Plumbing disasters can cost big companies dearly, and not just from the price of the water that's wasted. Leaking pipes can also cause expensive damage to physical structures and, more importantly, data cabling and IT hardware. In the worst cases, a simple leaking pipe can take down cutting edge servers and render business networks inoperable.
If you want to avoid plumbing-related business problems, here are some key things to remember.
Double Check Your Plans to Locate Problem Pipes
One of the most common problems faced by facilities managers (or other members of staff tasked with keeping business premises in good working order) is inadequate information. When a pipe bursts or starts to leak, the effects are obvious, but the source is not always so easy to detect. Many building plans are inaccurate, displaying incorrect pipe locations and hindering remediation efforts. To avoid this, update your plumbing maps and find out exactly how fluids flow around your premises.
Identify any Weak Spots and Reinforce Them
Sometimes, you can't easily physically separate water pipes from data cabling or IT equipment. When this is the case, your only option is to take action to protect your IT infrastructure against damage before leaks occur. Rack servers can be elevated above the floor and sensitive cables can be routed safely by using waterproof cable glands. Check the walls and ceilings of your premises as well. If there are any patches of damp damage, either check for leaks or avoid routing cables near them.
Inspect Your Fire Prevention Systems Regularly
If your company uses sprinkler-based fire extinguishing systems, you should regularly schedule inspections and repairs for safety reasons, but keeping sprinklers in good working order can also prevent damage to your network. If sprinklers are improperly set up, leaks can easily develop, while setting them off unnecessarily can ruin cabling, computers and other IT equipment.
Make Your Hydraulic Plumbing Leak Free
Updating your plumbing systems can also act as insurance against IT failures. For example, if you use a hydraulic plumbing system, as many industrial businesses and large office buildings do, check that all of the seals are properly installed and have hydraulic works plumbing experts assess whether or not there are any issues relating to metal fatigue. It might be time to completely overhaul your pipes and pumps. If not, small disturbances can cascade through hydraulic systems, causing multiple leaks and damaging IT networks.
IT networks and plumbing systems can be a dangerous combination, but it's something that the vast majority of modern businesses need to think about. By checking the integrity of hydraulic plumbing systems, protecting your cables, inspecting sprinklers and double-checking your plumbing maps, you will find it much easier to protect your data networks from harm.