Commercial Ice Machine Maintenance and Cleaning Requirements 

Did you know that your commercial ice machine could quickly become a public health hazard without regular maintenance, cleaning, and sanitizing? 

It’s true! 

Any part of the machine contacting the water supply can develop. 

  • Mineral deposits
  • Scale buildup
  • Slime (usually pink or brown)
  • Mold

Without regular cleaning and sanitizing, your hotel, bar, or restaurant could serve potentially contaminated food to guests and patrons.   

Because ice is edible and ingestible by humans, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers ice a food product. As a result, ice-making, storage, and shipping fall under its jurisdiction and regulation. Typically, the FDA inspects large ice-producing plants that provide bagged ice to retail outlets. However, local health departments handle most food prep, food service, retail, and medical facility inspections. 

The FDA guidelines recommend following the specific installation, maintenance, cleaning, and sanitizing procedures per the manufacturer’s recommendations, but never less than twice a year. 

Once a contaminant reaches your ice machine, the ice and cold temperature can help preserve the germs while the inherent moisture allows them to reproduce. The result is a sticky “biofilm” (typically pink or brown in color) that is difficult to remove permanently without the proper cleaning and sanitizing products. Mold is also highly problematic because the colony can quickly reestablish itself in the corners, crevices, or missed spots. 

Ice Machine Cleaning and Sanitizing Schedules 

If you still need a formalized cleaning and sanitizing schedule, here are some essential factors to consider as you create one. 

Your business type – A busy bar or restaurant is a much different working environment than a medical facility. 

Ice machine location – An ice machine in a commercial kitchen will require more cleaning and sanitizing than one in a hotel lobby. 

Usage – Frequent and consistently used machines require more cleaning and sanitizing cycles.  

Local water conditions – Could be responsible for clogged lines and filters and contribute to mineral deposit buildup. 

Additionally, if your commercial ice machine exhibits the following performance issues, it’s probably time for a cleaning and sanitizing procedure. 

  • Diminished ice production
  • Ice does not release properly
  • Slow or extended production cycles
  • Shallow or incomplete cubes
  • Low ice capacity
  • The machine does not cycle through phases correctly
  • Soft or cloudy ice cubes

Lastly, if your machine requires excessive cleaning and sanitizing to work efficiently, you may need to test the water supply. Some localities may need water treatment to address high mineral content levels. 

How to Clean and Sanitize Your Ice Machine 

Before we jump into the cleaning and sanitizing, you’ll need to assemble a few items.  

Determine the make and model of your ice machine 

If you need access to the owner’s manual, locate the manufacturer’s tag and do a Google search to find the appropriate service manual online. For example, “Ice Master 2600 service manual” or “Manitowoc Elite Series Gold ice machine owner’s guide.” 

Assemble the necessary equipment and supplies 

Safety first! Always wear rubber gloves and safety glasses to protect yourself from splashes and minor spills when working with cleaning or sanitizing solutions. In addition, you may need wrenches or other tools to disconnect filters, water lines, and other parts of the ice machine to perform a complete cleaning and sanitizing. 

Next, assemble the cleaning and sanitizing agents listed in the owner’s manual. Always use the recommended ingredients and mixing ratios per the owner’s manual to comply with warranty requirements.  

Compared to standard cube machines, flake, shaved, and nugget ice machines utilize additional components which require cleaning and sanitizing. Read through the cleaning and sanitizing directions multiple times to become familiar with the parts and assemblies before dismantling anything. 

Commercial Ice Machine Cleaning and Sanitizing 

The first step is to remove the ice from the bin storage; you can shut off the machine and wait for the ice to melt or manually remove and dispose of the ice. 

Important Note: Any ice produced during the process and the first batch of ice after cleaning and sanitizing is complete and should be discarded.  

The first half of the process involves cleaning the ice machine per the manufacturer’s instructions. The cleaning process for commercial ice machines can vary, but most include adding the cleaning mixture to the water trough and selecting the “clean” option. 

Most cleaning cycles will take 15-30 minutes, depending on the unit size and manufacturer. During this time, mix the cleaning agent with lukewarm water and remove the necessary parts (per the manufacturer’s instructions) for cleaning. Use ½ of the solution to clean the removed parts and the remainder to clean the exterior food zone surfaces completely. Thoroughly rinse all surfaces with water to remove any cleaner residue before starting the sanitizing process. 

Next, mix the sanitizer solution and lukewarm water per the manufacturer’s instructions. Finally, use ½ of the solution to sanitize the removed parts from the cleaning process by either soaking or using a spray bottle. 

Important Note: DO NOT rinse the removed parts with water after sanitizing them. 

