10 Tips For Extending The Life Of Your Plumbing Products
10.) Make sure your fixtures are actually being used
There is a reason that your non-primary bathroom, which rarely gets used, often needs parts replaced. Plumbing products need water. There are seals, gaskets, & O-rings which need to stay moist, or they will dry out and fail. Try running the water through your products a couple times a month if they are not being used. That will keep your seals wet, and avoid them cracking & causing expensive leaks.
9.) Avoid all highly corrosive cleaners
Many household cleaners, including known name brand ones, are highly corrosive. Avoid using those to clean your chrome, stainless steel, oil rubbed bronze & other specialty finish products. Those highly corrosive products can destroy your finish, leaving you with an awful looking product. Let items which require a good cleaning sit in a 60/40 solution of vinegar & water for a half an hour. Then rinse, wipe clean, and it should look good as new.
8.) A clean shower head will keep functioning like new
When you are in the shower & notice certain nozzles on your shower head are spraying erratically, or not at all, it means you need to better maintain your fixture. When you are done showering, one easy way to extend the life of your shower head is to simply wipe your hand across the face of the shower head. This will knock off the remaining water droplets, which are the real culprits when it comes to calcium & lime build up. In fact, that calcification can actually break the casing of your shower head if left to build and build without being cleaned. We also recommend unscrewing your shower head & soaking it in a 60/40 vinegar & water solution for a half an hour, once per month. Afterward, simply reattach the shower head, run the shower for a few seconds, and it should be functioning like it did when you bought it. Regular maintenance will extend the life of all your plumbing fixtures a great deal.
7.) A hose that doesn’t get kinked, is a hose that will last
When using your hand-shower, or your pull-out kitchen spray, be mindful of your hose. People will often use their products in such a way that their hose connection at the end is at a 90 degree angle. That puts a lot of pressure on the hose, and continuous use while kinking the end will drastically diminish the life of your hose. Keep it as straight as possible as often as you can, & never try to forcefully pull it to extend the length. Also be cautious of obstructions under your kitchen sink which can cause your hose to get caught, kinked, and torn.
6.) Buy the right products the first time
When it comes to kitchen & bathroom renovations, you truly do get what you pay for. If you buy known name-brand products, such as Hansgrohe, Grohe, Riobel, Kohler, Delta, Moen etc… you will be able to service those products when things go wrong. The biggest problem with knockoff/ non-name-brand products is the lack of available repair parts. When you buy an inferior product, you are hoping a universal part will fix an issue when it arises, and that is not often the case. Not to mention the added expense of having a plumber remove your existing product and install the new one. Parts are usually readily available to fix your problem when you have a known name-brand product, and as such, you can enjoy them for a very long time with regular maintenance.
5.) Invest in a quality water softener
A good water softener will go a long way when it comes to keeping your plumbing fixtures working like new. Calgary’s hard water is really hard on fixtures because calcium and lime buildup can cause much weaker water flow, and lead to bigger problems, like bursting your shower head open if you let the calcium build and build without taking care of it. Often this scale will build up inside a product, where you can’t see it. Besides affecting your flow rate, it can also change the taste of your water as well. With a good, salt-based water softener, you can really limit the buildup of calcium & lime inside your products. It will also save you time and effort cleaning. If you install a softener directly after your main water line into your dwelling it softens all of your water, but will add a salty taste. That can be remedied by also install an under the counter water filtration unit, as well as by choosing to soften only your hot water, by installing the softener after your hot water tank.
4.) Treat moving parts with care
Moving parts break, that is the simple truth. Mostly all moving parts will eventually fail. These parts can last months, years, or decades, and that is under your control. The gentler you are with parts like dual flush toilet buttons, shower valve handles, & faucet handles, the longer they will last. People who treat their fixtures with care and attention can make something last a lifetime, those who are hard on their products are buying parts frequently. For your shower control, if you turn it off & it’s still leaking water out of the tub spout, or shower head, it means you need to replace the cartridge. If you force the valve handle closed to stop the drip, you may end up replacing the handle also.
3.) Fix minor problems before they become major ones
Deal with issues as they arise. Procrastinating can often lead to more extensive problems, and very expensive solutions. Friends of mine recently received a water bill for almost $600 because of ignoring leaking toilets in their house. For under $50 they could have replaced the flappers/flush valve gaskets, and saved themselves several hundred dollars. As with the aforementioned bursting shower heads, if you regularly maintain a shower head, you never have to worry about that, but ignore the problem and you may be replacing the showerhead.
2.) Teach children the right way to use faucets & showers.
Our clients with children in the home are often replacing parts based on negligent use by those children. Kids can be extremely rough on handles, diverters, and handshowers. Those expensive parts will last a lot longer when children using them are shown the proper, gentle way of handling plumbing products.
1.) When in doubt, call a qualified plumber.
Doing it yourself is great when you have the knowledge and proper tools. If you are unsure when it comes to installing or repairing plumbing fixtures, play it safe and have an expert do it. Incorrectly installed products can fail much faster, and cause very expensive damages from leaks. Make sure it’s installed properly, or pay a certified plumber to do it for you.