Sep 272013
 


People are sometimes hesitant to start a bathroom renovation project due to the costs, but the truth is that the benefits you get make it worth every dollar. Below are the main reasons why you should push through with a bathroom remodel.

Bathroom remodel

Adds Value to Your Home

If you’re tired of the outdated look of your bathroom, then it’s about time that you upgrade it. Not only will it make your bathroom look nicer, it will also increase the value of your home. Experts say that a bathroom improvement could give you up to 80% return on the cost of your remodel project. So even though you will need to shell out at least a few thousand dollars for this project, in the end, it’s still a win-win situation for you.

 

Water Savings

Bathrooms take up the largest percentage of water usage in every home. Even the tiniest leaks in your showerhead, faucet, or toilet can jack up your water bill. Then, when you compute your annual water bill, you could be spending many hundreds of dollars or more because of unnecessary water wastage. 

Aside from getting rid of leaky faucets and toilets, using modern bathroom plumbing fixtures can also effectively lower your water usage by as much as 70%. There are low flow showerheads, faucets and toilets that could save you anywhere from $50 to $150 annually. When you consider the long term savings, some simple changes can be a great benefit.

Energy Savings

Not only does remodeling a bathroom help you save on your water bill, it helps you lower your electricity bills as well. Replacing your CFL lighting with LED lighting can not only improve the ambiance of your bathroom but it can also make it energy efficient. 

The initial cost of LED lighting is higher than CFL but because it uses only a tenth of the electricity used by the latter, you get bigger savings in the long run. Aside from replacing your lighting fixtures, you can also invest in a “green” water heater. The benefits you can get from these fixtures alone should be enough to convince you to get started with your bathroom renovation.

Adds Space

Don’t you hate it when you use your bathroom and you find it hard to move around or can’t find any empty counter space? Well, if you decide to remodel bathroom you will be able to make it more spacious because there are storage designs that will make it appear bigger. The use of space-saving storage solutions will help you get rid of unnecessary clutter so your bathroom will appear neat and organized.

Improves Mobility

One of the issues some people have with their bathrooms is that it’s just not suitable for them. It could be that the bathrooms are being used by elderly individuals or small kids. In both cases, preventing slips and falls in the bathroom is important.

A bathroom renovation can help solve the problem. There are walk-in showers and tubs as well as grab bars that will make it easier for seniors to use their bathroom, and there are also lower sinks specifically made for small kids. There are even handicap sinks and tubs should your bathroom be used by someone with a disability.

Add New Bath Technologies

By upgrading your bathroom, you can also opt to add some pretty cool features to give you a more relaxing experience. You can have music in the shower, or mount an LCD TV on the wall so you can watch your favorite shows while soaking in a warm bath.  

If you have the budget (and space) for it, you can even replace your outdated tub with a Jacuzzi. You can also have your toilet replaced with a more modern and “green” low flow toilet which effectively conserves water.

Summary

Remodeling your bathroom provides many advantages, such as adding value to your home, helping you conserve water and energy, adding space, improving mobility, and equipping it with modern features. But most of all, it will make visits to the bathroom more enjoyable for you.

 

Jan 212011
 

A portable pet tub is the opposite of a built in pet shower or standard tub. You take it out when you need it and store it when you don’t. So the main benefit of the portable tub is that it saves you space.

Portability also means you can take it with you when you take your dog traveling. This is very convenient when the family is on vacation or even after a day at the beach when your dog is full of sand.

One type of portable dog bath has a collapsible frame that you lift up when you want to use it.

A different version is inflatable. You simply inflate the tub when you’re ready to use it. Both are lightweight and made of a soft material such as polyester.

One issue is that when using these tubs, they sit on the ground or floor. That means you will probably have to kneel down to wash your dog. That can be a pain for people with bad backs. You may want to consider a small stool or shower seat to sit on when giving you dog a bath.

Secondly, if your dog splashes, the water can easily spill over the side. That’s not a problem if you’re outside, but if you’re inside, you may end up with water all over your floor.

A different type of portable pet tub is the kind with legs. Basically, this is a small bathtub, with its own drainage hole, to which a hose can be attached to let the water out. Add a flexible shower head to a faucet and you’re ready to go.

