Archive for the ‘Bath Plumbing’ Category
Thursday, May 9th, 2013
Your bathroom may be desperate for an update, but a major remodel is simply not in the budget. What to do? Here are some great tips for taking on a bathroom remodel without breaking the bank.
1. Use the Same Floor Plan
If you’re not desperate to add square footage, keeping the same footprint of the bathroom you already have will save you money in demolition and reconstruction dollars. You’ll eliminate excess dust and debris while you’re at it, not a bad bonus. Making the most of your space means plumbing fixtures are easier to locate near already existing pipes and the basics can all go in the same place, easing the timing and the process. Click here for some inspiration on smaller bathrooms with organization and style.
2. Make a Plan and Stick with It
Before ripping, tearing, or gutting, you need a plan, and a strong one. Evaluate things like:
- How much you want to spend
- Where will all of the fixtures go
- How much storage you will need
If planning isn’t your strength, this is a good place to dish out the dough and hire a designer – a decision which will add style and efficiency to your bathroom remodel project. Get your design nailed down from the beginning and resist the temptation to change your mind, which can stall the project and cost you extra money in the long run.
3. Choose Affordable Design Features and Add Big Impact on Your Own
You may think you need that expensive Italian tile, but maybe all you really want is a touch of the color blue it comes in. Using lower cost, neutral tiles is long-term-friendly and allows you to add zest to the room with non-permanent touches, such as luxury towels, a designer shower curtain, and wall paint, in any color your heart craves. Peak at some ideas for keeping it classy while using neturals in your decorating here.
Getting excited about the possibility of remodeling your bathroom for a price you can afford? Follow us next month for part 2 as we share three more ways to save big on your bathroom remodel.
Need some plumbing assistance as you remodel your bathroom? Contact us at Nowthen Plumbing today! Serving the surrounding areas of Elk River, Anoka, and the south & east suburbs of the Twin Cities.
Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013
If you’re into gadgets, then you’re not alone. From the iphone to the remote control, our society has a thing for automating. We want to streamline life and make the most of technology.
If that sounds like you, then the Washlet S400 might be just what you’ve been waiting for.
The Washlet S400 by TOTO
Bringing technology to the bathroom, the Washlet S400 is an automated toilet system (yes, we mean system) made by TOTO. It is automatic, hands-free, and sensor-driven.
So what can this baby do?
- Its automatic lid opens and closes as you approach and step away
- It contains a front and rear washing system, using gentle aerated warm water
- A warm air dryer (with three temperature options) is built-in to leave you fresh and dry
- The heated seat features temp control so you can stay warm while seated
- Automatic flushing is activated by sensors or the simple touch of a button
- A self-cleaning wand makes cleaning a breeze
TOTO boasts that the Washlet S400 will “introduce you to an unprecedented level of comfort, while delivering maximum cleanliness.” All at your command.
Sound like the gadget you’ve been missing? Check out more on the Washlet S400 and then contact us at Nowthen Plumbing to bring your toilet up to technological speed.
Tuesday, February 12th, 2013
Following up our last article, Toilet Basics Part 1, we want to continue by helping you understand the differences in toilet construction, styles, and installation options. Our five additional points below will give you a better grasp of how toilets are made and what to consider when looking at the different sizes and shapes.
One Piece or Two: Typical toilets have either one- or two-piece construction. What’s the difference? The two-piece models are traditionally what go into homes, a separate bowl and tank bolted together. One-piece models have a single, integrated tank and bowl for a sleek and seamless look, but the cost tends to be higher than the two-piece option.
Shapes and Styles: Toilets generally feature either a smaller, round bowl or larger, elongated (oval-like) bowl. The round bowl is understandably ideal for compact spaces, though the larger, elongated bowls with an extended rim are more comfortable for adult use. Curious about unique shapes and trends in toilets? Check out this toilet styles and trends video from HGTV.
Sizes and Installation: Standard toilet height from bowl rim to floor is about 15 to 17 inches, though manufactures are becoming more and more adept to customizing, such as American Standard’s RightHeight innovation. Juvenile models are even available, like those found in preschools, as well as chair-height models for adults with special needs. Most residential toilets are installed on the floor, but wall-mount styles are available for bathrooms short on floor space.
Colors and Materials: Almost all toilets are constructed of vitreous china, or porcelain, for home and public use. In less common instances, stainless-steel models may be used in industrial and institutional locations. Though pink and avocado green toilets had their day (and their outdated day) white is the most popular contemporary color, followed by light beige, both meant to stand the test of time and decor. With that said, toilets are still manufactured in an array of colors to suit trends and personal taste.
