult and intricate job, so please only trust professionals like our team to handle it. We’ll make sure your building has an HVAC system that does all parts of its job the way you need.
Not all commercial and industrial facilities have a connection to the municipal sewer system. Instead, they must rely on an on-site septic tank system to handle waste removal. Since the waste in the septic tanks has nowhere else to go (except to leak out of the tank—you never want that!), the tanks must have regular pumping from experts in commercial plumbing in Baltimore, MD. This isn’t a job you want to have done by amateurs or attempt to do by purchasing the equipment yourself. Because of concerns about health and water contamination, only licensed professionals are permitted to handle this job.
Why It’s Vital to Remember Regular Pumping
We understand nobody wants to dwell on the septic tank. You probably rarely give it much thought as long as it’s working. But what if it isn’t working? You’ll notice it quickly, and it can be a serious problem. Here are reasons to have pumping done on a schedule:
Code violations: A backed-up septic tank can cause your business to be shut down due to health code violations. This is the last thing you want! You don’t want to be dealing with clean up because of septic issues while also trying to get your facility or establishment open again.
Property damage: A septic tank that’s overfull can start to leak, leading to damage to areas outside the property. It can also cause damage to the drainfield, the part of the septic tank that releases the gray water from the tank after the sludge and scum are left behind.
Terrible odors: One warning sign that you’re overdue for septic tank pumping is when sewage odors begin to waft from drains. This is sewage gas being forced back through the drainpipes. Don’t hesitate to call for pumping when this happens.
Permanent damage to the tank: A tank that starts to leak because it hasn’t been pumped may not be salvageable. Replacing a septic tank is a costly job you don’t want to be trapped with. Pumping the tank regularly helps increase its service life.
How Often Should I Schedule Pumping?
This is The Big Question business owners and operators want to know. If they don’t want to wait for the warning signs, they’ll have a schedule for when the tank is pumped. But how frequent should the schedule be?
It depends on many factors, such as what type of business you run and how much waste and what kind of waste goes into the tank. The tank size also needs to be considered. We cannot give a single answer. For example, home septic tanks may only need pumping every 3 to 5 years, while large businesses may need pumping more than once a year.
Our team of professionals has a long history of working with septic tank systems. We can come to your business and look at the plumbing and give you a pumping schedule that will keep away problems. We have the top-of-the-line equipment to do the job, and we’ll safely transport the waste away and handle the disposal. It’s our goal to do the work right so you won’t have to worry.
We encourage all our customers to be proactive to prevent major plumbing problems in their commercial facilities. We understand that thinking about the plumbing in your building isn’t always a priority, but when you encounter an issue such as fully clogged drains, you’ll have to call emergency services right away to deal with it.
It isn’t difficult to prevent clogging in the drains and sewer lines for your company. All you have to do is arrange for a commercial plumbing inspection to locate where you may need service.
One of the services we often provide for our customers to help them keep away serious plumbing problems is drain cleaning.
Drain Cleaning: Cure and Prevention
When drains are slow or clogged, it’s time to have drain cleaning done. Commercial drain cleanings are the safest and most effective way to open up those drains and keep them open. Attempting to do simple fixes in-house with tools more appropriate for home plumbing is not good enough for a commercial facility. You want to have our experts in there with the best drain cleaning equipment possible.
But drain cleaning is also an effective preventive maintenance tool. During a commercial plumbing inspection, we may recommend drain cleaning to scour out pipes that contain too much build-up inside them. Professional drain cleaning is thorough enough that it’s difficult for a build-up to start again on the pipe walls. It also helps control drain odors.
One of the standard tools we use during drain cleaning—usually when handling a clog—is the drain snake, aka the drain auger. You may have seen drain snakes sold in stores for use in homes. The drain snakes we use are much more powerful, and they reach the full length of sewer lines. We insert the drain snake cable down into the pipe that needs cleaning and then drill the auger head into the obstruction to break it up or remove it.
This is a powerful method of eliminating clogged up drains when the drain snake cannot handle it and is the preferred method for preventive drain cleaning. Imagine using a hose with a pressure nozzle to wash objects off a wall. That’s essentially what a hydro-jetter does, only it is far more powerful, more precise, and can be inserted down into sewer lines and drain pipes to clean them from the inside. The scouring power blasts through clogs and removes build-up from pipe walls, leaving a thoroughly clean pipe behind.
Video Pipe Inspection Cameras
At any point during an inspection, unclogging, or cleaning, we may use advanced video pipe inspection cameras to examine the plumbing from within. These cameras resemble drain snakes: long fiber-optic cables with a digital camera and LED light mounted on the end. The images from the camera sent back to our monitors allow us to pinpoint problem areas and find out what type of work is necessary to clean the pipes.
