5 Common Water Issues in Commercial Buildings

Water damage events affect over 14,000 people at home or work every day. Water damage is almost never welcomed into your business, but it’s a part of life. There are a few common causes of water damage in commercial buildings. Identifying these reasons can be beneficial for preventing water loss events in your business.

1. Broken HVAC System

Once you're dealing with a flooded business, it can be difficult to determine what caused the problem. The culprit could be your HVAC system—it's the most common cause of water damage in commercial buildings.

 

There are many ways that an HVAC system can leak, and here are the most common causes of those leaks: 

  • Condenser: This component of an air conditioner cools and dehumidifies outdoor air before bringing it inside. If this fails, it can leak refrigerant onto the ground or into a drain pan. It will then evaporate and become high-pressure steam that escapes through vents located around the back of your building's exterior walls. On other occasions, condenser coils may become clogged with debris from insects or leaves that have fallen into them during use. If not cleaned regularly, clogged coils can cause leaks as well as increase energy consumption. It could be harder or completely prevent heat from escaping properly into your building's ductwork.

  • Evaporator: A malfunctioning evaporator will freeze up if left untreated. This can lead to ice buildup inside its coils from the lack of thorough evaporation. It also causes moisture levels inside your unit’s ductwork to rise higher than normal because heat isn’t present within those pipes anymore.

2. Leaking Roof

When a roof has a leak, it becomes a problem when there is the precipitation of any kind, like rain or snow. When a roof is damaged, it can easily allow water into the home, which can cause damage to ceilings, walls, and personal belongings or furniture. To detect a roof leak, first look for signs that water has been running down the side of your building. Keep an eye out for wet spots on windowsills or floor tiles in particular. If you see these symptoms, check inside your attic to locate where the problem is coming from. There will usually be some kind of hole in your roof or insulation that’s allowing water to enter your home.

 

Once you know the exact location of the leak, fix it immediately. It’s best not to wait until wintertime because repairs will be more expensive for reasons like freezing temperatures and harsh weather conditions.

 

The best way to prevent leaks from occurring in the future would be to replace any damaged areas entirely. If this isn't possible, then try installing some sort of protective barrier like tarps underneath any vulnerable areas. That way when water does make its way into your property during bad weather conditions, it won't cause damage elsewhere inside.

3. Natural Disaster

Natural disasters can strike at any time, with little to no warning. If you own or manage a commercial building, it's important to know the best ways to prepare for natural disasters and how to deal with them after they happen. Remember some of the most common types of natural disasters:

  • Tornadoes

  • Hurricanes

  • Floods

  • Earthquakes

Each type of disaster requires various types of preparation, but because you can’t prevent natural disasters, preparedness is your best option.

4. Damaged and Broken Pipes

Pipes break for a variety of reasons, but most are because of age or wear and tear. If you have old pipes in your building that haven't been replaced, it could be time to consider a replacement. There  are a few ways you can prevent broken pipes:

  • Regularly inspect existing pipes and make sure they're in good condition before using them again (preferably using an infra-red camera). Get new parts when needed.

  • Invest in water-resistant sealant tape to wrap around pipe joints so that moisture doesn't seep in and damage the metal underneath. This will help keep your building's pipes safe from the effects of wear and tear as well as temperature fluctuations during the summer months or winter nights. 

5. Toilet Backups

Toilet backups are a common problem that can range from minor inconveniences to major health hazards. To prevent a toilet overflow, you should:

  • Replace your toilets when they start to show signs of wear and tear. 

  • Install an overflow protector, which shuts off the water supply to the toilet when it gets too high or low.

  • Make sure you clean out any debris from around the toilet bowl regularly (at least once each month). Debris such as paper towels and feminine hygiene products can become compacted over time and cause a blockage in your pipes if not cleaned regularly.

Identifying some reasons that can lead to water damage in your commercial building can be beneficial for preventing or minimizing water damage. With water damage affecting over 14,000 people every day, it is important that everyone is aware of potential causes. It could affect anyone, at any time.