Archive for October, 2010
Bathrooms are becoming much more than just places to take care of business in 2010. They are the center of family time when the kids need a bath, the perfect place to relax with a hot shower after a long day of work, and in some cases even a nice, quiet place to read without chance of disruption. Though if you ask us we’d say the number one new trend in bathroom remodeling should be excellent updated plumbing work, the real trends lean slightly less toward the utilitarian side and are more focused on comfort and aesthetics.
Here are a few of the more interesting trends we’ve seen:
No, it’s not the amazing plumbing trend we hoped for, but we can definitely get on board with this one anyway. Imagine getting up in the middle of a frigid winter night, walking to the bathroom, and having your feet warmed by a radiant floor rather than frozen off by cold tiles. The upfront cost is pretty substantial, so heated floors are certainly still considered a luxury, but the heating bills may not be as high as you think since the floors retain their heat very well even when not actively radiating.
Remember that Feng Shui fad back in the day? Well, even if you weren’t into it then some elements of the Chinese system still remain useful today. Many people are now using multiple mirrors strategically placed throughout their bathrooms to make them appear larger and more open than they already are. This illusion of space won’t actually help us when we’re lying on the floor, trying to twist and turn our way to get at the piping under your sink, but we appreciate the idea behind this trend.
We’re a big fan of green plumbing products and practices. We’ve written several entries about low-flow toilets/showerheads, hands-free/no-touch sinks, and other green products and we’re very happy to see the green trend making its way into the bathrooms of 2010. Saving money, saving water, saving the environment—what’s not to like?
Check back with us soon to see a preview of what 2011 will bring to the bathroom world!
When it comes to home plumbing maintenance, in general we’re all for the Do-It-Yourself approach. There will always be plenty of plumbing problems in the world for us to fix, and though we pride ourselves on our affordable prices, we understand that if there’s a way for you to save a buck by doing a simple repair yourself you’re going to go for it. Most of the time this is totally fine and we’re happy to provide you with some basic tips about drain cleaning, blab la, etc. But sometimes, as we’re sure everyone probably knows, DIY can be an absolute recipe for disaster.
So how do you know when to give the repairs a shot yourself and when to call a plumber? There are a few things that will almost always require professional help.
Although most minor leaks can be attempted on your own first, if a leak keeps recurring in the same place it’s probably time to call in professional reinforcements, there may be a bigger problem that you simply can’t see because you don’t know where to look. Furthermore, any plumbing issue that involves city gas or water pipes must be done by a licensed professional. Messing around down there without knowing exactly what you’re doing can end up causing a lot of problems that will be a lot bigger than the one you started out with.
Septic System Problems
It’s no secret what the home septic system is for, so it also pretty much goes without saying that no one really wants to fiddle with it if it’s not entirely necessary. Luckily for you septic tank problems should almost always be left to a professional, so there’s no feeling guilty about not attempting DIY methods first. Like everything else septic tanks need regular maintenance too, just how regular that maintenance is depends on several different factors, but it’s safe to say that having a plumber pump out your septic tank now can definitely help prevent a much bigger and more expensive problem later.
Clogged drains are pretty similar to leaky faucets. Most of the time you can take care of the problem yourself, but repeated leaks or particularly stubborn clogs are nothing to balk at. Low water flow problems can sometimes just be a simple matter of adjusting your home’s water pressure, but if the water pressure is fine and your faucet is still running at a trickle it’s time to call a plumber. Of course many minor clogs can be fixed yourself, but if the problem isn’t readily apparent it’s usually a bad idea to try and go poking around and figuring it out with the guidance of a licensed plumber standing by.
While selecting and installing the right bathtub for your home may seem like a pretty standard procedure, there are actually a lot more things to think about when making your decision than you may have realized. Bathtubs are tricky to install and generally aren’t replaced for many, many years, so making a smart decision the first time is pretty important.
As with any remodeling project, it’s essential that you consider your needs in the present as well as what you think your needs will be five years from now. If you have children or are planning to in the near future, installing a bathtub that is kid friendly is obviously important. If you don’t have children and aren’t planning to anytime soon, it may be tempting to choose a fancier two person whirlpool or jet bathtub that isn’t very family friendly. But unless you’re planning on staying in your home permanently and have no intention of moving, having a bathtub that is not family friendly could turn out to be a very unwise decision when it comes time to put your house on the market. Generally it’s just a good idea to keep the fancier whirlpool bathtubs in the master bathroom (if you have one) and make the main bathroom more multi-functional.
Another aspect to consider is the type of bathtub material. Each material has its advantages and disadvantages; it mostly comes down to how much wear and tear you expect, how willing you are to manage the upkeep, and your personal aesthetic preference. Cast iron looks great and is very durable if properly maintained, but is also very cold to the touch and extremely heavy. Enameled steel is also pretty durable and easier to take care of, but it has the tendency to chip and can often make bath-time rather noisy. In general, acrylic is a pretty standard choice. It’s warmer to the touch than the others and is very kid friendly. What material works best for you and your needs, however, is entirely up to you and the professionals you hire to help you install it will most likely have some more tips for you as well.
A good, comfortable bathroom can greatly improve the overall appeal of a house, and having the right bathtub is a big part of it. If you’re still unsure of which type of bathtub is right for you, take a trip to your local showroom store (we suggest Ferguson Showrooms) and explore all of your options. Ultimately the bathtub that you feel most comfortable with and that fully suits your needs is the bathtub that’s going to make your house a warm, cozy home.
“No touch” or “hands free” faucets have been around for years. They can mostly be found in public bathrooms, where motion sensor technology allows people to wash their hands without risking contamination from having to touch dirty faucet handles. The faucets works by motion activated infrared beams that reflect off an object when it’s within a certain area and activate water flow. When the object is no longer in that area, the beams do not reflect and the water automatically shuts off. Though this technology has certainly helped hygiene and reduced the spread of germs in public bathrooms, the infrared motion sensor faucets have typically been too expensive or not practical enough to make it into the mainstream home market, despite a great desire among many people for improved kitchen faucet technology.
In an effort to capitalize on this growing demand, Delta has come out with its new “Touch 2 o” technology. Instead of a waving your hand in front of a motion sensor with an infrared “no touch” faucet, the Touch 2 o allows you to simply tap anywhere on the faucet’s body or handle to turn the water on or off. The general idea is that this will reduce contamination from fingers covered in raw meat, etc. while cooking, keep faucet handles cleaner, and allow you more control over your water flow than a normal no touch system.
There are many benefits to the Touch 2 o; the design gives you the option of controlling the water flow by tapping, or you can control it manually with the separate handle as you would with a regular faucet. The tap system is also designed to reduce water waste. Because turning the water on and off is much easier and quicker with the Touch 2 o, users are much more likely to conserve water when washing dishes, rinsing food, cleaning hands, and so on.
While the benefits are certainly exciting, the Touch 2 o is not without its drawbacks. Because the technology is still so new, many users have reported problems with the sensors in the faucet working incorrectly or not at all. Adjusting the water temperature is also a bit of a problem. The faucet is designed to stay at the same water temperature that was used during the previous wash, which means that if it used to be cold and now you need hot right away, you’re going to have to adjust it using the separate handle anyway, virtually negating the benefits of the tapping system.
Despite its flaws, however, it’s nice to see innovative technology emerging in the field of home plumbing. The Touch 2 o is only going to get better as time goes on and Delta works out the kinks, and we’re excited to see what new faucet technology evolution comes next.
To learn more about this product visit the Delta Touch 2 o Faucets website.