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Unexpected Plumbing Problems: What You Should Be Maintaining in Your Home: Faucets, Showerheads, and Toilets

Unexpected Plumbing Problems: What You Should Be Maintaining in Your Home: Faucets, Showerheads, and Toilets

Home plumbing fixtures such as faucets, showerheads, and toilets work hard every day to make your life easy and convenient. While you may not often think about these fixtures, they do require regular maintenance and care to ensure they continue functioning problem-free. A leaky faucet or toilet will waste water continually, raising your water bill unnecessarily. Poorly-maintained fixtures also detract from the look of your home when they develop stains, scale, and water spots. Keep reading to discover what you can do to maintain your plumbing fixtures and ensure you will enjoy years of high-quality performance.

Removing Hard Water and Other Deposits

If you live in an area with hard water, your faucets and plumbing will suffer. Hard water leaves behind mineral deposits in your plumbing pipes and on your fixtures, which reduce water flow and pressure. Deposits that build up over time can permanently damage your fixture and require that it be replaced. Check and clean your faucets and showerheads about once a month with vinegar and water as a solution in a spray bottle. Spray the cleaner up into the faucet or onto the face of your showerhead, then wipe away mineral deposits and excess cleaner with a soft—not abrasive—cloth or sponge. You can also use a toothbrush to clean out your faucet or showerhead. If you have extremely hard water or have not cleaned your faucets in a while, visit your local hardware or home improvement store to purchase a specialized cleaner to attack stubborn deposits.

Additionally, your faucets and showerheads accumulate layers of dust, soap scum, grime, toothpaste, shaving gel, and more during daily use. These contaminants can damage the finishes on your fixtures, affecting their appearance. Wipe your faucets down once every few days with a dry flannel or microfiber cloth to remove toothpaste, soap scum, and dust. You can use a solution of white vinegar and water to remove water spots and other tough stains from the surface of your faucets periodically to keep them looking shiny and new.

Adjusting Your Toilet Tank Mechanisms

In addition to keeping your toilet clean, you should check the tank mechanisms periodically for wear or misalignment. If the mechanisms inside the tank are not working properly, your toilet may function poorly or waste water. Inside the tank is a float that controls the water level inside the tank and the amount of water available every time you flush. You can adjust the height of this float to allow more or less water to fill the tank. Also check the flapper valve, which is attached to the handle that flushes your toilet. If this valve is worn, damaged, or misaligned, it won’t create a tight seal and water will leak continuously from your toilet’s tank into the bowl. A misaligned flapper valve can be pushed back into its proper place; flush the toilet a few times to make sure it continues to cover the drain. If the valve won’t stay aligned or is clearly damaged, you can replace it yourself or contact your plumber to do so for you.

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How often do you care for your faucets and toilets?

  • Only when there’s a problem
  • I clean them periodically—when I remember
  • I’ve had problems with my fixtures before, so I make sure to clean them often
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