You can arrange for commercial plumbing inspections, drain cleaning, and any other commercial plumbing service in Arlington, VA with our experienced team. We’re fully staffed and equipped to handle any commercial plumbing job, no matter the size.
Water loss management, or water loss control, is finding ways to prevent massive amounts of water waste through destructive leaks. For homes, this is as simple as calling for a plumber to seal leaks, or to handle basic leak detection to spot locations where water is escaping from pipes. When it comes to commercial plumbing, water loss management is complex and requires professionals using a variety of advanced tools.
The loss of water from a commercial building can be tremendous and put a massive dent in a company’s budget. A skilled and experienced commercial plumber in Washington, DC can help identify aging pipes needing replacement and other areas where expensive water loss in a building can be remedied.
How Our Plumbers Help With Water Loss Management
There’s no single tool used for identifying areas of water loss. Our experienced plumbers use a range of techniques and advanced tools.
Basic leak detection is used to determine the existence of leaks, although it doesn’t necessarily tell us where they’re occurring. Checking on water meters is one way to see a pattern, but our plumbers will take more active measures, such as using listening devices along water lines and at valves.
The actual work of leak location is more involved, although it uses some similar tools such as listening devices. To help us identify when we are closing in on a leak, the listening devices have ways of measuring the intensity of the sound they’re picking up. (“You’re getting warmer … warmer ….”) However, noise from the ground or other machinery can interfere with this. We can use leak noise correlators to pinpoint the location more exactly. These devices take measurements between two sensors and then use software to mathematically determine where the leak is occurring between them—with high accuracy.
One of the newer technologies in water loss management is leak mapping. This method allows us to collect information that not only identifies leaks but locates problem areas that may soon lead to leaking. This tool is great for planning plumbing renovations and rehabilitation for older buildings. We can create a “leak history” to help a facility not only now but in the future.
We can also monitor leaks through leak loggers, which are designed to help identify leaks that are otherwise difficult to hear during normal business hours because of outside noise. A leak logger can be put in place and left there, monitoring for water loss during late nights and over weekends. We can use loggers to find out the extent of a leak and if it’s worsening. We can also put in place permanent leak loggers to actively monitor for the appearance of new leaks. This is an excellent proactive preventive measure for buildings where water loss has been a problem before. The sooner we catch leaks when they’re small, the easier they are to deal with.
Call the Commercial Plumbing Contractor With Almost 70 Years of Experience
Magnolia Commercial has served Washington, DC, Maryland, and Northern Virginia since 1950. We have the tools, the experience, and the training to provide you with the water loss management you need—no matter the size of your business or facility. We’ll find the solution that’s ideal for you.
Residential heating and air conditioning contractors always stress with their customers the importance of arranging for a visit from a technician to inspect and tune-up their AC and heater during the year. The tune-ups occur for the AC in spring and the heater in fall. But what goes for residential goes doubly important for commercial buildings, and the frequency of maintenance may be more as well.
Handling maintenance is one of the essential services we offer to our commercial clients. We have almost 70 years of history and we’ve seen first hand the benefits, as well as the necessities, of commercial HVAC maintenance. Here’s why you can’t afford to skip routine inspections and tune-ups for the equipment handling environmental controls in your commercial building.
During the winter, failed heating systems can put an entire operation in jeopardy. No matter if the heater is important for employee comfort, client satisfaction, or to protect equipment and process in a facility, if it stops work it can bring a company to a halt. The same applies to a cooling system in summer.
Although commercial maintenance cannot guarantee an end to unexpected HVAC failures, it can prevent the large majority of them. The technicians run through a detailed checklist to inspect the heating and cooling system to locate early signs of trouble, and the adjustments and cleaning give the systems the best chance to make it through the coming months without trouble.
What percentage of your annual budget goes to heating and air conditioning? Regardless of the type of business you operate, the cost is probably quite high—and you absolutely don’t want it higher than necessary. If heating and air conditioning systems don’t have service regularly to reduce wear and tear and keep them clean, they will drain excessive amounts of power to operate, and that’s money going to waste. To stop a decline of 5% per year in HVAC performance (and a subsequent rise in bills), enroll in professional commercial HVAC maintenance.
Your business is an investment. And every piece of equipment in your business space is an investment. The longer the service life of the equipment, the better the return on your investment. Neglecting to maintain powerful commercial HVAC systems puts them in danger of needing a replacement many years before they otherwise would. In fact, a commercial furnace or rooftop unit might not even make it to half its estimated lifespan without maintenance!
