30 Oct. 2017

The Horizontal Shower

The newest concept out of the German design firm Dornbracht has taken showering to a horizontal level. Their innovative, and arguably much sought after, Horizontal ShowerATT design, seamlessly combines two of the most relaxing combinations ever: hot showers and lying down.


The Horizontal ShowerATT provides, for the first time, a reclining shower experience. The application includes six WaterBars that are recessed in a wide-area shower field located above a reclining space. The shower uses a central eTool control, built into the head area of the recliner, to act as a main control element; making it convenient to operate while lying down. Three pre-programmed choreographies offer Balancing, Energizing or De-Stressing effects by controlling the water’s temperature, intensity and quantity. Occupants can recline on their back, side or front to enjoy the flows.

“With Horizontal Shower, we are transporting the showering experience into a new dimension,” CEO Andreas Dornbracht said in a release. “The result is total relaxation, the kind only experienced by someone reclining. Tension in the head and muscles melts away, everyday stress is washed away with the water; body and mind are revitalized.”

The cost? Only $35,000 to build, but when considering you shower on an almost daily basis, some may consider it well worth it.


Source: Dornbracht








15 Nov. 2016

How to Avoid a Frozen Septic System

FrozenSepticMany homeowners across Northeast Ohio utilize a septic tank rather than a conventional city sewer system to dispose of their grey and black water waste. While it may seem like the two are similar from inside the home, in reality, the maintenance and disposal processes are very different. Especially during the winter season. Homes with septic tanks not only have to worry about in-home pipe freezing, a frozen septic tank can leave a costly mess that begins in the yard and backs up into the home.


Avoiding this begins by understanding the reasons of why septic systems freeze:

Very little snow cover – Snow actually serves as insulation over a septic tank. When there is little snow, deep freezes and frosts can go deeper into the ground, potentially freezing your septic system.

Compacted landscape – The area above your septic tank should be kept clear of use. When driveways or paths occur over a septic tank, cars, animals, ATVs, tractors, even foot traffic can compact the area above the septic tank, allowing a deep freeze to move deeper into the soil.

Lack of plant cover – If your septic system is new, or was replaced in the late summer or early fall seasons, adequate vegetation may not have covered up the land before the cold and snow set in. Vegetation helps attract snow to the area, providing more insulation above ground.

Irregular use – Was your septic system designed for a large family, and now you’re down to one or two? Do you spend months away from your home, enjoying a lifestyle in a warmer climate during the cold winter months? If a system isn’t used as it was intended, it can begin to stress and allow freezing temperatures to infiltrate the system.

Leaking plumbing – You know that small trickle of water you can hear even when your toilet hasn’t been flushed? Those tiny leaks in your pipes can cause a thin film of water into the system. These trickles are more susceptible to freezing, and can build up quickly over time, allowing your system to freeze completely.

Cold air entering the system – When was the last time your septic system was looked at and inspected? If risers are uncapped, inspection pipes or manhole covers not reinstalled correctly, they can allow cold air to enter the system. Freezing isn’t far behind.


While some septic systems never have problems, the only way to avoid them in the future is to be proactive every year. Now is the time to complete the following tasks, before the cold weather truly arrives and the ground begins to freeze:

  • Mulch is a good insulator. If you’ve changed your landscaping or added a new septic system late in the year, a solid cover of mulch will help provide insulation in the coming months.
  • Let the grass grow longer in the fall to act as an insulator and allow snow to accumulate better.
  • Use hot water on a regular basis. If temperatures are cold and dip low quickly, running hot water through your pipes will help keep the temperature inside your septic tank well above freezing.
  • Fix any leak in your plumbing as soon as you know it exists. Don’t let small trickles of water create a costlier problem.
  • Double check risers, pipes and manhole covers whenever you access your septic system. Make sure they are sealed tight.

If you suspect your septic system has frozen, its time to call in a professional plumber. The root of the problem must be determined and fixed to avoid further freezing problems either in what’s left of this winter, or as the temperatures freeze again next winter. If you have any questions, we’d be happy to help.