These tubs are usually made of strong but lightweight polyethylene so it’s portable but your dog won’t break it. Some assembly is required to attach the legs. And you may want to get a ramp so larger dogs can more easily get into and out of the tub.

The big plus for this type portable tub is that with the legs attached it’s off the ground so you don’t have to bend over or kneel to wash your dog. Models typically also come with cushioned mats for the dog to stand on in the tub as well as restraints for holding the dog in place. Some models come with places to hold your dog shampoo and brushes.

On the other hand, the portable dog baths with legs don’t fold down so they will take up more storage space than the inflatable kind.

Whichever you choose, you will always be able to provide your dog with a bath to keep him or her clean – even when you travel.

Jan 212011
 

It’s bath time for your dog. You can take your dog to the groomer, where they have large metal tubs for washing the pet. But if you want to do it yourself, you have at least three different choices for cleaning your pooch. There’s the built-in pet bath, the portable pet tub, and the regular bathtub. In this article we’ll look at the built in and standard tubs. Read Using a Portable Tub for your Pet Bath for details about the other type of dog bath.

Built-in Pet Bath

A built-in pet bath, also called a pet shower, is a permanent fixture that has been specially constructed for the area where it is located. If you have the space and money, this pet shower option is actually the more preferred one, since it has numerous practical benefits that make it stand out from the rest.

Although it can cost the most, custom pet showers can be built with tiled walls and floors and a short lip for the entrance so your dog can easily step in and out. By choosing different types of tile, this pet shower can be a visually appealing addition to your home.

The height of the built in pet shower can also be predetermined, meaning you don’t have to build all the walls to the ceiling. You can make the side walls short enough so that you only have to do minimal bending when it’s time to bathe your pets. This planned shower height contributes to the comfort of your knees and back when it’s time to bathe your dog.

With a permanent built-in pet bath you won’t have to think about where you will be giving your dog its bath on a regular basis. You’ll be assured that on any given day, at any given time, you can have a pet tub that will always be there to help make your pets look hygienic and clean. What’s more, your pet will start thinking of the pet shower as its own space, meaning he or she will be less fearful of taking a bath.

Because they can be expensive to build, some people also use these as part of a mud room. If located near the rear of the house, the built-in shower can then also be used to wash off muddy boots and gardening tools. If you already have a mud room with a small shower area, a low cost solution would be to simply attach a flexible showerhead hose to the faucet to wash your dog.

Standard Tub

If however, you choose a regular bathtub for bathing your dog, you have to think about numerous considerations before you do so. You want the height of the tub to be comfortable so washing your dog is not a back breaking job. If you are short, or the side of the bathtub is high, you may want to get a small stool you can kneel on. You’ll be surprised at the strain this can take off your back from bending low into the tub.

Is the edge of the bathtub smooth or are there tracks for sliding shower doors? The tracks can make bending over the edge of the tub very uncomfortable. If this is the case, you may want to put a towel over the edge of the tub.

Traditional shower heads tend to be very rigid when it comes to the angle and the height that the water comes from. If you do not have a flexible shower head, you might have a hard time ensuring that you are hitting the right spots with water as you bathe your pet.

And make sure you can easily grab the sliding door or shower curtain for when your dog shakes himself off. This will help prevent you and the bathroom floor from getting wet.

 

Other items to use in a pet tub

Some people swear by tub restraints that hold your dog in place. This can be good for a frisky dog that might try to jump out of the tub right in the middle of his or her bath!

To prevent your dog from slipping around, you may want to use some kind of non-slip mat at the bottom of any tub you use.

Some people put a shower chair or shower seat in their tub. Your animal, especially if it’s large, can rest his or her front paws on the chair to let you reach under him or her. For a smaller dog you can put him or her on the chair so you don’t have to reach all the way down in the tub.

Finally, be sure any pet tub you use has a good drainage system – you’ll probably have a lot of pet hair floating around after you clean your dog off. Tub drain strainers are available to catch all that hair.

Summary

A standard tub and built in tub offer you a low and high end choice when it comes to bathing your pet.

