During a typical work week, many families are outside of their homes during the daytime. Adults go to their workplaces and their children go to schools and daycares. The current international Coronavirus pandemic has caused millions of families to work and learn from home. For the next few weeks (or even months) many Americans are choosing, or required, to self-isolate in their homes to slow the spread of Coronavirus.
The sudden and increased utilization of toilets, sinks, and plumbing is more than some homes – especially older houses – can handle. Home plumbing problems abound. Older water heaters and boilers may struggle to keep up with demand. The increased focus on hygiene has resulted in many households using a great deal of water, especially hot water. Laundry is being done more regularly, using hotter water than usual. Surfaces are being cleaned more often. Hands are being washed more frequently and for longer than is typically done. Toilets are being used throughout the day by each member of the household, putting a strain on equipment that has not had to tolerate such a high frequency of use.
During this time, toilets may experience mechanical failure, such as the handle breaking off, the seat coming loose, or the chain coming undone. These are often easy fixes but need to be attended to quickly, as the problem you are experiencing may prevent you from using your toilet. Toilets may also experience clogs resulting in the overuse of toilet paper, or the use of products other than toilet paper to wipe after using the bathroom. With toilet paper being in short supply nation-wide, this is increasingly an issue that many plumbers are seeing in homes. If at all possible, please use only toilet paper and other products specially designed to be flushed down the toilet. A bidet attachment for your toilet will help you stay hygienic while cutting down on your toilet paper use if you are attempting to conserve your supply.
Nothing helps us stay sanitary more than our sinks! Due to our reliance on sinks to ensure we are washing our hands thoroughly before and after using the restroom, before handling food, after blowing our noses, and before we touch our faces, older faucets and knobs may begin to show signs of wear-and-tear during this time. If you notice any leaks from either the faucet when the sink is turned off or from the knobs when the sink is turned on or off, take care of your problem quickly. Waiting to fix it may result in damage to your sink or vanity or a significant leak that prevents you from being able to use that sink at all.
Whenever you utilize hot water, your water heater must turn on to ensure you have a consistent supply. Washing dishes and laundry use hot water, in addition to the water we use for baths, showers, hand washing, and sanitizing surfaces. If your water no longer gets (or stays) as hot, call a plumber to see if it’s time to replace your water heater.
Even if your creative toilet paper-replacement-ideas don’t clog your toilet, there will likely be ramifications downstream. Using paper towels, baby wipes and other items not meant for flushing can cause serious clogs in your home’s plumbing and sewer pipes. If this happens, call a plumber immediately, as you may not be able to use your sinks, toilets, and showers until the clog is resolved. Prevent home plumbing problems by only flushing toilet paper down the toilet.
If you experience any home plumbing problems during this time, contact a trusted plumber in your area and get it taken care of as soon as possible.