* A portion of the information in this article was obtained via

27 Jul. 2016

The Pros and Cons of Vessel Sinks

Showy and Versitile Vessel Sinks

Vessel sinks truly couldn’t be any more classic. After all, the bathroom vessel sink is a direct descendant of the earliest sink—the wash basin—which, in the days  before indoor plumbing, was never without its trusty sidekick, the pitcher. Showy and perfect for a powder room that’s crying out for a new look. And if yours is made of something extraordinary—think of brushed nickel, natural stone, or hammered copper — there’s no better way to display this material, and to turn it into a work of art than to opt for a vessel sink. When considering whether or not one suits a particular space, these pros and cons are worth taking into account:

PROS of Vessel Sinks

Stylish. A conversation piece that can’t be beaten for adding interest and high-end panache to the bathroom.

Versatile. Usually bowl-shaped, they are also available in rectangular shapes—both boxy and with flared edges—as well as in swooping sculptural and nature-inspired shapes. Depending on the material used and the faucet selected, they can skew toward primitive or modern, sleek or substantial. It can be mounted above the counter or partially recessed.

Kohani brushed nickel vessel sinks

Imaginative. Some designers and homeowners re-purpose vintage basins, pottery, and even galvanized buckets. These basins also afford the opportunity to re-purpose vintage, unique, or much-loved pieces of furniture as vanities. The faucet you select also affects the final design.

Changeable. Easier to swap out than an undermount sink, which is typically wedged and sealed beneath the countertop. This way if you tire of a glass one, your plumber or contractor can more easily swap it out for one made of a different material. Today they come in brushed nickel finishes, copper, concrete, glass, porcelain, natural stone—the options are really endless.

Comfortable. If consideration is given to the height of the person who will be using the sink, this sinks can prove to be more ergonomic. Most traditional bath vanities are between 32 and 34 inches tall. A vessel sink can rise from two to six inches above the countertop, increasing the comfort level of users of various heights. To get the height just right for the sink’s primary users, a professional interior designer, plumber, or contractor can help you with your design and installation options.

Maestro Bajo Vessel Sinks

Mediterranean Powder Room by Santa Ana Interior Designers & DecoratorsCindy Smetana Interiors

Easy to Install. Perhaps the easiest type of sink to install, they don’t require countertop cut-outs. It just needs a 1 3/4″ hole to accommodate the sink drain.

Spacious. Many models—especially those made of clear glass—have an airy look; most models free up some counter space.

CONS of Vessel Sinks

Splashing. Though more prone to splashing, they don’t have to be. A professional can assist you with the proper faucet selection, height, reach, and placement of the faucet to minimizing splashing. Also, select a faucet equipped with an aerator, which will naturally create a non-splashing water stream.

Cleaning. With two visible surfaces, it may require extra cleaning and maintenance. This is especially the case with glass and plastic, which can show water spots. To clean between the base of the sink and the countertop, homeowners and housekeepers quickly learn the simple “cleaning rag wedge” trick or use a long, thin brush to access this area.

Maestro Sonata Petite Vessel Sinks

Beach Style Bathroom by Pensacola Interior Designers & Decorators In Detail Interiors

Price. Many people believe that they are more expensive than undermount sinks since they communicate high style, but as they have become more mainstream, the price options have changed significantly.

Stability. If improperly installed, taller sinks may present stability issues and may not work well with young children, who will be tempted to grab on to the sides to pull themselves up. If you have your trustworthy plumber or contractor in your contacts list, this will be a non-issue. Likewise, a partially recessed installation can bolster a sink’s stability.

Durability. Some sink models may be more prone to chipping or damage as the edge is exposed. This is not of concern with hardier materials such as copper and concrete.


Source: Native Trails

01 Jul. 2016

Outdoor Showers Offer Summer Convenience

diy-outside-shower-9It’s summer, and there’s nothing more satisfying for a parent (and fun for a kid) than watching your child play outside for hours on end. However, the thought of letting them come in and track their well-earned dirt everywhere is enough to send some parents into a small panic. Whether you’ve got a lake house, a pool, or just kids who love to get messy, an outdoor shower might be the perfect solution, allowing the best of both worlds. Outdoor play with no indoor mess.






