Considerations unique to commercial and industrial systems
When comparing residential to commercial or industrial equipment, the concept and operations may be the same or similar, but they can be two different worlds. Following is a list of a few tips and areas to look at when you are evaluating commercial and industrial equipment.
Sizing the equipment right can be a huge factor. Many times systems are undersized or oversized, meaning the system is unable to keep up with water demand or just the opposite. If a system is oversized, it may begin to channel or not register flows. When determining flows, you will need to look at water pressure, piping size, service flows, peak flows and, if one system is in backwash or regeneration, will the system maintain its pressure? There are many factors that go into the sizing of the right system.
No, this is not a typo — the equipment size, such as diameter and length, is one that is all too often missed.
Make sure you check doorways, elevators, stairwells. How are you going to get the equipment in and out of the building? Besides checking the vessels, if it is a softener system, make sure you check the brine tank size as well.
Most equipment on the market needs a minimal amount of pressure in order to operate properly. Check with your equipment provider to know how much pressure will be needed.
One area that is often not considered is the possibility of future expansion. Asking your customer whether or not if there is going to be future expansion may save you a lot of headaches down the road.
Customers like it when you are thinking ahead. This can also allow you to size a system as such.
Some systems require special functions or features based on their manufacturing specifications. Make sure that your system covers their needs, such as being hot water sanitizable. Most customers will notify you prior to your quotation submission.
Bells & Whistles
Before you sell an upgrade to a system, make sure that it will work in the customer’s application. Items such as brine reclaim may not work for every situation or may need to be modified in order to work.
As in residential applications, there are usually two or more people involved in a commercial and industrial project. When you are proposing a project, make sure that all the parties that will be involved are involved. This can save you time and money on the project. Make sure that all communications are in writing or, if they were done verbally, are recapped in an e-mail or letter.
Along with communication, asking the right questions during the discovery phase can set you apart from many other equipment and service providers. Asking your customer what they like about their current system and what they dislike can help you sell the project and shows that you care and understand their needs.
Other questions might be:
- What is important to you?
- What is a must-have on your new system?
- Would training be important?
Over the years many systems are sold with limited to no start-up. Start-up on a commercial or industrial system is more than just plugging it in, turning on the valves and reading the manual. There is a lot involved on start-ups, and they should be performed by an experienced water professional. Besides, if something goes wrong, the water professional will most likely be able to fix it on the spot.
These are just a few of the items that need to be taken into consideration when sizing your pretreatment systems. There are several avenues for learning more about proper sizing of commercial or industrial equipment, including:
- WQA: www.wqa.org 
- Illinois Society of Professional Engineers: www.illinoisengineer.com/ professionalengineerillinois.asp .