Measurements and Drain Outlets: Rough-in dimensions are important for choosing the correct toilet for your space. Most standard floor-mount toilets have a “rough-in” dimension of 10, 12 or 14 inches. To figure out the rough-in distance your bathroom needs, measure from the wall to the center of the drain (the bolts that attach the fixture to the drain). Drains for toilets are either on the floor, or in the wall. Wall outlets can be either 4 inches off the floor, or the fixture is “hung” on the wall over the outlet. Since these are important installation details, make sure to contact your professional, licensed plumber before purchasing if you’re not sure exactly what you need.
Need more assistance on selecting or installing your toilet? Working on a bathroom remodel? Contact us at Now Then plumbing for expert service you can trust! We happily serve Anoka, Blaine, and Elk River, as well as the North West Metro / Twin Cities MN areas!
Thursday, January 17th, 2013
Whether you’re in the beginning stages of a bathroom remodel or you just need to replace your outdated or inefficient toilet, you may be wandering the aisles of a home store or browsing your computer wondering things like:
- Which toilet is right for my bathroom?
- What does gpf mean?
- Do I need a one or two piece toilet?
- Can I save money on my water bill?
- And what’s the difference between all these toilets anyway?
Never fear! We’re here to give you a two part easy-to-understand series in toilet basics, including types, sizes, and flushing systems, so that you leave with a clearer understanding of what you really want and need in a toilet!
Types of Toilets and How they Work:
- Gravity Fed: The most common type of toilet is the gravity-fed model, which uses, well, gravity. It relies on the weight of the water and the head pressure (how high the water is in the tank) to flush. A gravity fed toilet has free-standing water sitting in the tank.
- Pressure-Assist : The lesser used pressure-assist toilet depends on air pressure within a cylindrical vessel, inside the toilet tank. Air inside the vessel forces a vigorous, rapid flush.
- Dual Flush: A dual flush toilet is a type of gravity fed toilet. Dual-flush toilets give users two flush options: tilt the handle up for liquid waste to save water, or push the handle down for a standard flush. Dual-flush toilets often meet the HET (high efficiency toilet) criteria of averaging 1.28 gallons per flush or less (an average based on one high flush and two low flushes).
Toilet Technology and Water Use: Recent toilet technology has allowed toilets to use less water than ever. That term that keeps popping up in toilet descriptions, gpf, stands for gallons of water per flush, and is a measure to help identify water usage. Toilets manufactured before 1980, not uncommon in many homes that haven’t gone through a bathroom remodel, usually need 5 to 7 gallons of water per flush (gpf), and toilets from the 1980s to 90s typically use 3.5 gpf. In 1992, the U.S. government mandated that toilets use no more than 1.6 gpf, changing modern design and manufacturing.
It’s easy to see why replacing older toilets with the newer models can result in significant water and sewer savings. Replacing a 3.5- or 5-gpf toilet with a 1.6-gpf toilet can save about 9,740 to 17,300 gallons of water per year. Meaning today’s high-efficiency toilets use less water than ever, yet outperform many of the older, water-guzzling ones.
*Next month look for more details on toilet trends, installation, and more!*
Need assistance with your Anoka, Blaine, Elk River, or North West Metro / Twin Cities, MN toilet installation or bathroom remodel? Connect with us at Nowthen Plumbing today!
Thursday, December 13th, 2012
Brrr! It’s cold out there! Nothing compares to a hot shower on a cold day. But how do you maintain consistent water temps in your home? And what’s the best way to save money on your hot water bill?
The answers may be found in a high efficiency water heater. This month we’re here to help you understand high efficiency water heaters and the difference they can make in your home.
Did you know that heating water accounts for approximately 15 percent of a home’s energy use? And since high efficiency water heaters use 10 to 50 percent less energy than standard models, they can save home owners money on their utility bills, depending on family size, heater location, and the size and placement of water pipes.
Different high efficiency water heater technologies include:
• Storage (Tank) Water Heaters – These keep water hot and ready for use at all times in insulated storage tanks, ranging from 20 to 80 gallons. They can be used with electricity, natural gas, oil, and propane. One drawback of these units is that they can create “standby losses” — extra energy that is being used to keep the water hot at all times.
• Demand (Tankless) Water Heaters – These circulate water through a large coil, heating water only on as needed, using gas or electricity. There is no storage tank continuously maintaining hot water. A possible concern with this is the limitation on the number of fixtures that can simultaneously use hot water. There is, however, an endless supply of hot water, and standby losses are eliminated.
