In the movies, leaky faucets tend to keep people up at night. In the commercial kitchen, leaks are common occurrences that are more than just an annoyance. A leaky faucet may drip constantly for days, and these drips turn into gallons in no time. Leaky pipes are potentially even more damaging. Water leaks in the commercial kitchen can drain profits surprisingly quickly, often before the operator even notices the problem.
- Small drips cost big dollars. The tiny drips add up. A small cold water leak of just under 0.2 gallons per minute fills about 10 gallons every hour, adding up to 100,000 gallons in the span of a year. This can turn into a cost of about $700 in excess water usage for the year.
- Leaks waste energy. A faucet or pipe leaking hot water forces the water heater to heat every drip, adding up to anywhere from $1,200 to $1,700 in excess costs for the year.
- Water damages buildings. Dripping pipes may cause costly damage to floors, walls and other parts of the building around them. Dampness or standing water in restaurant basements could host a variety of problems, from mold and mildew growth to insect and rodent infestations. The cost of replacing ruined building materials can be devastating.
Prevention and Repair
- Check and replace washers. Many leaks are simply due to worn or damaged washers or a sink loose handle. Problems like these are generally easy to repair with basic tools.
- Clean and maintain equipment. Clean and maintain sinks and dishwashing stations to prevent backups and clogs, which may also contribute to leaks. Also, make sure hose connections on water lines to ice machines or dishwashers are tight and secure.
- Replace old parts or equipment. The age of your equipment and appliances is a big factor. After years of use, some metals in dishwashers, ice makers and other machines can rust or break and cause leaks.
- Call a plumbing professional. Sometimes the leak is not as simple as a worn washer. The problem may require professional attention. If you are unsure about your ability to fix the leak, be sure to call a plumber right away.
Make the Commitment
Albeit small, a leaky faucet or dripping pipes can grow into a big problem. Without repairs, a small leak can waste up to thousands of gallons of water each year, costing hundreds of dollars in excessive water costs. Water and plumbing systems need to be priority maintenance items in every commercial kitchen facility in order to avoid these preventable costs.