OutdoorShower13Creating an outdoor shower really just depends on the ease of connecting to an existing water source. The design aspect can be as minimal or extensive as you prefer – some become quite the outdoor oasis. If you want to go all out, add a hot water hookup to the mix. While doing so would remove the nostalgia of the “I’m cold, I’m cold” screams you used to yell at your mom as she hosed you off, it would make for a truly enjoyable experience for kids and adults alike.






Design ideas can range from incredibly simple, to high-end extravagant. There are also many different levels of privacy, from just hosing off, to being able to shower as if you were in your own bathroom. It is all up to you. Take a look at the inspirations below and don’t wait for muddy footprints on your floors before calling us for an estimate on this low-budget, luxury item.






25 May. 2016

Plumbing Pipes Repurposed for Home Decor

On the heels of shows like “Fixer Upper” and “Rehab Addict”, home renovation is huge right now; more specifically, repurposing old items is pretty much the hottest trend in the current home design movement. Recycling old material, specifically material with an industrial feel, is extremely popular and makes for unique, conversation centerpieces. If you’re a fan of all this, you may have noticed that plumbing material is a hot commodity on these shows, and most often gets re-used to create home shelving units.

Since we love all things plumbing, we thought it would be fun to compile a list of our favorite examples of these popular shelving units. Who knows, maybe you’ll be inspired to create something like this for your home. Or, if you have an even better idea, feel free to post it in the comments section below.

Of course, there’s the obvious use of shelving for books and desks…

pipe shelving

If you’re not the DIY type, this shelving unit from Restoration Hardware is a great option.


pipe shelving 2

This brick wall unique really plays in the industrial appeal, and can be found on Pinterest.


pipe shelving 8 under stairs desk

An under-stair desk like this one serves a double purpose in design and space maximization. Read more on (Hint, you’ll find even more pipe shelving design ideas here.)


pipe shelving 4

And, of course, the less-is-more approach, courtesy of Home Decoration World.

Closets are another perfect shelving use for pipes, as seen in the following ideas…

pipe shelving 3

Not only is this useful, but it’s a retro way to display your favorite articles of clothing if your closet has no doors or you need to hang coats in an open hallway.


pipe shelving 11 clothing racks

The chrome finish of these pipes would be perfect for a locker room feel. Check out the Luxury Lifestyle, Design & Architecture blog for more info.


pipe shelving 5

This closet is just waiting for clothing to display. DIY For Life shows you how.

Furniture isn’t out of the question either…

pipe shelving 9 console table

Console tables can have a rustic, yet industrial vibe. Originally found on Reclaim By Design’s Etsy page.

And we couldn’t leave out bathroom applications…

pipe shelving 7 toilet paper roll

Toilet paper/cell phone holder combo, sold by Edna Fay Creations on Etsy.


pipe shelving 6 magazine rack

Bathroom magazine racks have never been more design appropriate. Made by Mac and Lexie through Etsy.


Lastly, for the animal lovers of the group…

pipe shelving 10 plumbing-shelves-with-cat

A cats playground, out of the way, yet on display.


What items have you repurposed lately, (plumbing related or not)?



11 Apr. 2016

Plumbing Inspections to Peform Before Buying a Home

Handing Over the KeysBuying a home is one of the most exciting, yet nerve-wracking purchases you will ever make. Not only do you want something that fits perfectly for your family’s specific needs, but you also need something that functions well and fits within your budget. Hence, the home inspection. Included in this thorough examination is basically a professional review of the overall structure; the exterior of the house, roofing and yard; and the interior including electrical, heating and air conditioning, fireplaces, ventilation and insulation, and the home’s plumbing. These inspections help uncover existing damage and minimize financial risk for the buyer. While the inspection should be done by a licensed professional, there are also questions you as the prospective home buyer can ask to uncover possible problems.

Start by checking your main sewer line.