• Heat Pump Water Heaters – In this case, heat pumps transfer energy from the surrounding air to water in a storage tank. These water heaters are much more efficient than electric resistance water heaters and most effective in warm climates with long cooling seasons.
• Solar Water Heating – Initially expensive compared to standard models, solar water heaters can be cost effective. That is because the sun’s energy is harnessed to reduce operating costs up to 90 percent. Solar water heating systems do require a conventional water heater as a backup water heating source to ensure hot water is available when solar energy is not.
Deciding which type of water heater is the best fit for your home is something you should research on your own and discuss with your respected plumbing professional. A helpful resource for learning more about energy efficient home products, including hot water heaters is Energy Star at www.energystar.gov, the government-backed symbol for energy efficiency.
And of course, reasons other than energy efficiency may prompt you to consider a new water heater for your home, such as age or effectiveness. A checklist for evaluating your current hot water heater can be found HERE.
When the time is right, we at Nowthen Plumbing would be happy to help you select and install a more efficient hot water heater, making sure those “brr!” moments stay outside, and not in the shower!
Thursday, November 15th, 2012
With the holidays just around the corner, house guests are likely not far behind! Few things can screw up your holidays more than plumbing problems. With that in mind, now is a great time of year to run through your plumbing preventative maintenance list:
- Garbage Disposal: Your kitchen is sure to see plenty of action this holiday season. Gear up by sharpening your garbage disposal blades. Pour a handful of solid ice cubes and one cup of rock salt into the disposal to simultaneously clean and sharpen. A small orange or lemon peel can also be run through for easy and natural deodorization.
- Check Sinks: Fill your sink and drain it. Watch for slow drainage which can indicate a clog or blocked vent pipe or bubbles appearing while the water is draining.
- Toilets: Check to see if your toilets rock when pushed or pull. If so, inspect their bases for loose bolts. Next, make sure each toilet is flushing properly and that the water stops running upon flush completion. Check your tank for any broken, missing or corroded parts in need of repair.
- Showers: Your showers should be inspected at the top and bottom. First check your shower head for water pressure. Low pressure may mean that the shower head has sediment buildup and is in need of cleaning. Also check the shower’s drain to ensure that the tub is emptying normally. If you find yourself left with a couple of inches of standing water, try using a plunger, placed over the drain hole. A few pumps should help to dislodge any minor blockage and open the passage way.
Did any of your plumbing appliances not pass the test? If so, contact us today to remedy any plumbing problems before the first guests hit your door!
Thursday, October 11th, 2012
A plumbing project is only as good as the materials that go into it! With that in mind, we love sharing what makes our list of favorite supplies. First and foremost on that list is the piping material that we prefer – PEX plumbing piping, or cross-linked polyethylene pipe. Why is this at the top of our must-haves? PEX plumbing is superior to the alternatives, including copper and CPVC for several reasons, some of which include:
Low Maintenance: PEX plumbing systems are immune to corrosion and mineral buildup, unlike metal alternatives. PEX is also resistant to freeze damage, because it expands and contracts as water freezes and thaws inside the tubing, avoiding costly ruptures.
Easy To Install: PEX plumbing installations require fewer fittings to install and does not require soldering. In addition, because PEX plumbing is flexible, the tubing can turn 90 degree corners without the need for elbow fittings. PEX doesn’t require glue, which means you don’t have to work in well-ventilated spaces or wear a respirator. Easy installation typically results in lower costs for the homeowner as well!
Efficient and Quiet: Because PEX plumbing does not transfer heat as much as copper, this plumbing material retains more heat in hot-water lines and resists condensation on cold-water lines. As an added bonus, water flows more quietly through PEX tubing than it does through copper, eliminating the characteristic “water hammer” noise of metal pipe systems.
Affordable: PEX is cheaper than copper. Half-inch PEX tubing costs about a third of the price of copper! Plus, because PEX is flexible, it can be shipped and stored on spools, where rigid plastic or metal piping must be cut to some practical length for shipping and storage. This leads to lower shipping and handling costs.
While PEX piping does have a few disadvantages – for example, it cannot be used outside – they are, in our opinion, outweighed by the piping’s many perks!