Protect Equipment Warranties
Not only do commercial inspections and tune-ups improve HVAC equipment life, but they also ensure warranties remain in force. You don’t want to be stuck paying to replace a massive air conditioning system that fails due to a factory fault years too early. When you keep the warranty current, you’re protected against a disaster like this.
Only rely on the best commercial HVAC company in Falls Church, VA for maintenance services. No job is too big for us! We’re fully equipped and staff to take care of commercial heating, air conditioning, and ventilation needs. Our motto is: “CAN DO. WILL DO. WELL DONE—GUARANTEED!”
The hygiene of a commercial facility is essential for its operation. When sewer odors appear in your facility, it can indicate serious problems. But even smaller issues must be resolved quickly, and it requires professional commercial plumbers to track down the source of the problem so it can be remedy promptly and correctly.
There are several potential causes for the odor of sewage to enter a commercial building. Below we’ve listed a few of the most common.
Dried p-traps in unused or abandoned areas
Large facilities may have sections that are no longer used or have been sealed off. If there are drains in these areas still connected to the main sewage system, sewer gas can escape up through the drains and waft into the space. The p-traps in these drains (the curved section directly underneath the drain) will have dried out and removed a barrier from the movement of sewer gas. We recommend having plumbers seal up the pipes with cement.
Leaking sewer vents or inadequately installed vents
Sewer vents allow the build-up of sewer gas in the drainage system to rise and escape through the roof, balancing the pressure. If leaks develop along the sewer vent pipes, it will allow the sewer gas to enter rooms through the walls. It requires plumbers using leak detection methods to find the precise location of the leaks so they can be accessed and sealed or repiped.
If the drain vents were not installed correctly (the wrong pipe diameter, for example), poor venting will result in sewer gas rising up from drains. Plumbers will need to replace the sewer vents with the properly sized pipes.
Clogged plumbing vents
Damage to the vents, animal nests, or storm damage may clog the vent openings. This will push the sewer gas back down into the drainpipes and up through drains. (You may notice a gurgling sound coming from drains; this indicates sewer gas percolating through the water barrier in the p-traps.) Please don’t try to go to the roof of your facility if you think this is the trouble! Leave all this work to the commercial specialists.
Sewer line, septic line clogging or leaks
The sewer line (or septic line if your facility uses a septic tank) may become clogged with debris or tree root infiltration, leading to a backup in the line that will affect the whole building. Odors are often the first warning sign of a major issue like this. Professional sewer line cleaning or repair is necessary to fix the issue. In extreme cases, the sewer line may need to be replaced.
For commercial sewer line repair and commercial drain cleaning in Falls Church, VA, or any other commercial plumbing service your business needs to keep running, you can depend on our team. No other service contractor provides the wide range of commercial services that we do—if you need it done, we can do it for you. We’ve served the area since 1950, and no job is too large for our fully equipped staff.
Commercial plumbing systems can run into all of the same problems as residential plumbing during the fall—but on a much bigger and more urgent scale. As we continue into the fall and head toward winter, be ready to move fast with commercial plumbing repairs as soon as you detect anything wrong. You can reach us 24/7 for the help you need.
Below we’ve listed a few of the commercial plumbing troubles you might see in the coming months.
Ejector Pit Overflowing
This is a serious emergency: if the ejector pump responsible for moving sewage along from your building fails, the ejector pit will overflow. Your first warning of this will often be sewer smells wafting from the lower parts of the building. Never hesitate to call commercial professionals when you detect this, because even if the issue isn’t the ejector pit, there’s something wrong with the sewage system.
Clogged drains are an annoyance in a home. They are much bigger trouble in commercial plumbing and more common since you have less control about what ends up going down drains and flushed down toilets. If drain clogs are becoming frequent, we recommend you arrange for thorough drain cleaning with professional plumbers.
Water Temperature Drops
If your business relies on hot water to operate, take seriously any indication of issues with the water temperature—it probably means you need repairs done to the water heater (or even a replacement water heater). We strongly recommend having professionals inspect your commercial water heater every few months to help prevent these problems.
We recommend you always keep a close watch on the water bills for your company, since spikes are a warning of “silent leaks,” the hidden leaks that don’t make themselves known immediately. These leaks not only wastewater, but they also pose significant structural hazards and can lead to the development of unhealthy mold. Have our plumbers check your facility for hidden leaks as soon as you can to head off larger problems.
Low Water Pressure
Although a drop in water pressure could come from the municipal system, it may also warn of trouble with the pressure regulator or major blockage along the supply lines. It might even point toward a burst pipe.
