Plumber checking on water supply in a commercial building

Industrial & Residential Plumbing: The Difference – Why Know It

Plumbing problems will crop up anywhere, whether it comes in the form of a busted pipe in the office or a clogged sink at home. While it might be natural to think that any good plumber can get the job done—it’s more complicated than one would think.

The reality is that plumbing systems and issues are uniquely different between commercial and domestic properties. This means that plumbing problems require different kinds of expertise to be resolved, depending on where they happen!

When contacting a plumber for your needs, you’ll want to make sure that you get the services of the right one. Knowing the difference between different kinds of plumbing can help in that regard! Here are four main differences that separate residential plumbing from industrial or commercial plumbing.

The pipe grades and fixtures

The main difference between industrial and residential plumbing is the daily usage. Plumbing systems in commercial buildings are used much more frequently than in the average household.

To handle this capacity, higher-grade pipes and fixtures are used. These are typically more durable and heavy-duty than your standard residential pipes and fixtures.

The usage demand

Commercial spaces and buildings have hundreds of people who go through them in a single day while offering just a limited number of facilities that require plumbing (i.e., restrooms, kitchens, etc.). In comparison, a home can have as little as two people who use one bathroom each. Imagine using your home’s toilet a few hundred times a day; it would begin to show wear-and-tear pretty quickly!

While having higher grade pipes and fixtures is one way to mitigate this, it can only prevent so much. Controlling usage and answering demand in industrial or commercial spaces can prevent plumbing issues from happening too often.

The architecture complexity

Residential houses will have pretty straightforward piping layouts and systems. Since this is quite simple, fixing a plumbing issue won’t be as complicated. Industrial plumbing, however, is much more complex. Industrial or commercial plumbers are tasked with drawing up a layout for an entire office building or commercial center, which involves many floors, dozens of toilets, and multiple faucets.

This requires plumbers who can work around the complications and complexities that can arise when dealing with so many interconnected plumbing units. Knowing the difference between industrial and domestic plumbers will ensure that you call the right professional to do the job.

The potential for damage

With architectural complexity comes a greater potential for damage. Larger buildings with more complicated structures will have a higher chance of incurring damages when confronted with a plumbing issue than a simpler house would. 

On the one hand, when a plumbing issue happens in a household kitchen, there’s a small chance that other parts of the house will be affected. Compare that to a fifteen storey building with a pipe burst; several of those floors will probably be affected to a pretty large degree. Parts of the building may even have to be closed or evacuated as the repairs are done.


While industrial and residential plumbers share many of the same core skills needed to resolve a plumbing issue, they have specialized skill sets that make them more suited for different scenarios. Plumbing for residential structures requires a more direct approach with pretty minimal impact. Industrial plumbing, on the other hand, has so many moving parts to factor. As such, these spaces need a plumber who can navigate a more complex setup while anticipating a greater potential for damage.

Getting the most out of plumbing services means choosing the right plumber for you. Here at Top Tier Mechanical, we are always ready with industrial, commercial, and emergency plumbing services in Chilliwack to suit your needs. Check out our services today!

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