Use the remaining solution to sanitize the exterior food zone surfaces thoroughly. Then, reinstall the previously removed parts and wait 20-30 minutes before continuing the sanitizing process. 

After restarting the machine and allowing the water trough to refill, add the proper amount of sanitizer and select the clean or wash cycle. The sanitizing process typically takes an additional 15-30 minutes. Once complete, your ice machine is ready to start making ice again. 

Important Note: The first batch of ice after the cleaning and sanitizing should be discarded. 

During the process, remember the ice machine condenser and any air or water filters utilized since dust and dirt buildup will reduce flow rates and could result in overheating and shorter equipment life cycles. 

MaintenX can service and install all makes and models of commercial ice machines including. 

  • Hoshizaki
  • Manitowoc
  • Scotsman
  • Ice O Matic

For questions about ice machine cleaning and sanitizing or setting up a preventative maintenance HVAC/R schedule, the MaintenX HVAC/R team of experts is never more than a phone call or email away. 

Commercial HVAC and Refrigeration Services 

The MaintenX HVAC (Heating, Venting, Air Conditioning) and Refrigeration Division has the expertise to handle all your commercial HVAC needs. As a respected member of the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) and the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) you can expect prompt, professional service day or night. 

The HVAC experts from MaintenX can handle all your commercial HVAC and refrigeration needs, from design and engineering to installation, maintenance, and emergency services. It’s no wonder many Fortune 500 companies trust MaintenX to keep their HVAC systems running at peak performance and efficiency. According to the Department of Energy, businesses can cut their energy usage by up to 20% with regular HVAC equipment maintenance. 

Comprehensive HVAC and Refrigeration Services 

Air Conditioning systems require that several smaller complex components work harmoniously to keep your building cool and comfortable during spring and summer. Whether your building uses a traditional ducted system or zoned VAV (Variable Air Volume) units, the MaintenX HVAC experts can keep your condenser and evaporator coils, fans, expansion valves, and blower units running at maximum efficiency. 

MaintenX can service and install all makes and models of air-conditioning systems. 

  •  Carrier 
  • Trane 
  • Lennox 
  • York 
  • Daikin 
  • McQuay 

Commercial refrigeration systems include refrigerated display cases for fresh and frozen foods and can be found in grocery, convenience, and big box stores alike. But several other companies also rely on commercial refrigeration systems as a component of their manufacturing, storage, and transport systems, including those in the fuel, chemical, aerospace, pharmaceutical, and medical industries.  

MaintenX can service and install all makes and models of commercial refrigeration systems, including: 

  • Master-Bilt 
  • Turbo Air 
  • Trenton 
  • Heatcraft 
  • Tecumseh 
  • Hussmann 
  • Zero Zone 

Dehumidification equipment and systems are available to meet the comfort, manufacturing processes, and medical services requirements for your specific business or industry. The most common dehumidification techniques used today include. 

  •  Dehumidification via cooling or air conditioning systems 
  • Compression 
  • Solid-desiccant systems 
  • Liquid-desiccant systems 

Since excessive humidity can affect the building materials, worker comfort, and the quality of work performed at the location, humidity control is a critical design aspect for new construction and remodel projects. 

 Ice machines must be cleaned and sanitized regularly because the FDA defines ice as food. Any machine part that contacts water can develop scale, slime, mold, or mineral deposits. Condensers require regular cleaning, or the accumulated dust and dirt will reduce airflow and could lead to overheating and shorter equipment life cycles. 

 MaintenX can service and install all makes and models of commercial refrigeration systems, including:

  • Hoshizaki 
  • Manitowoc 
  • Scotsman 
  • Ice O Matic 

Disposable, reusable, and HEPA filters are a key component of any HVAC system, as they provide the front-line defense for keeping dirt, dust, and pollen from being disbursed throughout the location. And most manufacturers require regular documented filter cleaning or replacement as part of their warranty program. 

Exhaust fan systems are designed to remove excess heat (and sometimes smoke) and can be found wherever food is being cooked/prepared, such as in commercial kitchens or food processing locations. These commercial systems typically feature reusable filter elements and a grease-trap system to minimize cooking flare-ups. 

 Ventilation systems are designed to remove unwanted odors or steam from restrooms and manufacturing spaces. Most of these systems rely on direct venting to an outside air source (roof or exterior wall) for maximum efficiency. 

Portable cooling/refrigeration units allow for quick reconfiguration of large areas or public spaces to meet changing local needs created by storms, floods, and other natural disasters. And portable cooling systems are ideal for short-term events such as weddings, pop-up restaurants/boutiques, and limited-run events such as festivals, street/vendor fairs, and concerts.  

