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Plumbing Tech to Watch for in 2022

Oct. 19, 2021
Let's look at the tech that's on the rise in the plumbing industry.

Gone are the days when a few wrenches and some elbow grease got the plumbing job done; today's professional plumbers rely on cutting-edge technology. Let's look at the tech that's on the rise in the plumbing industry. 

Plumbing Pros Going Virtual

You may recall a time when a homeowner or a business had a plumbing problem, they'd flip through the yellow pages to find a contractor and give them a phone call. Then folks started searching the internet and sending emails to plumbing professionals. But modern millennials and the Generation Z gang that followed them aren't really into phone calls or emails; they prefer texting and video chats. Sure, a plumber still has to show up in person, but today's tech-savvy customers are looking to get things started with instant messages and video calls. Contractors can use this tech to their benefit, taking advantage of the ability to see an issue with real-time video before heading out to make a call. And when contractors are in the field, they can use the same technology to communicate with management, share updates, and receive documents such as schematics or instructions with a few taps of an app.  

Predictive Maintenance

Many contractors have seen what extreme winter weather can do to a plumbing system; any plumber in Mississauga, Manitoba, or Minnesota knows the havoc that frozen pipes can wreak. Now there's smart tech to alert consumers before an icy menace bursts their pipes. Handy devices like the Smart Water Assistant from Phyn monitor the pressure in pipes and can tell consumers when ice crystals are forming. True, this tech doesn't stop ice from forming, but it does give the home or business owner enough time to contact a professional to come in with traditional winterizing techniques, such as heating cables and insulation, to stave off expensive damage to pipes.

Infrared Technology to Look for Leaks

Underground piping systems and those behind walls often present significant challenges to professional plumbers looking for leaks. And costly damage for businesses and homeowners who have undetected leaks buried deep and out of sight. Luckily, thermal imaging can do what the human eye can't — "see" wavelengths to detect changes in the infrared range of the electromagnetic spectrum. In layman's terms, a thermal imaging camera will detect water at a different temperature, which is apt to be a leak. Whether it’s cold or hot water running through pipes, the water that leaks out will almost surely be at a different temperature from the flow in the pipes.

Smart Irrigation from Farms to Family Homes

From home lawns to crops on an industrial scale, smart irrigation makes sense; it saves money and provides greenery of all kinds the right amount of water at the right time. For the average homeowner or business with landscaping, this probably means a smart sprinkler system with a rain sensor that uses cork discs that swell when they sense impending rain and cancel scheduled irrigation. Plus soil sensors that measure ground moisture to gauge when it's time to water, as well as controllers that link to online weather reports to help plan irrigation schedules.

Trenchless Pipe Repair

Trenchless pipe equipment can now repair sewer lines with just a single access point. It’s no longer necessary to dig up large sections of residential and commercial properties. Additionally, because no ground excavation is needed, the process is also a lot quicker and less expensive, often being completed in a day. One method for pipe relining, called cured in place pipe (CIPP), involves using a special liner filled with a resin that is inserted into the pipe, inflated, and then after the resin hardens in place, the inflation device is removed leaving behind a newly formed section of sewer pipe. This is an ideal tech for smaller contractors due to its low overhead cost and easy execution. Recent improvements to the process, using Bluelight LED, have cut the curing process for the resin to just over an hour.

Ever-Important Mobile Apps

From small independent contractors to outfits with fleets of trucks, you're going to fall behind without a strong online presence. Apps like Housecall Pro are increasingly important tools for businesses to gain customers, and handle bookkeeping and other administrative needs as well. Also consider some apps that might come in handy out in the field, such as the Plumbing Formulator for calculating things like pipe size and water flow, and the Electrical Wiring app for the small electrical issues that often arise on plumbing jobs.

We can't be certain about what the future holds, nor sure about what emerging technology may transform the face of the plumbing marketplace. But we do know that today's technology is taking the plumbing industry into the future.

Jeffrey Wilkins is a freelance writer currently working with a group of plumbers in Mississauga. During his journey as a writer, he has written for various niches including plumbing, tech, and logistics. His work has appeared in various publications including Global Trade Magazine, Canadian Industry Online, and Multichannel Merchant.

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