All facilities experience plumbing problems from time to time. With plumbing professionals in the U.S. requesting charges of up to $75 an hour, often with a two-hour minimum, if a plumbing issue can be rectified in-house, it can be a significant cost savings for building owners.

Fortunately, some issues can be first looked at before employing the help of a professional.   Because of this, Waterless Co., manufacturer of no-water urinal systems, presents another series of "Common Plumbing Problems and How to Fix Them," this time specific to commercial facilities.

No toilet oomph: With time, some toilets fail to make a complete flush.  This may be caused because the toilet is clogged, but more often the lack of oomph is due to mineral deposits in the jet holes under the rim.  Lift the tank, pour two pints of vinegar in, and let it set overnight.  This usually does the trick.  If not, take a bent paper clip and poke it into each jet hole to remove the deposits.

Frozen water pipes: Building pipes will likely freeze when temperatures drop to 20 degrees (F) or below outdoors.  The lower the outdoor temperatures, the more likely unprotected or marginally protected building pipes will freeze.  Prevention is the best option.  Wrap heat tapes, electrical cords that contain heating elements, around the pipes.  The tapes generate enough heat to keep the pipe from freezing.

No hot water: When a water heater malfunctions, there are often some relatively simple ways to get it up and running.  If electric, check that it is connected to the power supply or that the breaker switch has not flipped off.  On a gas or electric water heater, remove the thermostat cover plate and check if the "high limit switch" has been tripped.  This happens when the water temperature gets too high.  If tripped, simply flip it back on.

Ghost flushes: Sometimes a urinal will flush even when no one is there. Referred to as a "phantom flush," these are not uncommon with water-using urinals and waste thousands of gallons of water every year.  It can be caused by movement in the restroom or light fluctuations. Correct this by adjusting the sensor-operated flush controls.