Home Cleaning & Maintenance The Importance of Preventive Maintenance on Your Drains

The Importance of Preventive Maintenance on Your Drains

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Glenn Hasek

As a homeowner, I do the best I can with preventive maintenance (PM) but sometimes the tasks can get overwhelming. For example, I had some plumbing work done this past week and the plumber looked at my water heater and asked if I flush and drain it at least annually. I was honest and said I had not drained it since we bought our home eight years ago. Arghh. The tank is probably 24 years old and original to our home. Maybe I need some PM software to make sure I don’t miss important tasks? As has been written here before and I am sure you are aware if you run a lodging establishment, there is a direct line between higher energy and water costs, more waste, and higher capital costs due to a lack of proper PM.

At the hotel level I thought of PM this past week when I interviewed Jeff Vance, Sales Director for Instant Power Corp. His company recently announced that 18 of its products had achieved Green Seal Certification for health, sustainability, and safety. Instant Power’s focus is on drain maintenance—in the guestroom, kitchen, and for septic systems—specifically from a PM standpoint, not a crisis standpoint. The company uses naturally derived bio-enzymatic ingredients in its formulas to keep drains open.

Vance told me most hoteliers take a reactive approach to drain issues. The guest complains, and the hotel manager/worker reacts. Improper drain maintenance can lead to clogs caused by hair, grease, soaps, toothpaste, oils, paper, and other objects. The most common issue 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,” Vance says. Yuck.

Fast Solutions Can Be Bad News for the Environment

There is a price to be paid for improper drain maintenance—not only from a cost standpoint but also an environmental one. During a crisis, the first reaction is to grab for a chemical—an acid, caustic, or bleach/caustic blend. While it may work, that chemical is bound for the environment and the residue left in empty bottles will usually end up in a landfill. Indoor air quality can also be impacted by these chemicals. If the clog is severe enough, snakes or jetting may be needed. This can take a room out of commission, and you may just end up seeing the clog and its aftermath described in detail on social media—chasing prospective customers away.

“A drain maintenance program is ideal,” Vance says. “Frequently treating drains with bio-enzymatic products will help prevent future clogs from happening and will eliminate bad smells and pests from drains.” Vance adds that 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.

In planning for an environmentally responsible drain PM program, do consider green certified products. Green Seal is a great choice. Instant Power has also turned to NSF certification for its products. NSF is the acronym for National Sanitation Foundation. “This organization grades products for use in restaurants and food processing plants,” Vance says.

Follow Instructions Carefully

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 also 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.”

In regard to frequency of PM product use, Vance says it depends. Consult with your supplier. It certainly makes sense to scale back during slow season. Ultimately, a PM approach—especially one based on smart, environmentally responsible product usage, will save you money and keep you, your guests, and employees safe and happy.

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