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One of the most undervalued but overused rooms in every house is the bathroom. Where would we be without this simple space in our home?
The truth is that most of us don’t pay attention to our bathrooms and how they are holding up the heavy load that we put on them until something goes wrong. When it does, it usually does so at the worst possible time.
To keep this from happening to you, it’s important to practice regular bathroom maintenance throughout the year. Even if you have no idea what you are looking for, you can watch for basic signs that are warning you of a potential problem on the horizon.
Here is the complete beginner’s guide to bathroom maintenance for every homeowner.
All You Need to Know to Maintain Your Bathroom
Whether your plumbing system needs work or you just want to keep it from falling into disrepair, follow these few steps to inspect your bathroom throughout the year.
- Keep an eye (and an ear) on your toilet when you flush. To the majority of people, the sound a toilet makes when it flushes is background noise – until it doesn’t stop. Your toilet should run just long enough to fill the tank back up, but if there’s a problem, it will run longer or constantly.
If your toilet is running continuously or at odd times, check the seal. This is a wax ring that goes around the bottom of your toilet fixture. When it is completely sealed, it keeps the smell of sewer gases from escaping into your home and prevents leaks.
Catching this problem early is usually inexpensive to fix. Catching it later can mean a lot of damage was already done and you are looking at a much bigger repair bill.
- Don’t ignore leaks. No matter how tiny the leak, if your shower, toilet, or faucet is leaking, there’s a problem. It could mean that the handle is wearing down or the seals are broken.
Leaky faucets can cost you more than money on your utility bill. Faucets that drip one drop each second will waste more than 3,000 gallons every year. This is a huge financial drain, but it is also a waste of resources. Water conservation is a serious problem that everyone needs to aid in addressing.
If your shower is leaking and needs to be sealed, you can read this post to learn more about fixing it.
- Check how your water drains. One of the first signs of a clog somewhere in your pipes shows up in how well your water is draining. As you are using your plumbing fixtures in your bathroom, make it a point to always monitor the drain time.
This isn’t as hard as it may sound. After a few purposeful checks, our brain will get used to everything looking a specific way and will alert you when things are not as status quo as they should be.
At that point, if your toilet, sink, or shower is draining slower than usual, you should notice. When that happens, you probably have a clog somewhere and need to get rid of it.
While some clogs may be easy to fix with the strategic use of a plunger, others may be more complicated. It’s not recommended to pour harsh chemicals down your pipes as these have been known to cause corrosion and other side effects, but a quick call to a plumber can have the problem solved before it becomes a big issue.
- Don’t forget to maintain your water heater. It’s not technically part of your bathroom, but you’ll notice when your water heater goes out quicker in your bathroom than anywhere else. Hot water in your shower and when you wash your hands is important to cleanliness and hygiene.
When your water heater starts going out, it will do so in little signs. You might notice an increase in your utility bills if it is leaking. It also requires more energy to heat your water tank when the heating elements begin to go bad.
Some water heater problems are fixable with a DIY pro, but others will require a plumber or a new tank, depending on how old yours is.
- Watch for moisture around your plumbing fixtures. There is always going to be a certain degree of moisture in your bathroom, no matter what you do. Installing a fan and proper ventilation will help eliminate excess moisture before it causes damage.
However, if you are noticing standing water or you don’t have a good ventilation system, that moisture is causing damage that you don’t see yet.
Damp walls and wet floors are breeding grounds for mold and mildew. This is unhealthy for you and your family and also means there is a problem somewhere. Ignoring it can mean a minor problem turns into a major one fast.
- Don’t let your bathroom get out of working order. We all have our favorite rooms in our homes, and that includes which bathrooms we choose to use regularly and those we ignore. That’s normal and perfectly fine, as long as you still turn the faucets and showerheads on and flush the toilet occasionally.
Once a month is recommended for upkeep and maintenance. When you go into the room and use the plumbing fixtures, check for all of the problems mentioned above. Watch for problems with seals in the shower and the toilet, and check for potential clogs as the water drains.
Even plumbing fixtures that are not being used can go bad. Pipes can bust or clog and behind-the-scenes issues can spread to the rest of the house and create significant damage. You can avoid this problem by regularly maintaining unused fixtures.
Maintaining Your Bathroom is Simple and Quick
When you know what to watch for, keeping your bathroom in top shape is easy. Most of the time, things will work just as they are supposed to and your job will be simple. When there’s a problem starting, though, you can catch it early so the fix will likely be something that can be done easily and inexpensively compared to long-term damage.
Even a beginning homeowner can maintain their bathrooms like a professional!