 Duct cleaning services can remove the accumulated pollen, dust, and dirt trapped within your supply and return ducting system. Using a combination of brushes, hoses, cleaning agents, and negative pressure, MaintenX will have you, your employees, and your customers breathing easier in no time.  

Preventative maintenance and repairs will reduce energy usage while maximizing the life cycle of your entire HVAC system. In addition to filters and coil cleaning, preventative maintenance can include. 

  • Component testing and service 
  • Lubrication for motors and moving parts 
  • Duct cleaning 
  • Refrigerant levels 
  • Condensation pans and drains  
  • Switch and sensor testing 
  • Damper inspections/adjustments 

 Also known as Facilities Management, the HVAC experts at MaintenX can help reduce the number of unplanned and emergency HVAC repairs for your business. 

To learn more about the commercial HVAC/R services that MaintenX can provide for your existing location and new construction and remodel projects, contact the MaintenX Commercial HVAC/R Service Team today. 


The Anatomy of a Commercial Air Conditioning System 

As the temperatures begin to rise in the spring and peak over the summer months, so do the number of news stories regarding heat stroke (AKA sunstroke and heatstroke), where an individual’s internal temperature can reach 104°F or higher within 15 minutes of exposure or excessive exertion. 

 As a result, a working air conditioner quickly becomes a necessity for most of the country and a legitimate life saver for residents of the ten hottest states. 

Rank  State  Average Temp.  Average Summer Temp 
1  Florida  73.4°  82.6° 
2  Louisiana  68.5°  82.9° 
3  Texas  68.0°  84.8° 
4  Georgia  66.2°  80.2° 
5  Mississippi  66.1°  81.5° 
6  Alabama  65.4°  80.4° 
7  South Carolina  65.4  79.7° 
8  Arizona  62.9°  79.9° 
9  Arkansas  62.8°  80.5° 
10  Oklahoma  62.8°  82.8° 

 While humans have used various crude air conditioning techniques (creating shade, changing location, and manual and mechanical fans) for centuries, you can trace today’s modern air conditioning systems back to 1902. 

Who Invented Air Conditioning? 

Air conditioning has changed people’s work environments and lives over the last 120 years. In fact, without air conditioning, our world would look much different. 

  • The modern high-rise building would not be possible.
  • Today’s supermarkets would look and function much differently.
  • Many of today’s common vaccines and medicines would not exist.
  • Computer servers, laptops, and the internet would still belong in a sci-fi program.
  • Medical treatment, surgery, and recovery would have higher mortality rates.

If the automobile was the most significant technological advance of the 20th century, then air conditioning must be number two on that list. 

Willis Carrier invented the first functioning AC system in 1902 to answer the original question. As the story goes, while waiting on a train platform in Pittsburgh, Willis realized that drying air was possible by moving an air stream through the water to create a fog. From there, he could control the air’s moisture, humidity, and temperature.  

The term “air conditioner” is credited to a mill engineer named Stuart Cramer. Shortly after Carrier introduced his new air-cooling system, Cramer invented a similar cooling device. Still, his machine added moisture to make hot mill work environments more comfortable while increasing productivity. Since Cramer’s version did more than merely cool the air, he settled on the name air conditioner.  

Then, in 1940, Frederick Jones received the first patent for a portable AC unit and launched Thermo King shortly after. Next, Jones installed mobile systems on his delivery trucks to deliver food, blood, and crucial medications to the front lines during WWII. After the war, numerous car, train, and airplane manufacturers discovered and incorporated his portable system. 

Commercial Air Conditioning System Components 

Central air conditioning systems use two primary components: the exterior unit (compressor) and the indoor unit (your furnace). While the furnace keeps you warm all winter, it also plays a crucial role in the cooling process. 

Since the indoor unit does most of the work, let’s look at its components first. 


The thermostat works much like the ignition key for your car. Whether you want to heat or cool, the first step is to select from heat/cool/fan options and set the desired temperature. 

Evaporator Coil 

Here is where your furnace becomes part of the air conditioning system since the evaporator coil resides inside the furnace unit.  

 When you turn on the AC, the system draws interior air into the system and across the evaporator coil, where the refrigerant gets cooled by removing heat and humidity from the flowing air. Then with the help of the blower, the cooled air is sent back into the building. 

Expansion Valve 

This valve controls the amount of refrigerant sent to the evaporator coil. Too much and the refrigerant can settle at the bottom of the refrigerant lines. Too little forces the system to work harder to produce the same amount of cooled air. 

