Three Shower-Care and -Maintenance Mistakes That Cause More Harm Than Good

The better you care for something, the longer it tends to last. This is true for showers too. Most homeowners try to care for their showers, but they unknowingly make mistakes that do more harm than good and may either lead to premature shower replacement or a call to the plumber. Here's a look at those mistakes so you can avoid making them.

Using drain cleaners when the drain is completely clogged.

Using a drain cleaner on a sluggish shower drain once in a while is not a terrible practice. But using a drain cleaner on a completely clogged drain is a bad idea. Drain cleaners are extremely powerful. They're designed to eat through clogging materials, after all. When a drain is completely clogged and you pour drain cleaner down it, the cleaner doesn't go anywhere. It sits in the pipe for way too long, leading to pipe damage that may eventually cause leaks.

If your shower drain stops draining completely, try loosening the clog with a plunger. You can also use a home-use pipe snake, sold at a home-improvement store, to try and fish out the clogging material. If this does not work, call your plumber for a drain cleaning, and he or she will use professional equipment to remove the clog safely.

Re-applying caulk to a wet surface.

If your caulk begins to break down and let moisture seep behind it, don't just apply a new layer of caulk on top of it. Doing so will trap moisture that's already seeped behind the caulk, possibly leading to an extensive mold problem. If your caulk needs replacing, peel it off. Let the area dry out for three or four days. (This means you'll have to shower elsewhere during this time.) Only once you're positive the area is dried out should you apply new caulk.

Replacing your shower head improperly.

Replacing your shower head seems like it would be as easy as unscrewing the old one and screwing a new one into place. For the most part, this is true. However, you need to make sure you properly seal the shower head to the pipe that comes into it. If you forget to wrap plumber's tape around the threaded pipe before you screw the shower head on (and a lot of people do), you're going to have leaks.

If you're not sure how to maintain your shower properly, contact your plumber. It's better to hire someone to repair something correctly than to attempt it yourself and end up doing more damage in the process.