A home’s sanitary sewer plumbing operates in one of two ways: by a municipal sewer system or a septic tank. To find out the condition of the municipal sewer system, a plumbing contractor can come in and set up a camera line inspection to quickly tell you the overall condition of the plumbing. If the house runs on a septic tank, find out where its located, the capacity of the tank, and the location of the drain field. Consider having it inspected as well by a plumber or septic company.

Inspect the water heater.

Find out where the water heater is in the home, its capacity and how old it is. Water heaters typically last anywhere from 8 to 12 years. If you see visible signs of corrosion, you can ask for a new one to be installed before closing. Websites like help you verify the age a water heater by entering the make, model, and serial number into their database.

Find leaks in the system

Part of the inspection process should be to spend time in the home and locate smaller potential problems. As you make your way from room to room, do you notice any drips of water coming from the fixtures? Do you see small wet spots where they shouldn’t be? What you may have missed in the few minutes you spent in the home while deciding whether to put in an offer, can easily come to light when you spend more time in a room.

Flush every toilet

Flush every toilet in the home and make sure it works properly, filling back up with water in a timely manner. Do you hear small leaks? Also check around the base for evidence of prior leaks.

Look for adequate protection on risky pipes

If you’ve ever dealt with a frozen pipe, you know how devastating it can be. As you are making your way through your home inspection, look for visible signs of previous pipe problems, and also look for potential problems in the future. Pipes on outside walls without adequate insulation are signs you may have a future problem if nothing is done to fix it now.

Basically, if something needs updating, or looks like it will soon, negotiate it into your contract. Sellers usually aren’t willing to let a serious buyer walk over small to medium inspection concerns.


01 Jan. 2016

Plumbing Resolutions for the New Year

newyearWhile most of us are still in shock that 2015 is over (what?!), some of us have already begun planning for 2016 and looking for ways to improve. New Years resolutions typically entail staying fit or saving money. While we can’t help you with the former, we can make saving money easier. Here is a list of plumbing resolutions to convert your home to a more eco-friendly plumbing system, help prevent plumbing emergencies, and basically save you money in 2016.


  • Consider having a plumbing inspection, or even better, an ongoing plumbing service agreement. Having a plumber complete a whole home plumbing inspection makes sure everything is running correctly and there are no leaks or possible emergencies down the line.
  • Pay attention to possible problems. Hammering noises, slow drains, water that isn’t as hot as it used to be can all signal potential problems that can end up as expensive emergency calls. This year, make your resolution to contact a plumber as soon as you notice something is wrong instead of waiting until it is too late. Plumbing issues only get worse (and more expensive) as time goes on.
  • Have your water heater checked. Water heaters need regular maintenance. Contact a plumber to inspect and, if needed, flush it to make sure it is functioning at its peak operating efficiency and performance levels. You don’t want to get caught without hot water.
  • Wise up to your plumbing system. Know where all of the important points are located, including your sewer access points, the primary water shut-off valve, and the valves for your various water-using appliances like the dish washer and washing machine. When an emergency occurs you will be able to quickly shut off water to the damaged area without unnecessarily interrupting water flow to the rest of the house.
  • Watch what you put down your drains. The best way to avoid drain clogs is to be careful of what you put down your pipes. Make sure to clear your plates into the garbage before you rinse them in your kitchen sink and use drain traps to catch problematic items in your sinks and tubs. In addition, never pour grease or oils down your drains because they can easily lead to clogs.
  • Don’t use your toilet as a wastebasket. Your toilet should only be used for toilet paper and human waste. Everything else (such as paper towels, cotton balls, floss and personal hygiene products) should be tossed in the trash. By following these rules, you can greatly reduce the chance of clogging your toilets.
  • When buying new appliances, including water heaters, look for Energy Star.
  • If you are replacing toilets, install low-flush toilets to help control water usage.
  • Upgrade your kitchen and bathroom faucets. Not only will new faucets brighten up your room, changing to faucets that use less water can save you money on your water bill.
  • Stay on your toes during extreme weather. Freezing temperatures can wreak havoc on your plumbing and excess rainfall can overwhelm a testy sump pump, so pay attention to the forecast.
  • Finally, teach your family how to save money and the planet with simple changes to their routines. Tell the kids not to let the water run when brushing their teeth, and encourage them to take shorter showers. Load up your washing machine and dishwasher so that you aren’t running them on half-full loads. Lastly, don’t water the lawn when rain is in the forecast. You’ll see lower water bills before you know it.