Aging, Decaying Risers
Risers are vertical metal (usually copper) or plastic supply lines that carry water through multi-story buildings. These pipes often go ignored for years and can start to deteriorate, leading to condensation on the outside of the pipes and corrosion from the inside. This will put strain on the entire plumbing system. We recommend replacing older risers in your building, especially if you have noticed an increase in costs. (These risers may be one of the sources of hidden leaks.)
We’re the company to turn to for your commercial plumbing in Washington, DC and the surrounding areas. We’re fully equipped and staffed, and no job is too big for us to take on. We know that every second counts when you have a commercial plumbing emergency, and we’re dedicated to getting to you fast and working to get the trouble fixed.
Magnolia Commercial Plumbing Heating Cooling has served the companies of the Washington, DC area for over 50 years and three generations. Schedule plumbing service with us.
Commercial heating systems are placed under a lot of strain during the heating season. The bigger the building, the harder the system has to work to heat it. Of course, it’s hard for customers and employees to focus when they can’t feel their fingers because of the cold, so going without isn’t really an option. Before you start to rely on your commercial heating system on a regular basis this winter, you should take certain steps to make sure that it’s as healthy as possible.
Schedule Preventive Maintenance
If you’re a building manager, you probably have a hundred more pressing things on your mind than whether or not the heater is working properly. Until, of course, the heater stops working. By that point, though, the damage is done and there isn’t a whole lot that you can do about it without paying through the nose for repairs. Fortunately, there is a way around all of that unpleasantness.
Scheduling preventive maintenance at least once a year gives your technician the opportunity to locate and resolve developing issues in your system before they have the opportunity to worsen to the point of threatening the system. This can reduce the odds of a serious problem developing with your heating system by up to 90%, and increase the energy efficiency of the system by up to 40%. You can save thousands of dollars in repair bills by scheduling maintenance on a regular basis throughout the life of your system. This is the reason why maintenance is the single best way to ensure that your heater stays healthy.
Know The Signs
Even consistently scheduling preventive maintenance is not a guarantee that you will avoid any and all problems with your commercial heating system over the winter months. So, you should still know ahead of time what to look for that should prompt a call for repairs. The faster you can recognize some sort of problem with your commercial heating system, the faster you can get it fixed and the better off your system will be.
We don’t have the space to go over every possible symptom that an indicate your heater is in need of repairs. The best thing to do is to call for repairs if you notice anything at all that makes you think your heart might not be functioning properly. Specific symptoms include a drop in heating output, low airflow, odd noises, and short cycling. You8 should also consider calling a technician if your heater appears to be costing more from month to month than it normally does, as that might indicate that the system is having trouble operating properly.
Magnolia Commercial Plumbing Heating Cooling offers a full range of commercial HVAC services in Falls Church, VA. If you need help getting your commercial heating system in top shape for the winter, contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of our professional technicians. We will make sure that your commercial heating system is in the best possible shape to keep your building warm and comfortable this winter.
Commercial HVAC systems are built to last quite a while, especially with proper care and maintenance. Of course, you know that no amount of maintenance is going to get your system to last forever. Sooner or later, you’re going to need to replace your current HVAC system with a new one. When exactly should you do that? Well, the best way to know for certain is to schedule an appointment with a technician and have them evaluate your system. Before you reach that step, though, keep an eye out for the following signs that your commercial HVAC system could probably use replacing.
Spikes in Monthly Costs
Monthly heating and air conditioning are obviously going to cause spikes in energy costs during the months when they’re in heavy use. However, if you start to notice that your monthly bills are way higher than they normally are for this time of year, you might want to consider calling a technician. That often happens because the system is losing efficiency from all the years of wear and tear. This loss of efficiency forces the system to operate for longer periods of time to get the same results, which in turn leads to higher monthly costs.
The older and more worn out a system gets, the more prone to breaking down it’s going to be. Needing repairs once every few years should not be a sign of concern. Needing repairs once a year is. Breaking down that often is typically a sign that the system is so worn out that the various parts of the system are starting to succumb en masse. This issue cannot be solved by simply repairing the broken parts, and will indeed only get worse the longer you insist on using the system. If your commercial HVAC system is breaking down this frequently, then the best thing that you can do is to schedule an appointment to replace it. The alternative is to keep repairing the system over and over until it breaks down entirely.
The average commercial HVAC system tends to last between 10 and 20 years, depending on the kind of system that is being used. The longer the system is in use past that point, the more likely it will be to develop chronic issues that will make it difficult (and costly) to keep operating. For this reason, we recommend calling a professional technician to check on your system. They’ll be able to tell you for certain whether or not you need a new system installed in your building. You might be able to keep your current system operating past that age, of course. Chances are, though, that you’re just going to be paying much more in the long run than if you had just installed a new system right now.