Thursday, May 10th, 2012
As professional plumbers we put a lot of stock in the plumbing products we use. One of our favorite suppliers to work with is Ferguson. Ferguson is ranked by trade publications as the largest distributor of plumbing supplies and pipe, valves and fittings (PVF). It is also the third largest distributor of heating and cooling equipment (HVAC/R) and the second largest company within the waterworks industry. We like them because their offerings include a wide range of plumbing and lighting products designed for kitchens, bathrooms, and more. Ferguson offers the best brands in the business including Kohler, Elkay, Pfister, Moen, and many more.
Ferguson also has a variety of showroom locations, offering the ultimate experience for customers selecting products for their home. We love to send our clients to the Ferguson Showroom in Golden Valley for project ideas and inspiration. The Golden Valley showroom not only features plumbing fixtures, but also lighting and appliances. The showroom is located at 925 Decatur Avenue North Golden Valley, MN 55427 and the showroom phone number is (763) 591-5700.
There you can check out working displays including fully-functional whirlpools, showers and complete kitchens. If you’d like, you can make a showroom appointment to meet with a customer representative – Ferguson customer representatives are available to answer product questions, help you to maintain project time lines, and guide you to the right product for you. The Ferguson team is highly trained and very helpful when it comes to choosing fixtures or appliances for your home!
Once you find the perfect product for your bathroom or kitchen, contact us for installation or project implementation!
Thursday, April 12th, 2012
This week we would like to take a few minutes to discuss one of our favorite plumbing products – the Champion 4 Toilet by American Standard! Whether you have decided that it is time for a new toilet, or you are just doing a little remodeling and want to replace your current model with an upgraded version, we recommend this model to our clients, families, and friends. Here is why:
It Moves More: The Champion 4 will move a mass 70% larger than the industry standard. In addition, this model has one of the highest bulk removal ratings on the market – 1,000 grams. This toilet can even flush a bucket of golf balls!
It Clogs Less: This toilet offers the industry’s widest 2 3/8″ trap way and 4″ flush valve, all but eliminating clogs.
Quick and Quiet: This toilet is quiet, quick and has a great flush – perfect for late night bathrooms break when you don’t want to wake the whole house! The flush is quick in that it only takes about 2 to 3 seconds and all waste is gone.
Easy To Keep Clean: Spend less time cleaning your bathroom with the Champion 4′s patented EverClean surface. This double-coated surface finish inhibits the growth of stain and odor-causing bacteria, mold, and mildew keeping your toilet cleaner longer – even after years of use. This is the finish we recommend for families with children or toilets placed in high traffic areas. In addition, the toilet’s built-in PowerWash rim scrubs the bowl with each flush, ensuring an even greater degree of cleanliness.
All in all, this is our toilet of choice! Do you need help ordering and installing one? Give us a call, and we will get you set up with your new home convenience!
Wednesday, March 14th, 2012
As you may have noticed, we talk a lot about garbage disposals. It is also one of the things that we get asked about the most – both in the form of inquiries and in requests for repairs. Oftentimes preventing damage to your garbage disposal is as simple as only putting down the drain materials that the garbage disposal can handle. Then the question becomes, “What can and can’t go in my garbage disposal?” Here is a quick (although not exhaustive) list of things that are better off in the trash than down the drain:
- Animal Bones: Animal bones are one of the most common clog-inducing culprits. Unfortunately, the blades of garbage disposals are simply not strong enough to break bones apart.
- Rice and Pasta: These seemingly innocent culprits can be responsible for a great deal of drain damage. Rice and pasta swell when they come in contact with water. As a result, regardless of the amount of water that you run down your drain, small pieces of rice and/or pasta will eventually collect in your garbage disposal trap and swell until the disposal is rendered useless.
- Silverware: We’ve all done it – you are rinsing out a full sink at the end of the night and a knife, fork, or other utensil slips into your drain. If you hear metal scraping when you turn your disposal on, turn it off as quickly as possible to avoid further damage.
- Grease: Grease in its liquid form is harmless for your disposal. Unfortunately, grease does not stay that way. Eventually it will solidify and clog the disposal. Avoid this by avoiding pouring grease down your drain at all.
- Egg Shells: A common misconception that we hear is that putting egg shells in your drain will serve to sharpen disposal blades. Not only is this not true, egg shells are actually key culprits of clogged drainage lines.
In general, when it comes to your garbage disposal, less is truly more. When possible, dispose of garbage in the trash can instead of down the drain. When using the garbage disposal, only put in small amounts of waste at a time and be sure to run plenty of water. If you do end up needing help with a garbage disposal clog, call us at Nowthen Plumbing for a quick repair!