5 Ways You’re Slowly Destroying Your Bathroom

It’s not a secret toilet that gets clogged from time to time, and too much hair or other debris built up in the shower can prevent water from draining properly. But what are the other hidden culprits that could sabotage your bathroom? We spoke to a local plumbing professional to find out what is ruining your bathroom and how to avoid future plumbing emergencies.

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5 Ways You Are Slowly Destroying Your Bathroom

Clutter under the sink

Any day, most of us can open the cupboard under the sink and find a sizable supply of makeup and hair products, extra hand soap, cleaning supplies, and even a trash can. It seems like the perfect place to hide clutter so it isn’t strewn across the bathroom. But what else is hidden underneath? According to Andrew Foster, plumbing manager at Roscoe Brown, a local company specializing in plumbing, sewerage, heating, cooling and insulation, the answer could be a hidden leak. “Too many items under a sink hide potential leaks and also force pipes to leak,” he says. Overcrowded conditions can keep you from noticing corrosion or a loose pipe connection until your closet has been damaged, let alone anything you keep there. A good rule of thumb is to keep the area under the sink clean.

Hidden Leaks

Speaking of hidden leaks, is your water bill suddenly and inexplicably higher than normal? Is there a spot of various mold or mildew that you can’t find a source for? You may have a hidden leak, whether it’s behind a wall or under the floor. Unfortunately, leaks are part of home ownership and can lead to even bigger problems later if they are not nipped in the bud. Regular home maintenance should include bathroom inspections to prevent small leaks from turning into larger ones. Equipping yourself with knowledge is also a good plan. So, keep your eye (and nose) away from tell-tale leaks like musty smells, water stains or damage to ceilings, walls and floors, mold or mildew on the aforementioned hike in your water bill.

If you pay close attention to spikes in your water bill and signs of mold or mildew, you can spot leaks before they get out of hand.

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Chlorine tablets and other tough cleaners

Chlorine tablets and strong detergents have long been controversial in the plumbing industry. Many homeowners swear by them, while plumbers would prefer you swear them off. The reality is that they can damage faucet surfaces and drains. You can even crack the china. While chlorine tablets can work wonders for cleaning and disinfecting a swimming pool, they are not suitable for toilets. The concentration of chlorine is too high for a device that has rubber and plastic parts, and prolonged use of these parts – or a harsh detergent – can also damage the toilet bowl and tank. “In-tank and other aggressive products can damage and wear rubber seals, resulting in high water bills and leaks on the floor,” explains Andrew. “Similar to the way your skin dries out using similar cleansers, rubber seals are equally prone to this damage. So much so that even some areas with higher levels of chlorine in their water can achieve the same result with plain tap water. ” The solution? Avoid using harsh chemicals at all costs.

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Flush various items down the toilet

Just because something appears to be flushable – or even claims to be – doesn’t mean it is flushable. From feminine hygiene products to facial tissues, even some things that seem harmless are a blockage waiting to happen. “A good rule of thumb is that if it’s too good to be true, then it probably is,” says Andrew. “Most products labeled ‘flushable’ don’t drain well.” The bottom line, no pun intended, is not to flush anything that is not toilet paper or human waste. “Toilet paper is specifically designed to prevent the plumbing system from failing quickly,” explains Andrew. “Other products like wipes or cleaning pads take much longer to achieve this goal, which significantly increases the risk of clogging.”

Shower curtain

Sure, sometimes a hidden leak is the culprit that ravages the plumbing system … sometimes it’s our own bad habits. Have you ever had to use your towel to mop up a puddle on your floor caused by water running off? Shower curtains serve multiple purposes, and protecting our bathroom floor from water damage is vital. However, improperly positioned tub curtains are notorious for channeling water where it doesn’t belong, gradually damaging tiles, baseboards, and even the wall. To avoid possible damage, make sure the curtains are positioned to contain water in the tub or stall. As an aside, curtains also provide the perfect conditions for mold and mildew to develop. So clean them often!

Blue and white shower curtain in the bathroom

Do you think your shower curtain is innocent? Think again!

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While the prospect of leaks and plumbing sounds daunting, foresight is half the battle. “Toilet repairs are usually the simplest repairs, but the most expensive to live with,” says Andrew. In fact, he admits that toilet running is the number one reason a homeowner calls a plumber. “Simple mechanical knowledge is much of what it takes to fix these problems,” he tells us. In other words, with a little research, some of the smaller issues could even be something to deal with on your own. Nevertheless, prevention makes a major contribution to avoiding disasters.


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