Toilet troubles are common struggles that all homeowners go through from time to time. Sometimes, there’s a clog that you just can’t shake. Maybe it leads to flooding and backups, a huge mess and headache no one wants to deal with. Though problems like these can’t be avoided entirely, the chances of them occurring can be greatly reduced by following a few simple tips. In this article, we go over what we consider to be the most important toilet maintenance tips.
Why Is Toilet Maintenance Important?
There are a number of common plumbing problems that can be almost entirely prevented with proper maintenance. These problems include:
- Slow-draining bowl
- Water dripping into the tank
Proper upkeep helps prevent these annoying occurrences. Professional maintenance once yearly, just like with your HVAC system, is key to keeping your toilet and plumbing system healthy and happy.
Know the Signs of Leaks
Leaks from your plumbing system are sadly a part of life. They can happen anywhere, from your sink to the water main out in the yard, and yes, the toilet as well. Knowing that this is a possibility will help you stay vigilant. Catching leaks early is key to preventing water damage to your home.
There are a number of places a leak can crop up in your toilet. Check for wet spots on and around your toilet on a regular basis, perhaps as part of monthly home maintenance tasks. The most common place for a toilet leak is from the tank into the bowl. You can test this by placing a few drops of brightly colored food dye into the tank. If after a few moments the water in your bowl starts turning color without flushing, you know you have a leak in the gasket leading to the toilet.
Keep Things Clean
You’re probably not aware that keeping your toilet clean helps keep it running as it should, but it’s true. Just like your furnace gets cleaned and inspected on a regular basis, the same should be true of your toilet. It’s tempting to leave that toilet scrubbing for the last minute, putting it off as long as possible, or to simply do a rush job at it that doesn’t really get things clean. If the gunk and dirt is bad enough, however, it can contribute to clogs.
Clean your toilet regularly, once a week. Do a thorough scrubbing. Over time this job will become a quick task since there’s no more buildup accumulating for you to scrub away.
Be Wary of Chemicals
When it comes to cleaning and maintaining your toilet, it’s best to err on the side of caution when considering the usage of harsh and damaging chemicals. Harsh chemical cleaners promise to make the job of scrubbing easier or promise to erase the appearance of stains. These quick fixes can eat away at your toilet and cause damage that leads to problems over time.
The same goes for chemical clog removers and drain cleaners. Though they typically accomplish the job of removing clogs, they do damage along the way. This damage is due to the clog removers corrosive nature, potentially eating into your pipes and causing leaks if used repeatedly.
Consider a Water Softener
Numerous health and home problems are caused by hard water. Hard water contains high quantities of minerals that wreak havoc on nearly everything in your home, from appliances to your skin and hair. These minerals build up inside your pipes and attach to fixtures in your kitchen and bathrooms. This accumulation makes clogs more likely and harder to get rid of when they do occur. Having a water softener installed will replace these hard minerals with softer ones that will be beneficial instead of detrimental to your body, appliances, and plumbing system.
There are a few valves on your toilet that you can check for health and functionality as part of your maintenance routine. One is the shut-off valve. This knob is also known as the stop valve since it stops the flow of water to your toilet. Check to make sure that this knob turns with ease, without the need for greasing. If it doesn’t, replace it. That way you’re never left unable to turn the water off to a leaky toilet.
The other valve you can inspect is the fill valve, which is located inside the tank, making this task a little more involved. First, take the lid off your tank and place it out of the way somewhere safe. Afterward, flush the toilet in order to empty the tank. Watch as water dispenses from the fill valve, bringing the water level in the tank back to normal. If it keeps running after the tank is full, call a plumber so repairs can be done.
Call for Help
Most toilet clogs can be removed easily with a standard household plunger. If the clog is a stubborn one, give up before you create further damage. Some clogs are deeper in your pipes and can’t be reached with a standard plunger. The job may need a drain snake or other tool that can only safely be used by a licensed plumber. Even if the job seems small, there’s no shame in calling for help when things get tricky. It’s always better to have a professional take care of what you’re unable to so that you can prevent problems from evolving.
Watch What You Flush
Very few things are meant to go down your toilet. The best practice is to err on the side of caution and flush nothing other than standard toilet paper and human waste. Avoid flushing anything that can swell up and cause clogs. This includes cotton balls and swabs, cleaning and baby wipes, feminine hygiene products, and paper towels. If you have small children, make sure they don’t have unsupervised access to the toilet. It doesn’t take long for a toy to get flushed and become lodged in your pipes.
Remember Professional Maintenance
It’s great to do your own toilet and plumbing maintenance tasks as long as they’re simple and safe. Not every maintenance task falls under these two criteria, however. That’s why it’s important to schedule regular maintenance appointments with the plumbers on our team.
All our plumbers are licensed and well-prepared to work on your toilet and plumbing system. Similar to our HVAC maintenance tune-ups, a toilet maintenance appointment will involve cleaning, inspection, and minor adjustments and repairs. We’ll catch any small leaks or problems before they become major headaches. Hiring a professional for the major maintenance tasks make the small tasks on your plate easier.
Quality Plumbing Service You Can Trust
Eck Services has been a provider of plumbing and electrical services throughout Pratt, Wichita, Kingman and the surrounding area for over 15 years. Our excellent customer service and 24/7 emergency services mean we’re a company you can count on to get the job done right. With service offerings ranging from plumbing and leak repair to heating and air conditioning installations and maintenance, we’re here to serve. Give us a call today to set up an appointment!