Nov 042009
 

Whether you spell it showerhead or shower head, installing a new one can do more for you than just fixing that slow running, or even leaky shower head you have been using for the last few years.

How many times have you tried to remove the buildup that grows around the exit of the shower head, only to have the same grime come back just a few days later? Once your shower heads have gotten to this point, replacing them can save you the time and frustration of removing those calcium and hard water deposits over and over again.

Or maybe you are remodeling or upgrading your bathroom and have gotten around to thinking about the kind of shower you want.

In either case, when considering a new shower head, you should ask four key questions:

  1. Do I want a regular or low-flow showerhead
  2. Do I want fixed or hand held?
  3. Do I want single or multiple showerheads?
  4. Where do I want to mount the showerhead or heads?

Regular or Low Flow Showerheads?

Showers use water. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates a five-minute shower can use up to 25 gallons of water. That’s 5 gallons of water a minute. And some older shower heads put out 6 to 8 gallons of water a minute, meaning a five-minute shower could use up to 40 gallons of water a minute.

Water costs money. Most studies report that about 20% of your home water bill is spent on shower water. A low flow shower head is the way to save money on home water use. Water saving shower heads also help the environment by conserving a precious resource.

A low-flow showerhead typically uses 2.5 gallons per minute or less, meaning a five-minute shower will use about 12.5 gallons of water. That means using a low flow showerhead can reduce your shower water usage by 50%. Savings in water means additional savings in the gas or electricity you need for your hot water heater.

Additionally, some building codes now require you install low-flow showerheads.

In the early days, low flow showerheads got a bad rap because all they did was block some of the water flow. It was hard to get clean in a trickle of water. But engineering and manufacturing changes have led to newer heads that provide the water and pressure you need to take a decent shower.

Aerating and Non-aerating Low-flow Shower Heads

An aerating low flow shower head works by mixing air into the water. This allows the water stream to have a steady pressure that gives the user a full, even spray.

A non-aerating shower head does not mix air into the water. This means the water stream is harder, giving a more pulsating or massaging-type spray. Because the air doesn’t cool the water, the water coming out of the head may be a little hotter than with the aerating type.

Most people prefer the aerating low flow shower heads because of the softer, even water flow they provide.

Scalding Danger

There is one danger with low flow shower heads – scalding. This can occur if, for example, if while you’re in the shower, someone flushes the toilet. While cold water is filling the toilet tank, the water pressure in the cold water pipes drop. Less cold water reaches the shower and suddenly the shower starts running mostly hot water.

This problem can be avoided with an anti-scald valve that senses water pressure differences, then balances the water flow. A more expensive option is a thermostatic mixer, which is a valve that adjusts for both water pressure and water temperature.

For more information about valves, read Shower Valve Choices
.

Typical low-flow showerheads can range in cost from US$8 to over US$50. The difference is in quality of construction, finish, and options. Options can include styling, the number of jets, and adjustment choices. Models that are hand held will also cost a bit more.

Fixed or Handheld Showerhead?

The fixed shower head is the type that attaches directly to the water pipe that comes out of the shower wall. Some fixed shower heads sit on a neck that lets you make some small adjustments to the position of the head. The water coming out of the head is typically adjusted with separate hot and cold water taps or you can install a special valve that lets you move a lever to adjust the hot and cold water.

Fixed shower heads are available that let you adjust the type of spray. These can include a regular, massage, or pulsating spray.

The hand held shower head is simply a shower head attached to a flexible hose. The hose sits in a connection that is attached to the pipe in the wall. Using the flexible hose you can direct the water to different parts of your body as needed. The head part of the unit can also be bought with adjustments for different types of spray.

The handheld showerhead is preferred if you use a shower seat or shower chair in your shower because it lets you direct the water where you want it while remaining seated.

Installing either a fixed or hand held shower is usually a do-it-yourself job that can be done quickly.

Single or multiple showerheads?

Your typical shower has a single shower head that screws into the water pipe. The single head can be a standard head with the usual water pressure. But other options are available.

For example, the rain showerhead is very popular now. With this type shower head, the water pours down on you as if you were standing in the rain. They even make these with built-in LED lights that change colors.

