You probably don’t give much thought to faucet maintenance until you have a problem. However, keeping your kitchen and bathroom faucets in good working order can save you time, trouble and money in the long run. And if you’ve recently installed a new faucet in your home, maintaining it from the start will provide you years of reliable service. Here are a few tips for keeping your faucets in good shape.
1. Daily Maintenance
Most faucets need little care and maintenance on a day-to-day basis. Cleaning your faucet with a damp cloth and a mild cleanser, followed by drying with a soft cloth is normally all you need. In many cases, window cleaner can be used on faucets as well.
Always keep in mind your faucet’s finish when using cleansers. Be sure to read labels and directions on cleaning products to ensure they won’t damage delicate surfaces. Certain matte finishes require extra care, for example. Some manufacturers even recommend using furniture polish on faucets to keep finishes uniform and to maintain that showroom look.
2. Clean and Remove Deposits
If you live in an area with hard water, you have additional cleaning challenges. The high mineral content of hard water often leaves lime deposits on your faucets and fixtures. They can be stubborn and difficult to remove. Window cleaner or a mild abrasive scrub will often do the trick. You can also try using vinegar. It works well and is a more environmentally-friendly option. However, once again, be mindful of your faucet’s finish when choosing a cleanser. If you have particularly tough deposits, you may need a specialized cleanser or lime dissolver.
3. Clean or Replace the Aerator
Aerators are also an important feature in faucet maintenance. An aerator mixes water and air to ensure a smooth flow from the faucet. It consists of a housing, screen insert and rubber washer. We often ignore aerators, but they are subject to the same mineral and debris build up as the outer housing of a faucet. Experts recommend you periodically clean your aerator about once a year.
Cleaning your aerator is relatively simple. All you need to do is remove the aerator from your faucet, keeping the parts in the order in which they were removed. Then flush the parts with water and clean the screen with a toothbrush. For hard water deposits, soak the components in vinegar. Once you’re done, simply reinstall. If you’d rather avoid the trouble of cleaning the aerator, you can simply purchase a new one. They are inexpensive and are available at any hardware store.
4. Perform Other Minor Maintenance
Other than regular cleaning and aerator maintenance, your faucet should be relatively trouble free. However, there are some other minor items you may wish to keep in mind. Small components like springs and seats are subject to normal wear and tear and may need replacement throughout your faucet’s life. Manufacturers and hardware stores offer simple faucet repair kits for your particular faucet model.
5. Understand Warranties
When it comes to faucet care and maintenance, most homeowners focus on the appearance and mechanical aspects of their fixtures. While that is important, you shouldn’t neglect the warranties associated with your fixtures. Most faucets come with limited or even lifetime warranties for certain items. Understanding warranty coverage can help save you money. Many homeowners unknowingly end up buying replacement parts that are still covered under the manufacturer’s warranty. The same goes for defective finishes and other issues. If you plan on purchasing a new faucet, be sure to take a good look at its warranty as well. You will save yourself plenty of headaches down the road if you experience any trouble.