 Blower and Blower Motor 

Designed to create air movement, the blower uses a rotating motor to distribute the cooled air throughout the unit or building. 


No matter the size or composition, air filters perform two distinct functions. 

  1. Filters prevent dirt, dust, and debris from entering the system. Excessive dust accumulations can result in overheating, excessive wear, and a shortened life cycle.
  2.   Filters protect tenants and occupants by blocking allergens, dander, and dust from entering your lungs, which can cause inflammation and discomfort.
  3.  Regular cleaning or replacement can maximize AC performance while lowering energy usage and unexpected system and component repairs. 


The ducting used to move the air can be rigid or flexible in its construction. And you will find the ductwork above the suspended ceiling, in the attic, and even in the basement areas of a suite or building. Supply ducts carry the treated air back into the building or suite, while return ducts bring used air back to the unit to begin the process again. 

Now let’s look at the outdoor air conditioning unit, typically called the condenser. Like the interior unit, the condenser also houses the remaining four commercial air conditioning system components.  

Condenser Coil 

Essentially, the condenser coil works like the evaporative coil, except in reverse. As the refrigerant passes through the condenser coil, it’s heated instead of cooled. Contrary to popular thinking, air conditioning doesn’t cool the air; it removes heat from the airflow via the condenser, where the heat can quickly dissipate into the outside air. 


Fans help keep the condenser from overheating by moving the heated air up, out, and away from the condenser unit. 


The compressor provides three critical functions of the air conditioning process. 

  1. When the hot refrigerant reaches the compressor, it’s heated again to become warmer than the outside air. This higher temperature ensures that the heat will transfer from the refrigerant to the cooler outside air more quickly.
  2.  The refrigerant must have a way to convert from gas to liquid before being pumped back into the evaporative coil.
  3.  And the refrigerant requires a pump for traveling through the lines between the condenser and evaporative coils where the refrigerant becomes so cold it removes the heat from the air moving across the evaporative coil.

 Refrigerant lines 

These lines utilize copper tubing and provide the following functions. 

  •  The suction line carries refrigerant between the evaporator and the compressor.
  • The discharge line connects the compressor to the condenser.
  • The liquid line connects the condenser to the expansion valve or device.

Always use Type L air conditioning and refrigeration (ACR) tubing when replacing refrigerant lines, as it’s manufactured to be cleaned, dehydrated, and capped to avoid contamination during transport, storage, and installation. 

As you can see, the anatomy of any commercial air conditioning system requires many moving parts working in unison to keep your office or building cool and comfortable during the spring and summer seasons. 

 MaintenX can service and install all makes and models of air-conditioning systems, including:

  •  Carrier 
  • Trane 
  • Lennox 
  • York 
  • Daikin 
  • McQuay 

 Should you have any questions regarding your current air conditioning system, the MaintenX HVAC/R Team can provide the answers, installations, equipment maintenance, and emergency repairs for all commercial AC systems. 

Hurricane Season Is Here, and MaintenX Is Here to Help

June 1 is the first day of a month that many of us associate with the start of the relaxing days of summer, but it’s also the first day of a time of the year that is one of the most important for business owners – hurricane season.

While we hope for a calm and uneventful season, which will last until Nov. 30, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), it’s crucial that we remain prepared and vigilant in the face of potential storms. Hurricane season brings with it the potential for severe weather conditions, including heavy rains, strong winds, and storm surges. By taking proactive steps now, you can minimize the impact of a hurricane on your life and your business.

Whether it’s your first time weathering the storm or you’ve grown up in a hurricane zone, understanding how to prepare for one of these catastrophic weather events can mean the difference between minor damage and major destruction for your business. And as we continually build our knowledge of hurricanes, we understand more and more just how destructive their power can be.

Consider that between 2019 and 2021, there were 56 weather and climate disasters, including hurricanes, with losses greater than $1 billion, according to NOAA, and that while Hurricane Katrina was the most expensive hurricane in recent history, with approximately $161 billion in damage, Hurricane Ian, which struck Florida and South Carolina last year, as a category 4 Atlantic hurricane, was the second-largest insured loss after Katrina, according to the reinsurer Swiss Re.

MaintenX, as one of the largest national facility maintenance and repair companies in the U.S., has a long history of helping business owners understand the risks of hurricane season, and, as we do each season, we’re here to offer our expertise as a resource in helping prepare for storms, make it safely through storms, and address any damage after storms as best as possible.

This year we’re kicking off this effort with a rundown of the most common types of commercial property damage risks from hurricanes to keep in mind as well as some of our top tips on how to prepare your business for a hurricane. We invite you to peruse them and stay tuned for more in-depth blog posts on many of these risks and tips throughout the next several months, as hurricane season reaches its peak, from mid-August and mid-October.

