How often during the week do you start your day by showering? It’s the go-to cool down when stuck in the muggy Minnesota heat, or like 65% of Americans, could be the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning. Either way, showering is an essential part of living, and of the home. When is the last time you replaced your shower head? If you can’t remember that, try and think… When was the last time you cleaned it?
The shower head is one of the most underappreciated and overworked fixtures in the home! Most people don’t realize it, but your shower head can build up all kinds of nasty bacteria and leave you less clean than when you started. It is important to understand that where water lives, mold can grow. A typical shower head can experience build up due to hard water, sediments, and mold. So, how do you know when the right time to change your shower head is?
The answer depends on a few different factors. Some shower heads last longer than others, for instance plastic shower heads will typically have shorter lifespans than a metal one, because metal is less likely to stimulate mold growth. The longevity of your shower head also depends on how hard the water in your home is, and if you have a water softener. Over time, no matter what shower head you decide on, you will likely notice a hard white calcium build up which will prevent water from passing through. This build up is due to the minerals and sediment in the city water and can be cleared out up to a point.
A change in water pressure, leaks, funky smells or sediment build up are all signs that it’s time for a new fixture. Luckily for you, there are literally thousands of options out there. Shower heads come in many different shapes, sizes, and are broken down into specific categories based on what you’re looking to achieve with your showering experience. You can get ones that replicate the experience of being in the rain, or one that comes with a handheld to avoid moving around in a cramped shower space. There are other options such as a sliding bar for adjustable heights, ceiling over head installs, or multiple heads for additional coverage. The options are essentially endless.
A new shower head is a simple decision in the long run, but can be agonizing in the moment. The fancier you’re aiming, the more expensive they get. It’s a good idea to try and match the other fixtures in your bathroom, because you don’t want a glaring difference every time you enter one of the most trafficked areas of your home. Once you know what kind of fixture you want, if you have any questions or need help with an install, you know you can rely on Tony’s Plumbing to take care of any of your plumbing needs.
Nobody wants to wake up in the morning, trudge to the shower only to stand in six inches of soap scummy water and claim to have cleaned up for the day. The drain in your bathtub or shower can slowly plug over time, or can feel like a weekly occurrence. What is important to know though, is that cleaning and maintaining your shower drain is often an easy fix, and saves you the plumbers bill. While there are occasionally clogs that won’t drain with even the most dedicated individual, it’s good to know when to reach for the toolbelt and when to reach for the phone.
The first important thing to grasp before you start planning your attack is to consider what the drain pipes from your shower or tub look like. A typical set up would include L-shaped drain pipes, and a P-trap. A P-trap is required in all sinks, toilets and drains, and serves to keep toxic sewer gas from leaking into your home.
Most often, clogs in bathtubs are clumps of hair, debris and soap hardened and caught inside the piping. We recommend ignoring the flashy chemical cleaners that boast immediate results, and sticking for the tried and true method of a plumbers’ snake. A true plumbers’ drain auger is an expensive piece of equipment, but there are plenty of user friendly inexpensive options on the market that will clear out any hair or debris that have settled in the piping below.
There are a variety of drain plugs, stoppers, strainers and overflow plates out there, so it is hard to say exactly which parts of your bathtub may need to be removed in order to gain complete access to a clog. In some tubs, you can simply open the drain, push the snake through the base drain in the tub, twist, remove and repeat. However, in other bathtubs you may need to remove the overflow plate, remove the stopper, and then use your snake to pull through any caught debris. Make sure you do some research before you start taking things apart, and if you decide to remove your overflow plate cover, pay mind to the screws and small hardware so that it doesn’t go down the drain and contribute to your clogged bathtub.
Prevention is key! The best way to deal with clogs is to try and handle them before they happen. Just like the many options for plumbers’ snakes on the market, there are multiple options for drain covers that will help catch any hair or debris potentially threatening the drain quality of your shower. Some sit over the top, and some sit inside the drain. The type of drain cover you choose will depend on the type of drain plug inside your bathtub.
If you know how to remove the strainer, the stopper or the overflow drain to gain access to the clog, you save yourself the money of hiring someone to come out and fix the problem for you. If you are facing a clogged bathtub beyond your abilities and need the eyes of the best plumbers in the Twin Cities, give us a call.
At Tony's Plumbing & Heating, we offer outstanding residential and commercial plumbing and heating services in the East Twin Cities metro. With our blog, we hope to bring you useful tips and tricks for ever day life!