There are also shower heads that deliver a fine mist in which to shower. Of course, there are also the adjustable heads that let you choose different types of water flow such as massage or pulsating.

What makes the difference is varying the number of nozzles in the shower head and their size. Changing these two things varies the pressure and the amount of water that gets through. This creates water effects such as a rainfall or a high pressure massage-type shower.

But if you are remodeling or upgrading your shower, you may want to consider multiple shower heads. This can be done by having two or more water lines installed or by having two heads come off of one pipe. With two separate pipes you can locate the shower heads on two different walls or overhead. Each head can be stationary or each can be hand held.

Multiple shower heads can provide a whole new showering experience. What’s more, each shower head could be different such as a rain head on one and a massage head on the other.

If you’re a parent, one advantage of multiple shower heads is that you can wash two kids at once, saving time and getting them both clean. Two adults can also take advantage of dual shower heads, especially if each likes a different water temperature. And, of course, there are the romantic possibilities.

Where to Mount the Showerheads?

Most shower heads come out of the water pipe located along one shower wall. But other options for mounting shower heads are available. For example, we’ve already mentioned having a shower head above you. Combine this with a rain type shower head and you can feel like you’re taking a shower in the great outdoors.

Another option is to mount the shower head in a vertical track so it can slide up and down. Since the height of the head can be adjusted, the shower can be enjoyed by people of different heights.

You can also mount the tracks on opposite walls. This creates a criss-cross water stream. Just turn yourself around and enjoy your 360 degree shower.

Summary

The next time you’re in the shower, think about the kind of experience you’d like to have in it. Then decide the type of shower head you want, how many you want, and where to place it within the shower. Making these choices will make your future showers much more enjoyable.

Nov 042009
 

Showers use water. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates a five-minute shower can use up to 25 gallons of water. That’s 5 gallons of water a minute. And some older shower heads put out 6 to 8 gallons of water a minute, meaning a five-minute shower could use up to 40 gallons of water a minute.

Water costs money. Most studies report that about 20% of your home water bill is spent on shower water. A low flow shower head is the way to save money on home water use. Water saving shower heads also help the environment by conserving a precious resource.

A low-flow showerhead typically uses 2.5 gallons per minute or less, meaning a five-minute shower will use about 12.5 gallons of water. That means using a low flow showerhead can reduce your shower water usage by 50%. Savings in water means additional savings in the gas or electricity you need for your hot water heater.

In the early days, low flow shower heads got a bad rap because all they did was block some of the water flow. It was hard to get clean in a trickle of water. But engineering and manufacturing changes have led to newer heads that provide the water and pressure you need to take a decent shower.

Aerating and Non-aerating Shower Heads

An aerating low flow shower head works by mixing air into the water. This allows the water stream to have a steady pressure that gives the user a full, even spray.

A non-aerating shower head does not mix air into the water. This means the water stream is harder, giving a more pulsating or massaging-type spray. Because the air doesn’t cool the water, the water coming out of the head may be a little hotter than with the aerating type.

Most people prefer the aerating low flow shower heads because of the softer, even water flow they provide.

Scalding Danger

There is one danger with low flow shower heads – scalding. This can occur if, for example, while you’re in the shower, someone flushes the toilet. While cold water is filling the toilet tank, the water pressure in the cold water pipes drop. Less cold water reaches the shower and suddenly the shower starts running mostly hot water.

This problem can be avoided with an anti-scald valve that senses water pressure differences, then balances the water flow. A more expensive option is a thermostatic mixer, which is a valve that adjusts for both water pressure and water temperature.

Shut-off valve

For additional water and utility bill savings, you should consider a shut-off valve or on-off button. With this device, you simply push a button or turn a lever to turn off the water from the shower head. When you’re finished soaping up, simply turn the water back on. The water comes returns and you don’t even have to readjust the water temperature.

Cost

Typical low-flow showerheads can range in cost from US$8 to over US$50. The difference is in quality of construction, finish, and options. Options can include styling, the number of jets, and adjustment choices. Models that are hand held will also cost a bit more.