Most Common Types of Commercial Property Damage Caused by Hurricanes

  1. Roof damage – Water intrusion, gutter damage and metal roof panel destruction are the most common type of damage. Metal canopies can be blown away from the wind, and modified materials can similarly be torn apart.
  2. Interior damage – A powerful storm can cause doors and windows to be torn from their hinges or broken by flying debris.
  3. Structure and foundation damage – Extremely powerful wind gusts can cause a building to shift and leave cracks in the structure or foundation below.
  4. Equipment damage – It’s common for heating and air-conditioning units, appliances, and generators to be damaged.
  5. Utility damage – Infrastructure including power lines, internet connections, water systems and vital power grid components is almost always damaged after a hurricane.

Top Tips for Preparing for a Hurricane

  • Understand your property insurance – Check your policy or call your agent well in advance of hurricane season to discuss how to be prepared for a hurricane and to figure out any additional coverage you may need.
  • Put up plywood to seal off windows and doorways – This is the most practical method for protecting these openings.
  • Clean your gutters – This is particularly important during hurricane season. It allows water to flow properly and move away from a building.
  • Secure outdoor items – Anything left outside has the potential to become a missile, so it’s important to bring in or secure outdoor items, like trash cans, tables, and chairs.
  • Prepare an emergency kit – If you have to remain at or near your business, include fresh water for drinking and sanitation (one gallon per person per day), several days’ worth of non-perishable food items, a flashlight, a first-aid kit, and a charger for mobile devices. And don’t forget to pack extra batteries.

The key to reducing the risk of damage to your business is to begin preparing now. We hope you plan ahead using the insights here, and we hope everyone stays as safe and protected as possible this storm season.

Comprehensive Commercial Plumbing Services

With over 40 years of commercial plumbing expertise, our clients in the industrial, retail, medical, and restaurant industries know they can count on the MaintenX plumbing team to answer their plumbing emergencies day or night.

If you’re experiencing a plumbing emergency, please call us now at 855-751-0075.

In addition to our 24/7 emergency plumbing services, the MaintenX Plumbing Division can also assist with your next remodel or building expansion project. From developing the scope of work, to permits, to installing plumbing fixtures, our plumbing professionals are ready for your next commercial plumbing project or upgrade.

Comprehensive Commercial Plumbing Services

To date, our dedicated team has worked with hundreds of small, large, and Fortune 500 companies to handle not only their emergency plumbing needs but a variety of plumbing services including.

Drain cleaning
Slow drains are the telltale sign of dirt and debris accumulating inside your pipes to restrict water moving toward the sewer or septic system. Whether your building uses clay, cast iron, ABS, or PVC piping, we have the proper tools and experience to quickly clear your drains.

Sewer and utility location
Most cities and county governments require that all underground utilities be identified no less than two full business days before beginning any excavation or demolition project.

Hydro-Jetting drain lines
While not recommended for fragile piping systems, our 7500 psi hydro-jet cleaner can quickly clear most clogs, debris, tree roots, and grease build-up from your drain lines.

Lift Stations
Are used extensively to move wastewater and sewage from a lower to a higher elevation as it travels to the treatment facility. The MaintenX team can assist with the design, installation, and maintenance of an existing or new lift station. With proper maintenance, most effluent (or lift) pumps can last between 10-15 years.

Tankless water heaters
Looking to reduce your utility bills? MaintenX specializes in tankless water heaters (Navien 240 and Rinnai A replacements) that use the same amount of energy as a light bulb. With proper maintenance and servicing, these tankless water heaters can last 20-25 years.

Backflow Certified
There are over 7.15 million reported cases of waterborne illnesses in the US each year, and most could be prevented through proper backflow maintenance procedures. Our backflow-certified team members can install, inspect, adjust, or repair your backflow-preventer components and assemblies.

Commercial re-pipe projects
If you’re experiencing leaks, water discoloration, strange odor/taste, or a lack of water pressure, it may be time to re-pipe your building’s plumbing system. Our dedicated team will quickly identify and replace the supply and drain lines throughout your location.

Overhead irrigation systems
Water expands when frozen, potentially damaging the pipes, joints, fittings, and valves of your irrigation system. That’s why in addition to maintenance and repairs, we also provide winterization services for overhead irrigation systems.

Video camera inspections
Depending on the type of pipe, we utilize flexible push camera systems including endoscopes and borescopes to quickly locate the roots, debris, corrosion, and cracks/leaks affecting your system.

