Water running from a faucet in a bathroom. Flushing water lines.

Why You Need to Flush Water Lines When Reopening a Building

As cities are opening back up from lockdown, this means more people are returning to work. With property managers and business owners looking forward to reopening their buildings and workspaces, preparation begins for dormant buildings to have human activity and noise. One of the needed preparations is plumbing services to ensure the plumbing system is ready to accommodate building users.

Testing the water supply in formerly unused buildings and flushing its plumbing system will prevent pipe damage. It will also halt the dispensing of contaminated water to employees and customers, preventing them from contracting illnesses.

Here’s what you need to know about flushing a plumbing system in a once-quiet building:

Why Flushing Water Lines is Necessary

When a building is regularly used, its water supply system is active. The water continually moves as it flows through the pipes and onto faucets and lavatories. However, when the system is left unused for an extended time, the water becomes still and undergoes numerous changes. Although municipal water supplies have disinfecting agents that make it safe for consumption, these dissipate in the supply lines when the water remains unmoving for several days or weeks.

Pipes can develop a cover with biofilm and microorganisms that are harmful to humans. The stagnant water begins to absorb lead and other metals from the lines, whose protective layer has broken down due to disuse.

How to Flush Your Plumbing System

If you are gearing up to reopen your building or workspace for occupation once again, it’s essential to prepare the water lines beforehand. You must test water quality and rigorously flush the water lines to ensure that it is safe to use and consume. Whether you’re reopening a dormitory, social club, sports facility, or restaurant, all previously dormant buildings must flush their water lines to abide by safety regulations.

Here’s how to flush your plumbing system in five easy steps:

  1. Identify zones within your building and focus on flushing one zone at a time. Once you’ve done this, select an area and run the cold water in your faucets for half an hour.
  2. Empty, flush, and replenish all appliances that store water. These may include water heaters, toilets, drinking fountains, boilers, and ice machines.
  3. Clean or replace the filters in appliances that require these, such as humidifiers or ice machines.
  4. Refill the water heaters. Once this is done, select a zone and run the hot water on all faucets for another half hour.
  5. Sanitize and disinfect plumbing fixtures. These include faucets, showerheads, drinking fountains, and kitchen sprayers. Remove aerators from faucets if possible and decontaminate them as well.

Testing Water Quality

Once you’ve flushed out your plumbing system, you must test the water quality to assess its safety. In this step, you’ll want the assistance of a plumber and have them conduct a commercial plumbing inspection. They have the tools and equipment to check the water for microorganisms and heavy metals that will cause illness if consumed. The test will inform you whether there are problems in the water supply and if you’ll have to repeat the flushing process.

However, if the water test indicates that it is now safe, you’ll still have to flush your faucets and toilets every day until your building experiences regular foot traffic. Regularly flushing your water lines will prevent microorganism growth and metal accumulation from contaminating your supply.


As the country transitions into a new normal, there are unique processes that most people have to implement when going about their daily lives. As more people are returning to commercial spaces and their offices, business owners must ensure that buildings are fit for occupation. Flushing your water lines is an essential step to this, so plan the reopening of your building accordingly to ensure a safe water supply for your employees and clients.

Do you need plumbing repair services to help you flush your building’s water supply system? Let us know at Top Tier Mechanical! We offer gas fitting and plumbing services in Chilliwack and serve surrounding areas. We have a wide range of plumbing services for both industrial and commercial needs. Get in touch with us today to see how we can help you solve your plumbing problems!

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