Today’s homes often have bathrooms that are spa-like in their fixtures – restful, beautiful spaces to enjoy. But beauty rests on top of lots of plumbing know-how.
Bathrooms are more than a well-decorated necessity. They house a lot of equipment that needs regular maintenance. Given that most homes have more than one bathroom, simple tasks need to be done in more than one place on a reasonably regular basis.
Central to a comfortable functional bathroom is plumbing that is running properly. Drains, faucets, toilets, showers – all of them demand that water flow properly. All of them can malfunction and waste water or cause damage.
No surprise – regular maintenance can spot problems before they become full-fledged nuisances. Let’s take a look around the typical bathroom. There’s a lot going on in a concentrated space.
Water needs to be where it is needed and to stay in its place. Water that won’t flow well or that won’t drain well or that won’t stay in its own pipes – these are the enemies of efficient water usage. Oddly enough, cleaning is a major factor in keeping the water running.
- A shower head that is crusted with mineral deposits won’t let the water flow well. It is easy to clean a shower head. All it takes is doing the task when you have some time.
- While we are talking about cleaning water inlets, the faucet aerators on your sink are another spot where normal use tends to build up mineral deposits and other debris. Keeping the aerators clean not only lets water flow more freely, but the faucets look better, too.
- One of the most annoying (and wasteful) problems in a bathroom is a toilet running or cycling on and off all by itself. These “ghost flushes” waste water and money. There are several easy fixes from gaskets to flappers that can stop the noise.
- Draining water out of your sinks is another spot where trouble develops with just normal use. Clogs can form, slowing the drainage to a crawl. Cleaning your drain p-traps regularly lets water go down the drain as it should.
- There are other places besides the bathroom where plumbing can leak, but while we are in the bathroom, check for plumbing leaks at pipe joints and connections. Finding nothing wrong is what you want, but if you find a leak, you have a chance of fixing it before it is a major disaster.
- While you are looking at the plumbing in general, check the bathroom fixture supply lines for bulges or leaks. These lines are under pressure so a leak here will let lots of water escape.
- Though your water heater is not likely to be in the bathroom, its proper functioning makes a huge difference to a comfortable shower. Checking its TPR valve and flushing the water heater on a regular basis are both likely to prolong its useful life.
- Water pressure is partially dependent on where your house is located and the water utility system you use. Once the water gets to your house, though, you can check your whole house water pressure to see if it is at expected levels.
- And of course, if water problems do occur, there should be water shut-offs on bathroom fixtures like the toilet and the sink supply lines. Some houses don’t have many water shut-offs – depending on local building code and local builder practices. Every house does have an emergency water shut-off where the water enters the house and every home owner should know where that valve is. Testing it to be sure it is working well is another Good Idea.
Though there is electricity in the bathroom, as in every room, there aren’t generally major electric appliances that need home maintenance located in the bathroom. Safety and illumination are the primary purposes for the electricity in the bathroom and that makes for a short list of things to check.
- Bathrooms are likely to have several types of light bulbs in them. It doesn’t take much effort to look for burned out light bulbs and to replace them promptly. Lights that work first thing on a dreary morning are worth the small effort.
- GFCI outlets are designed to interrupt the electricity if power surges – as it would if a turned-on space heater fell into the tub. Checking these special safety outlets to be sure they are working well is easy.
Typically, bathrooms have extra ventilation fans as well as the normal heating ducts and cold air returns. Dirty or blocked ventilation ducts make for poor air circulation and less than great comfort. Worse, moist air that lingers can support mold and other unpleasant side effects like rot. It’s easy to keep these areas clean.
- The bathroom exhaust fan sometimes also has a light fixture in it. Whether or not there is a light, open the fan to clean it now and then. You may be surprised at how much dust builds up in the housing. Air will move better, the fan will run more quietly (and longer), and life is better when the fan is clean.
- Clean the ducts and grilles that let air circulate to and from your bathroom. A vacuum cleaner and a cleaning rag are about as complicated tools as you will need for this task. Again, you may be surprised at how much dust and other debris collects in the ducts.
Don’t feel like doing all these maintenance tasks yourself? No need to. There are home maintenance services professionals who can deal with routine scheduled services or with a one-off chore. If you don’t have anyone in mind, give us a call. We happen to excel in this area.
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