Single-flush, dual-flush, power-assisted flush, and now high-efficiency toilets (HETs), too. Whether you’re updating to add some design or interest to the bathroom or to meet current 1.6 GPF (Gallons Per Flush) guidelines, we’re ready to answer any questions you might have.

Sinks and faucets
From the bathroom to the kitchen, or for specific industrial uses, we can supply, install, and service a wide variety of materials, finishes, and sizes to meet your specific sink and faucet needs. And yes, we can help you select the best low-flow faucet to save up to 700 gallons each year.

Hose bibs
Trust MaintenX to handle your hose bib draining and weatherization services.

During the winter, water not purged from the hose bib could freeze and expand, causing pipes to crack, leak or burst.

Electronic leak detection
Because water likes to travel, the water stain you see is typically not an indication of where a leak is located. Using an ultrasonic detector to measure different sound frequencies of water, we can quickly find the cause of the leak and repair it.

ADA compliance requirements
ADA refers to the Americans with Disabilities Act which includes specific requirements (handicap access, grab bars, open sink vanities) for public restrooms within a business location. Our ADA compliance experts are ready to answer all your questions.

Preventative maintenance plans
One of the simplest ways to minimize unexpected plumbing repairs is with a preventative maintenance plan designed around your business model or industry. Regular cleaning and service will keep all your pipes, drains, and fixtures operating at maximum performance.

To learn more about our commercial plumbing services, or to discuss a new project with our team of plumbing experts, please send us an email!

How Does the Commercial Re-Piping Process Work?

Much like a residential re-pipe, all the hot and cold water lines within your business are removed and replaced with either new copper, PVC, or PEX piping.

To help you better plan and prepare, the team at MaintenX has assembled this handy reference guide to explain the why, where, and how of a typical commercial re-piping project.

Commercial Re-Piping Projects: Understanding the Why

As the water moves through your pipes, dirt, debris, or the minerals in the water will begin to accumulate inside. When left unchecked, the build-up continues until the component is serviced, replaced, or fails.

The most common indicators that it’s time for a commercial re-pipe are:

• Poor-tasting, discolored, or foul-smelling water

• Turning the water on or off causes the pipes to bang or creak

• Visible corrosion or rust on pipes, fittings, and valves

• Visible leaks at connection points

• Low water pressure

If you’re experiencing any of these issues, don’t hesitate to contact the MaintenX Plumbing Division immediately.

All existing water lines, valves, connections, and shutoffs will be replaced during re-piping. As a result, you’ll have a brand-new water supply system throughout your business location, from the water meter to the hose bibs.

Typically, the drain and sewer pipes are not included in a commercial re-pipe, as they are isolated and independent from the water supply system. Also, the existing water heater, sinks, faucets, and toilets typically remain during a commercial re-piping project. However, if you’ve considered upgrading one or all these items, our plumbing experts can help you select the best options tailored to your business needs.

Commercial Re-Piping Projects: Understanding the Where

Many assume that the contractor must remove most or all the existing drywall to allow access to the water supply pipes. But, of course, this immediately conjures up images of you and your team trying to work in an active construction zone.

Luckily, you can put away your hard hats and dust masks since a commercial re-piping project requires removing only a small amount of drywall.

Most commercial walls range from 3½” to 7″ wide. The entire wall cavity (space between the wall studs) is easily accessible for materials, tools, and workers from either side.

Most plumbing standards follow consistent guidelines, reducing the amount of drywall to demolish.

6″ to 8″ above the finish floor (AFF) for toilet shutoffs
16″ to 20″ AFF for sink faucet shutoffs
32″ to 34″ AFF for shower/bath faucet
40″ to 44″ AFF for utility connections

As a result, the drywall is removed in 6″ to 12″ wide sections (horizontal stripes) at the corresponding elevation for the fixture/device.

Commercial Re-Piping Projects: Understanding the How

The process described above is known as “selective demolition.” Removing enough drywall to facilitate the re-pipe process lowers the costs of demolition and replacement of drywall.
The first step of a selective demolition plan is to review any existing construction documents for your building to determine the position of water lines and any connection points.

Next, a small exploratory hole gets cut into the drywall for visual confirmation.

Once all the pipes and connections are verified, we remove the drywall to provide access.

After removing the old pipe or tubing lengths, the new lines (or tubing) are installed and connected.

After pressure and leak testing (and any applicable building department inspections), the drywall is replaced, finished, and painted.

Selective demolition reduces the noise, dirt, and dust to an absolute minimum, which your employees and coworkers will appreciate. But it also lowers the costs and shortens project timelines, a win for business owners and Facility Managers like you.

Once the re-pipe is complete, your commercial plumbing system should be ready for another 20+ years with regular servicing and maintenance.

