Your sister, her husband, and their kids will arrive next week. As excited as you feel to host their growing family, you worry about how your plumbing will handle washing more hands, flushing more waste, and draining more bathwater.
Once you've prepared your kitchen for guests using the tips in our last blog, take the following measures to protect your bathroom plumbing as well.
Before Your Guests Arrive
1. Adjust Water Heater
Turn up your water heater slightly before your guests arrive. This improves your heater's ability to give everyone hot, instead of lukewarm, showers. Just make sure to keep the temperature below 51°C (125°F) as water that hot may burn or scald skin.
2. Check for Leaks
Over time the seals on pipes and appliances may wear away. This decreases water pressure and can waste huge amounts of water. Look for any pooling water around the toilet-this may indicate a leak in the wax seal around the base. Also check for puddles or drips from the sink faucet and pipes. You can replace these seals yourself or leave the task to a trained technician.
3. Clean Faucets and Showerheads
Buildup on water fixtures blocks water flow, giving the appearance of decreased water pressure. To make sure your bathroom appliances run as they should, clean each fixture. You can soak the showerhead or faucet end with a solution of warm water and vinegar to dis solve the buildup. Or choose a specialized cleanser for the job.
4. Cover Drains
Hair and soap residue represent two of the biggest culprits for bathroom clogs, especially when the volume increases suddenly. To help keep the debris out of your drains, purchase a strainer or drain cover.
5. Post Reminders
A blockage in your toilet can throw off yours and your guests' plans. To ensure things you shouldn't flush stay out of the bowl, post a small reminder on a cabinet or wall. Keep the following items out of your toilets:
Disposable diapers and wipes (not even flushable ones)
Feminine hygiene products
Medication, paints, solvents, and non-compatible chemicals
Toiletries like cotton balls, Q-tips, and tissues
If you expect small children along with adult visitors, make sure the bathroom door stays closed and parents supervise their kids. This will help prevent accidental flushes of toys, hardware, and the items listed above.
6. Provide Garbage Bins
The best place for most things that you shouldn't flush is in the trash. Make sure you make a garbage bin accessible in each bathroom, especially if you expect women who may use feminine hygiene supplies or children still in diapers.
7. Stock Each Bathroom
Along with garbage bins, stock the following items in each bathroom:
Extra toilet paper, which ensures no one must resort to tissues or wipes
Plunger for any minor clogs
Preferred toilet bowl cleaner, which ensures only approve chemicals interact with your system
Trash bags for when the bin fills up
A little preparation creates an environment where your guests will more likely protect your plumbing instead of harm it.
During Your Guests' Stay
1. Clean Drain Covers after Each Shower
Ask your guests to clean their own hair out of the drain after each bath or shower. This will keep stray strands out of the trap. If someone forgets, clean the hair out before turning the shower back on-you can remove dry hair more easily than wet hair with hair care products on it.
2. Designate Bathrooms
If you have multiple bathrooms, decide who will primarily use each. Designate one bathroom for the adults and one for the kids, or whatever configuration works best for your group. If one bathroom has more sensitive plumbing, leave that one to the adults to minimize the risk of incident. If one bathroom has easier-to-clean drains, designate it as the kids' bathroom while they visit.
3. Schedule Showers
To reduce the strain on your water heater (and the risk of a cold shower), set up a schedule for showers. For short to mid-length showers, leave at least 10 minutes between each one to ensure the heater has time to recover. For longer showers, you may need to leave 20 minutes or more. Set up the shower schedule as soon as you can so each person can adjust their daily routine accordingly. This way, no one misses an appointment or shows up late to an event because they had to wait for the shower.
If you worry about your heater's capacity, have a plumbing professional look it over before your guests arrive. Without regular maintenance, the tank's capacity decreases over time, necessitating longer gaps between each shower.
If you notice water backed up in the tub or shower, changes in toilet performance, or another plumbing problem, call our professional plumbers at EZ Plumbing to assess the problem.
For more tips on protecting your plumbing, check out our other blog articles.