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Plumbing Problems Dental Offices and Vet Centers Face
Plumbing Problems Dental Offices and Vet Centers Face

Whether you are looking to open a dental or vet practice in Tucson or already own one, the plumbing at your facility is vital to your success. Both dentists and vets rely heavily on plumbing in their treatment rooms, cleaning facilities, bathrooms, and more. As such, when things go wrong, it can be devastating.

And this isn’t just due to the impact it has on day-to-day operations; a plumbing overhaul for dentistry or veterinary practices can run as high as $40,000. To save time, money, and your reputation, you should be proactive about your practice’s plumbing needs.

Seek Out Professional Plumbers Who Understand Your Facility

If you figure that plumbing is plumbing, and any plumbing contractor should be able to work with your dental office or vet center, you are in for a surprise. These offices are outfitted differently than homes, commercial spaces, and other businesses, and they are governed by different regulations. This means that when it comes to working on their plumbing, experience matters. So, what are the reasons that an experienced plumbing team is needed?

Unique Plumbing Concerns in Dental Offices

  • Dental offices require self-contained water supply systems and daily water quality monitoring. Because the water used in dental practices comes into contact with the mouths of patients, including cuts in gums and possibly surgical incisions, the water used must be sterile. Unfortunately, many building water supplies are contaminated, and even in newer buildings, there may be concerns with the municipal water.
  • Drainage systems are never easy, but in a building where drains are present in nearly every room, installing them and maintaining them gets much more complex. Everything must be laid out in an exact matter that considers the overall floorplan of the office, and the building at large if the office is inside of a complex. The foundation of the building also determines what is needed.
  • Due to the number of sinks and basins present in a dentistry practice, the plumbing system will require a significant number of supply lines and outlets. This creates something of a maze of pipes and connections that can be difficult to lay out in an optimal design. Every patient room tends to have at least two areas in need of supply lines—the patient basin and the sink for hand washing.
  • Dentistry is a dirty job. From saliva and blood to bacteria and viruses, a dental office comes into contact with a lot of not-so-pleasant things. And water is required to wash them away. Any problems with drainage or water supply can leave the office not just unclean, but contaminated and unsafe. As such, backflow prevention systems are generally required.
  • Chances are high that if your practice is in a building not built for dentistry, the pipes will be difficult to access. This may require specialized equipment to access them. In worst case scenarios, a trench may need to be dug and the plumbing retrofitted to make the space work for the practice. If building new, the trench can be made in advance, saving money.
  • Dental practices must abide by specific guidelines. Air, water, and nitrous lines but all be a specific size. EPA regulations control mercury discharge. Certain standards of cleanliness must be maintained. All of this requires an exact approach to plumbing installation and maintenance.
  • Finally, plumbing errors in dental practices have the potential to be more than merely annoying; they can be deadly. Poor installation, faulty pipes, or damage to pipes can lead to explosions since dental offices rely on nitrous oxide and oxygen. When it comes to choosing a plumber for your dental practice, the stakes are high.

Unique Plumbing Concerns in Vet Centers

  • Much like dental offices, veterinary practices tend to have plumbing in nearly every room of their center. Exam rooms will usually have at least one sink, while sometimes there is an additional sink near the exam table. In dental suites, there may even be special tools, such as water picks, that require a constant and clean water source.
  • Surgery suites require significant plumbing. From water-powered tools used during surgery to scrub sinks to oxygen lines, these rooms are essentially a maze of pipes. Drainage is also a significant concern here in order to sterilize the space.
  • A backflow prevention system is vital to the keeping a veterinary practice sanitary and pleasant. While we might not want to think about it, vets know that accidents happen in their treatment rooms, waiting rooms, and even grooming facilities. The last thing you want are those smells coming back up the pipes.
  • If the veterinary services also includes grooming, the grooming suite will have its own special requirements. For example, significant water pressure is needed to clean out the tubs, and preventing clogs is a major concern, requiring special traps in the drains.
  • Practices that also offer boarding services need to have dog runs. Dog runs need fresh water sources for drinking, high-powered hoses for cleaning, and a quality drainage system. Depending on how many dogs are to be kept at one time, a 6-inch drain line may be required.

How to Avoid Plumbing Problems in Your Practice

How to best avoid plumbing problems in your practice depends on if you are building new or planning to occupy a space that has already been built. If building new, work with a licensed plumber that is experienced in designing plumbing systems for your type of practice and fully understands the regulations governing it. They should partner with the architect to come up with the best possible layout.

For practices that are located in existing structures, maintenance and small alterations from plumbing services are key. While being in a space specifically designed for dentistry or veterinary care is ideal, building new or moving facilities is not always an option. Maintenance service is an affordable way to keep things running as well as possible, while small alterations can improve function and your patient perception without breaking the bank.

Turn to Ram Plumbing

The licensed contractors at Ram Plumbing are experienced in the design, maintenance, and repair of dental and veterinary office plumbing systems. For a local plumbing team that can make your practice all it can be, there is no better choice. Allow us to become your Tucson plumber of choice. Contact us at 520-747-8089 and schedule our commercial plumbing service.

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