Most plumbing is hidden in the walls and serious problems can begin invisibly.
If you hear tiny drips in the wall, take immediate action. If a wall is moist to the touch or dis- colored, there is moisture damage in progress. Get professional help quickly. If a wall in an adjoining room is moist to the touch, there is a growing moisture problem that needs prompt investigation and repair.
Any visible leaks under the sink or around the toilet need to be fixed before they lead to more serious and expensive moisture damage. Signs of water damage in flooring in the bathroom or adjacent rooms are a red flag of a possible water leak. Don’t ignore it.
One of the most important tools for moisture management in the bathroom is the exhaust fan. A nonfunctioning exhaust fan over- loads the bathroom with damp air. Have it repaired right away.
If the exhaust fan doesn’t come on automatically when the bathroom is in use, consider having the wiring changed so that it will.
If the area around the fan isn’t clean and dry, or if dust or any sort of growth has accumulated on the blades or inside the exhaust duct, it may be a warning sign of excess moisture build-up. Clean the fan and area well. Then double- check that the fan is operating properly.
Be certain that the bathroom exhaust fan vents to the outdoors, not into the house or attic. If the exterior vent dampers don’t operate properly or don’t seat well, have them fixed or replaced.
The toilet has critical inlet and outlet functions that need to be sealed and leak free. Make sure there are no water line leaks. Fix even small leaks immediately. Check for signs of staining or water damage on the floor. If present, check the toilet rim seal and tank seal immediately.
If the floor around the toilet seems soft, structural damage may be occur- ring. Call a professional.
Bathroom windows need to perform properly in a wide range of humidity and temperature conditions. If there are any obvious breaks in the weather-stripping or seals, repair them. Malfunctioning locks and closure mechanisms should not be ignored. If there are stains or flaking on the painted surfaces, they need to be resealed with a fresh coat of sealer and paint.
Showers and Bathtubs
Areas that are exposed to this much water need close attention to prevent problems. If the caulking is cracked, stiff, or loose in spots, replace it immediately.
Cracked tiles or missing grout can channel water to vulnerable areas and need prompt repair. If some water remains in the bathtub after draining, it is a warning sign of possible structural weakening in the floor beneath the tub. Call a professional immediately.
Some More Smart Tips
Check the supply lines and drain traps under the sink monthly for any signs of small leaks.
Treat all bathroom drains monthly to prevent the buildup of hair and other potential clogs.
Turn on the exhaust fan while showering to prevent excess moisture build-up.
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