The bathroom is one of the most frequently used rooms in your home. Not only that, it’s a room that has to be well maintained; if it’s not, a plumbing emergency could easily surprise you at an inconvenient time. From the toilet to the showerhead, the sink to the drains, bathroom plumbing maintenance is an important part of keeping your home running efficiently. Take note of the following bathroom plumbing tips to help you better maintain your bathroom and guard against disrepair and plumbing emergencies.
Keeping your source of water running – i.e., the faucet (including the sink and bathtub faucets) – is important for a successful bathroom experience, whether you’re taking a bath, washing your hands, or cleaning. Check out these bathroom faucet tips to maintain working faucets that get the job done well:
- Unlike pipes, the moving parts of a faucet can wear down easily over time and might need to be tightened or even replaced more often than other plumbing parts.
- Repair leaky faucets immediately. This will help you avoid further damage to the fixtures and faucets. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, a leaky faucet dripping at one drip per second wastes at least 3,000 gallons of water every year – or the equivalent of what’s needed to take more than 180 showers.
- Clean your faucet aerators. Low water pressure from the faucet or water leaks from the handle are usually caused by lime buildup and sediment blocking the small openings inside the aerator. Clean the aerator using the following steps:
- By hand, carefully unscrew the aerator from the faucet by turning counterclockwise. If it will not unscrew, wrap the jaws of your pliers with masking tape and loosen the aerator with the pliers. Continue by hand.
- Take aerator or spray head apart.
- Use a small brush dipped in vinegar to remove sediment.
- Reassemble the aerator and screw it back on to the faucet.
Showerheads develop uneven spray when the holes become clogged with mineral deposits from the water. Follow these steps to clean it:
- Unscrew swivel ball nut. You will need an adjustable wrench or channel-type pliers. (Hint: To protect the finish from scratches, first wrap the jaws of the tool with masking tape.)
- Unscrew the collar nut from the showerhead.
- Gently clean the outlet and inlet holes of the showerhead using a thin wire.
- Flush the head with clean water.
- Reassemble the showerhead.
- Soak the showerhead in vinegar to remove mineral deposits. Specifically, put one cup of vinegar in a plastic bag and place it over the shower head. Hold it in place with a twist tie and let stand overnight. In the morning, remove the bag and wipe off the mineral deposits with a damp cloth.
Toilet Maintenance and Finding Leaks
Did you know that your toilet can be a primary source for bathroom leaks? Check the water level in the toilet’s tank to be sure that the water is not overflowing by way of the overflow pipe (the pipe in the middle of the tank with a small piece of tubing connected to it). Then follow these steps to correct the problem:
- If water is running into the overflow pipe, adjust the fill valve until the water stops approximately one inch below the top of the overflow tube. There may be a water level mark stamped on the side of the tank.
- Test the flush valve mechanism by putting a few drops of food coloring into the tank.
- Check the bowl after 15 minutes. If the water in the toilet bowl has changed color, the ball or flapper is leaking and needs to be replaced.
Here’s another tip for keeping your toilet in the best working condition possible:
- Do not use your toilet as a wastebasket. Do not flush facial tissue, cotton balls, make-up pads, sanitary products or diapers as they do not dissolve and can clog the lines. Keep a trash container in each bathroom and toss these items away.