Commercial Re-Pipe FAQs

1. How long does a typical commercial re-pipe take?

That depends on several factors, such as the building size and your business or industry needs. For example, an office building and a manufacturing or industrial site could be the same size and have very different-sized plumbing systems and fixtures.

2. Which is the smart choice, copper, PVC, or PEX pipes and fittings?

Each option has its pros and cons.

Copper has been used extensively in commercial and residential plumbing applications over the last 80 years. While its strength and durability are legendary, copper is typically the most expensive re-piping option.

PVC has a virtually indefinite lifespan but can only withstand temperatures up to 140°F. As a result, PVC will not rust or corrode and shouldn’t need replacing under everyday use. Unfortunately, these pipes and their required adhesives contain the highest levels of chemicals of the top three re-piping options.

PEX (cross-linked polyethylene) is made from plastic, so it’s affordable, flexible, and easy to work with. However, PEX is unsuitable for applications where it can be directly exposed to UV, which can cause the synthetic material to deteriorate.

The MaintenX Team  can help you make the best choice after considering local building codes, the plumbing system complexity, and your budget and project timeline.

3. I’m concerned about sustainability and building green; which re-piping option is the most eco-friendly?

Manufacturing PVC occurs through a chemical reaction between carbon, chlorine, and ethylene, and the manufacturing process releases other harmful chemicals and compounds. As a result, PVC is not biodegradable.

Because PEX is a cross-linked polyethylene product, recycling it into new PEX products isn’t possible. But it can be re-processed into other products, thanks to its low melting point.

Copper is the hands-down winner for sustainability and green building concerns. This every-day, naturally occurring element requires minimal processing and can be easily recycled hundreds of times.

To learn more about commercial re-piping or to get answers to your other plumbing questions, please get in touch with the MaintenX Plumbing Division experts.

How Prepared Does Your Business Need To Be For Storms?

In Tampa, Florida, where MaintenX is headquartered, we are accustomed to the annual hurricane season that threatens our coastlines from June until November. While most businesses believe they are prepared for evacuation, they often miss critical steps that lead to damages that could have been prevented. Whether you live in a hurricane, snowstorm, fire, or earthquake-prone area, there are certain steps every business should take to prepare for disaster.

Five Steps to Disaster Preparedness

  • Update your evacuation protocol – If a storm becomes serious, you should have a plan in place to communicate closures to employees ahead of time. You should also provide the appropriate resources for evacuation including travel expenses or hazard pay and accommodations for employees that must stay (in places like medical facilities).
  • Stock up on essentials – If your facility must remain open during the storm or immediately after, make sure you are stocked with food, a backup generator, batteries, and other essential goods for those that will be present during or immediately after the storm. These items can also be used by the community after the storm has passed and people are in need of essential items.
  • Remove hazards from your outdoor facilities – Any merchandise or asset that is stored outdoors but not firmly secured to the ground should be moved away from the facility to prevent damage due to wind or flooding. This can include outdoor displays, trash cans, signs, vehicles, or other items that could be easily moved by wind or water.
  • Prepare your building as a shelter – If your building is a suitable storm shelter, make sure you have supplies on hand for rapid preparation. Boards to close up windows, emergency food stores, and sleeping cots should be available on short notice if your building is a designated storm shelter.
  • Renovate if necessary – Modern buildings are designed to withstand severe weather, but older buildings are not always up to modern codes. Storm-proof windows, roofing, and outdoor HVAC units are a must to ensure your building is still in working order during and after the storm.

MaintenX specializes in disaster preparedness and emergency maintenance service after storms. If your commercial building is at risk this season for storm damage, talk to us about more ways to prepare specific to your facility.

Electrical Requirements for ADA Compliance

ADA compliance is an essential component of commercial building design. Even for businesses that are not required to follow ADA regulations, it is wise to factor in accessibility to ensure everyone who visits your business has a positive experience. While most business owners know that entrances and exits need to be ADA compliant, there are many other elements of your building design that also fall under these regulations.

Your electrical system is one such design element that has specific ADA requirements for any building that is intended for public use. Electrical components that are required to be accessible include:

  • Light switches
  • Electrical outlets
  • Thermostats
  • Environmental controls operated on a frequent basis

These components are required to be installed in an accessible location, meaning they are positioned at a height that does not require one to reach up or down in order to use one. They should also be placed in areas without obstructions either on the floor or near the walls. An example of a non-ADA compliant installation would be an outlet that is placed on the floor (not reachable from a forward direction) or one that is installed on a wall obstructed by a wide countertop).

