Back to School Plumbing Tips

With school starting again, your home’s schedule will soon be in an uproar. In a family of school-aged children and working adults, competition for the bathroom in the morning can be fierce. Shower backups, humidity and mold can all be a problem when the bathrooms see heavy use by multiple people day in and day out. At Terry’s Plumbing, we think it’s a terrible shame when bathrooms lose functionality because of scheduling problems. These back to school tips will help you get the most use out of your bathroom without creating problems for your plumbing or your family.

Stagger Shower Times

Back to back showers put a lot of pressure on your home’s water heater. You can avoid running out of hot water in the mornings by staggering the shower times. Assigning some family members to use the shower at night and others to use the shower in the morning will ensure that everyone in the family can enjoy a warm, comfortable shower.

Clear Your Drains

Using the shower and bathtub several times in succession can lead to drain backups if your drains aren’t properly maintained. There are a variety of ways that you can clear your drains. We recommend staying away from chemical drain cleaner because it can be hard on old pipes. Instead, we recommend using a plumber’s auger. An auger is like a drain snake that’s manually controlled instead of controlled by electricity. Augers are available for sale at home improvement centers.

If your plumber’s auger doesn’t work, call the professionals! Getting your home’s drain professionally snaked will help ensure that it stays clear for a long time.

Always Run the Bathroom Fan

The fan in your bathroom is what prevents the moisture from building up on the walls and windows when the shower and bathtub are in use. Running the fan can keep mold and mildew from forming on the walls. If your bathroom fans don’t work properly, have them repaired before your kids go back to school.

Turn Your Water Heater Down to 120 Degrees

If you have young children who are learning to bathe themselves in the evening after school, check your water heater’s temperature. The maximum recommended temperature for water in a water heater is 120 degrees. Beyond this temperature, the water may scald unsuspecting children in the bathtub.

Drain Your Water Heater

After turning down your water heater, you may notice that there seems to be less hot water to go around. If your water heater is very old and hasn’t been drained in a long time, it could be that your heater was turned up high to accommodate the large buildup of sediment in the bottom of the tank. Sediment in the tank can block the heating elements and keep the water from getting as warm as it should. To fix the problem, drain the sediment from the bottom of the heater. The basic procedure for draining the sediment is as follows:

  1. Turn off the cold water supply to the water heater.
  2. Turn off the power to the water heater.
  3. Open a hot water faucet in your home to prevent a vacuum from forming in the pipes.
  4. Hook up a hose to the spigot at the bottom of the tank.
  5. Run the other end of the hose to a drain.
  6. Open up the spigot and run hot water out of the tank until it runs clear.

For more in-depth instructions, check out our old blog post here.

Contact Terry’s Plumbing

Do you need someone to drain your water heater or clear your drains? Contact Terry’s Plumbing in Pittsburgh today! We’ll be happy to help.