Quick Restaurant Plumbing Maintenance and Troubleshooting Tips

You don’t have to flush money down the drain to maintain restaurant plumbing. Use these quick tips to try and avoid as much costly service as possible.


The most important thing you associate with a restaurant is food. But what about all of the equipment and infrastructure that actually allows that food to get made?

Plumbing infrastructure literally keeps your restaurant (water) running. It’s the system of pipes that allow fluids to flow in and out of your buildings and can include anything from your grease trap to your toilets.

If plumbing isn’t working properly, your restaurant can quickly be out of code—and out of commission for your customers.

In The State of Repairs, we found that over a quarter of restaurant repairs managed in our platform in 2021 were related to plumbing infrastructure issues. The average cost of each of those vendor dispatch calls? A whopping $666.28.

But you don’t have to flush a bunch of money down the drain to maintain your plumbing infrastructure. Use these quick tips to try and avoid as much costly service as possible.

Preventing potential restaurant plumbing issues

The best way to avoid plumbing problems is to try and stop them before they stop you. Invest in preventative maintenance with these ideas.

Install floor drain buckets and domes

Installing these prevents large items, like napkins and cutlery, from going down drains and causing expensive repairs and lost profits.

Invest in locking drains

Cleaning might actually cause some of your restaurant’s clogs. To avoid items falling into drains, pick covers that actually lock in place to keep openings protected at all times.

Schedule routine grease trap maintenance

Grease traps should be cleaned at least quarterly, and the line jetting should occur once or twice a year to remove thick layers of grease from pipes that can build up and cause clogs.

Looking for more details about grease trap maintenance? Get The 86 Repairs Guide to Restaurant Grease Traps.

Avoid untimely parts replacement

Keep the flow of customers moving by checking restrooms before every service for loose or faulty handles, faucets, and other parts so they can be fixed before they break completely. 

How to troubleshoot restaurant plumbing issues

Even with the best preventative maintenance schedule in place, sometimes your staff has to deal with a restaurant plumbing emergency.

When things go wrong, try these tips before calling in for backup.

Clogged floor drains

First, use a 30-40 foot long drain snake to see if you hit a blockage.

Blockage won’t clear from the snake? Use a plunger to try and clear it instead. Note that this will only work if standing water is present, so if there’s no standing water, add water until the drain overflows.

But before you start plunging, a few words of caution:

  • Never plunge a floor drain if you have multiple clogs. This could accidentally send sewer water into the kitchen—causing a true “Oh, sh*t” moment for your staff. 
  • Don’t plunge a floor drain if you’ve ever used chemical cleaners on it. It could send harmful fumes into the air, hurting your customers and staff.

If you can’t resolve the clog on your own, you need a plumber.

Broken parts

This can usually be handled in-house. Save time and money on replacing items like handles and sink cartridges by sourcing them yourself in-store or online and using instruction manuals or online tutorials to install.

Take plumbing repairs off your plate

86 Repairs is the repair and maintenance management platform built for the restaurant industry. Our tech-enabled solution includes on-demand repair management and preventative maintenance. 

So when a plumbing issue arises, all our customers have to do is text, call, or email us. We’ll begin by helping you troubleshoot the issue, and if needed, dispatch a vendor on your behalf and oversee the repair from end-to-end.

Sounds like a royal flush, right? Contact us for a demo today.

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