Some of these controls are not covered under ADA requirements. For example, if a comparable control is installed in an accessible location, then a control in an inaccessible location is allowed. You can see this in outlet and light switch placement, where multiple controls may be installed to provide access for all.

Other controls that are not required to be ADA compliant include:

  • Circuit breakers
  • Outlets dedicated to individual appliances
  • Appliance controls (such as knobs on an oven, as these are part of appliance design)

Understanding these compliance issues can help you create a better business for all. If you are redesigning your electrical system, talk to MaintenX about accessibility standards and ways to make your electrical system better for your business overall. We offer preventative care and affordable installations to businesses across the U.S.

Three Times You Don’t Need To Call Your Maintenance Service

At MaintenX, we always want our customers to call us first for repairs and preventative maintenance on their buildings. However, we also want to save our customers as much money as possible so they can keep coming back to us year after year. We strive to provide fast and affordable service, but there are some regular maintenance tasks we believe management can handle on their own if they want to save a few bucks.

If you’re looking to cut costs in your maintenance plan, these three services are easy and safe for you to DIY:

Cleaning the gutters or outdoor HVAC units.

These may be dirty jobs, but they don’t necessarily require a professional HVAC technician or roofer to complete. Gutters can be cleaned by janitorial staff as long as they have the equipment to safely go on top of the roof. Outdoor HVAC units can typically be cleaned of leaves and dirt along with landscaping service but should be serviced for mechanical maintenance annually by your HVAC team.

Unclogging drains (the first time).

Before you call your plumber for help, there are several options you can try for a clogged drain in the restroom or commercial kitchen. We don’t recommend you ever use drain cleaning solutions as they can be corrosive, but you can make a makeshift snake with a wire hanger or other piece of long wire as a hook. For hair or food particles stuck in the drain, you can sometimes fish out the clog or break it apart this way if it is close to the surface. You can also use a plunger if the clog is relatively recent and hasn’t been building up for some time. However, if you have tried these DIY measures and are still having a slow-draining sink or toilet, call a licensed plumber for help.

Paint interior rooms.

Unless you have unusually high ceilings, painting rooms within your facility should be a simple DIY project you as the owner or manager can do yourself. Painting only requires a few tools and a day or two of work per wall. But will save you hundreds of dollars and major headaches depending on the service available in your area. While you can hire a professional if you want to save time, this is an easy cost-saving project you can take on at your facility.

While there are plenty of other tasks you can complete on your own as a small business owner or manager, there are some areas where you should never take chances. Your HVAC, plumbing, electrical, and roofing repair are some areas where it’s always best to call a professional, even if you think you can get the repair done cheaper by someone else. When it comes to the systems that keep your business open, don’t take chances and instead call MaintenX for fast, reliable service!

The #1 Maintenance Issue That Ruins Summer Service

Summer is here, which means it’s the busy season for many small businesses across the U.S. This is especially true at MaintenX’s headquarters in Tampa, Florida, where the tourism industry is ramping up and won’t stop until mid-August. While we work on all sorts of maintenance issues in the summer, you can probably guess which is most common this time of year.

If you guessed HVAC problems, you are correct. Because of the increased demand for the HVAC system during the summer, we see an increase in service calls for overworked or broken down units. In the wintertime, this wouldn’t be a huge issue for service, but in the summer it can easily shut down an entire building.

An overworked HVAC system will ruin your customer experience.

Employees and customers don’t want to be in a building with no A/C during the summer. Not only will it create an unpleasant customer experience, but it can cause real issues for your staff if they’re working in the heat. A restaurant, for example, with no A/C or ventilation can quickly become too hot for employees to safely work. It is also very easy for a building to reach 100+ degrees in the summertime, which isn’t safe for anyone.

An HVAC system won’t last forever, but there are several ways you can prevent unexpected breakdowns during the summer that will ruin your business day:

  • Schedule preventative maintenance – Extend the service life of your system with regular preventative repairs. This will prevent performance issues and help you keep track of wear and tear so you know when it’s time to replace your units.
  • Don’t overwork your HVAC system – If your A/C can’t keep up with your temperature setting, turn it up in the summertime so your system can get some rest. In extremely hot and humid climates, it may be unreasonable to keep your building at 68℉ unless it’s absolutely necessary.
  • Replace when your HVAC technician tells you to – It’s better to plan an HVAC replacement than it is to wait until the A/C stops working unexpectedly. If this is the last season your HVAC system will perform at its best, listen to your technician’s recommendation and replace it.

Summertime should be a successful season for you – don’t let HVAC problems get in the way of that. To learn how you can prevent HVAC issues at your facility, contact your local MaintenX team today!