Restaurant plumbing is a little different from residential plumbing. Although both share common elements such as toilets and sinks, there are a few different components that you don’t see in the average home. You also don’t see the FDA coming in to your house to ensure the plumbing system is set up correctly and working safely. For restauranteurs, here a few components you need to be mindful of.
1. Air Gaps
The air gap is the clear vertical distance that stands between the lowest opening of a pipe and the flood level rim of a vessel. According to the FDA, air gaps should be twice the inside diameter of the water pipe that’s above the flood rim level.
2. Air Breaks
Air breaks are a specific piping arrangement where the drain discharges into another fixture which is below the flood level rim. The connection isn’t an unobstructed vertical distance and it’s not connected, but it does help prevent backflow to potable water sources.
Traps provide a liquid seal that prevent sewer gasses from emitting out into your restaurant without affecting the flow of sewage and wastewater through your piping system. These gasses not only smell bad, they can make your staff and guests sick, as well.
There are two types of traps according to the FDA: integral and P traps. Integral traps are built directly into the fixture, like a toilet. P traps are called so because they are shaped like the letter “P”. These are commonly found in sink fixtures.
4. Vacuum Breaker
A vacuum breaker is attached to a toilet or urinal’s flush valve and it prevents backflow from entering a public drinking water system. The FDA defines backflow as “the flow of liquids, mixtures, or substances into the distributing pipes of another to a source other than its intended source, such as a potable water source.”
5. Condensate Pump
A condensate pump transfers the water from an HVAC, refrigeration, condensing boiler furnace, or steam system. If your restaurant plumbing system doesn’t have the appropriate draining system, you may end up with structural issues. For example, if water that gets trapped inside your pipes then also freezes during extreme cold, it can significantly damage the HVAC system, which can cause cracks and leaks in your panels and flooring.
Other Things to Watch Out For
Along with meeting the FDA’s requirements, you’ll also need to keep your restaurant plumbing running smoothly for the surprise health inspection visits. A poor grade from them can ruin your reputation and shut down your business for good. Preventative maintenance is always recommended, but be sure to keep the number of a good emergency plumber nearby, just in case.
We’re Here to Help
Meeting the FDA’s requirement for restaurant plumbing is important for running a safe environment for your employees, guests, and the city you work in. Whether you’re renovating, upgrading, or building a new restaurant, contact Hulsey Environmental Services (a Blue Flow Company) to ensure the job gets done right.