NATIONAL REPORT—Keeping your pipes open and clean keeps the plumber away, repair-related costs down, rooms sellable, and keeps unhappy guests from sullying your property’s reputation online. Unfortunately, says Jeff Vance, Sales Director for Instant Power Corp., most hoteliers take a reactive approach to drain issues. “The guest complains, and the hotel manager/worker reacts,” he says. Sound familiar?
Proper drain maintenance is critical in a hotel environment. “Hotels have vertical and horizontal/lateral plumbing lines,” Vance says. “Typically, plumbing issues arise when lateral lines get clogged with hair, grease, soaps, toothpaste, fats, oils, paper, and other objects. In addition to those issues, a hotel on a septic system adds the chance of the septic tank and the lines to the leech field getting clogged with organic matter.”
Of the possible drain problems, Vance says the most common clog issue in hotels is hair clogs in the bathroom sink and shower. “Hair combines with soap, shampoo, toothpaste, and organic matter causing a blob that clogs the line,” he says.
The Price of a Crisis Management Approach
Depending on the severity of the clog, one may have to result in using snakes or jetting. This approach can take a while, meaning closing the room and incurring unexpected electric and water costs. Oftentimes, a chemical is used—acid, caustic, or bleach/caustic blends. While fast acting, these are all hazardous chemicals from a worker safety and product handling/transporting perspective. Acid and bleach/caustic blends can corrode pipes. Caustics tend to be safe on pipes and are not harmful to the environment in limited quantities as drain openers, but they and their acid and bleach/caustic counterparts would not be considered environmentally friendly.
Vance says his company advocates a preventive maintenance (PM) approach to drains using non-hazardous bacteria and enzyme blends that are safe to handle and transport from a worker safety standpoint.
“A drain or septic maintenance program is ideal,” Vance says. “Frequently treating drains with our bio-enzymatic products will help prevent future clogs from happening and will eliminate bad smells and pests from drains. Hotels with big commercial kitchens that face drain issues from fats, oils, greases, and organic matter tend to be more receptive to adopting a PM program.”
Green Seal Certified Products
Instant Power just announced that 18 Instant Power Professional products have achieved the Green Seal certification for health, sustainability, and safety. The 18 products will form the basis of a new range of environmentally friendly commercial products.
When looking for a safer, environmentally friendly option for drain maintenance, Vance suggests looking for third-party certification. In addition to being Green Seal certified, Instant Power’s Bio-Enzymatic Drain and Septic Products are NSF Certified. NSF is the acronym for National Sanitation Foundation. “This organization grades products for use in restaurants and food processing plants,” Vance says. “Our products are NSF certified for intended use in proximity to food.”
In addition to looking for third-party certification, Vance says simply reading the label carefully for ingredients and directions is important.
“Purchasing a commercial grade product with OSHA Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) is very important,” Vance says. “Hoteliers should be purchasing and using commercial chemicals, not retail chemicals. Viewing the Safety Data Sheet (SDS) will give the hotelier an idea of the ingredients and toxicity of the product. Any company can claim their products are environmentally friendly, but third-party certification proves it.”
Drain PM Planning
In regard to frequency of PM product use, Vance says it depends. “Slow drains should be treated daily with eight ounces of Bio-Enzymatic Drain Maintainer Daily until improvement,” he says. “For ongoing maintenance, treat weekly with eight ounces of Bio-Enzymatic Drain Maintainer. For kitchen/grease trap shock, treat the drain closest to the grease trap weekly with 32 ounces of Bio-Enzymatic Drain Maintainer. For kitchen/grease trap maintenance, treat the drain closest to the grease trap bi-weekly with 16 ounces of Bio-Enzymatic Drain Maintainer. You can taper off during slow season.”
Will going green with your drain maintenance cost you more? Vance says no. “Our Green Line is less expensive than our Caustic Line from a price per liquid ounce perspective,” he says.
Asked what advice he would offer to a hotelier considering green drain solutions like the ones offered by Instant Power, Vance said, “Start in a highly problematic area in your hotel or in your kitchen. See how it works. Expand from there when you see positive results. It will cost less to take a PM approach.”
Glenn Hasek can be reached at email@example.com.