28 Dec. 2015

How to Maintain Your Sump Pump

sump-pumpIf your home has a wet basement, you’re not alone. The American Society of Home Inspectors estimates that more than 60 percent of homes have issues with water in the basement.

A sump pump can be an effective option for preventing water damage. Installed in a pit in the basement, these units sense when the water from rain or snowmelt is rising in the pit and approaching the floor level. The incoming water is then pumped outside before it can damage the home or its furnishings.

Sump pumps are relatively low-maintenance devices, but you can help keep your unit operational by inspecting it regularly. Steps in a regular maintenance program can include:

  • Checking the discharge line to make sure it is not stopped up or frozen. If necessary, unclog the air vent hole in the line.
  • Checking the inlet screen to ensure that it’s not clogged with residue and debris. Do this three or four times per year.
  • Making sure the float component is unobstructed and can move smoothly.
  • Scanning the pit and removing any visible debris, mud, or stones.
  • Testing the pump by slowly pouring a bucket of water into the pit. The float should rise with the water level, triggering the unit to start pumping. If pumping doesn’t begin, check to see that the unit is plugged in. Your float switch or check valve might also be at fault.
  • Going outside to see that water is discharging and flowing where it’s supposed to go – well away from your home.

Once a year, disconnect the pump from the power source and remove the unit. Flush it thoroughly with water to remove impurities and debris. While you have the pump out, also clean debris from the sump pit.  Reinstall the pump and reconnect the power source.  Test the unit by pouring a bucket of water into the pit and making sure the pump starts.

If your unit has backup battery power, replace the battery every two to three years, or as directed by the manufacturer.

Always refer to your pump’s instruction manual for specific information about maintenance and operation. More information about sump pumps is available from the Sump and Sewage Pump Manufacturers Association.

*The information in this article was obtained via State Farm Insurance.

17 Dec. 2015

Protect Your Home This Winter

insulatepipesAs temperatures begin to drop, it is a good time to review a few simple steps to keep your water lines from freezing.  Frozen pipes can cause damage to your property and cause a major inconvenience.  They can also be expensive to repair.

Most frozen lines occur on private property and are the responsibility of the homeowner.

Winterization Water Tips

Disconnect and drain outdoor hoses.

Detaching the hose allows water to drain from the pipe. Otherwise, a single hard, overnight freeze can burst either the faucet or the pipe it’s connected to.

Insulate pipes or faucets in unheated areas.

If you have pipes in an unheated garage or a cold crawl space under the house, wrap the water pipes before temperatures decline.  Hardware or building supply stores will have good wrapping materials available.

Seal off access doors, air vents and cracks.

Repair broken basement windows. Winter winds whistling through overlooked openings can quickly freeze exposed water pipes.  Don’t plug air vents that your furnace or water heater need for good combustion.

Find the master shut-off valve.

Most likely it’s where the water line comes into the basement or crawl space from the street. If a pipe bursts anywhere in the house, this valve can turn off the water.

Leave a pencil-lead-thin stream of water flowing.

A small flow of water running from a bathroom or kitchen faucet during the worst of the cold spell can help prevent faucets or water service lines from freezing. The water should be left running through the pipe susceptible of freezing.  You can also leave your cabinet doors open to allow the heat of the house to help keep your pipes from freezing. When away from home for several days, turn the water off and drain the outside faucets or leave the heating system inside your home on to keep the pipes warm.

If freezing weather temperatures do cause a frozen water line on your property, you can contact a plumber or a private contractor to thaw your lines.  If you choose to thaw them yourself, here are some tips to help:

Thawing Frozen Pipes
  • Apply heat in the general area by increasing the room temperature where the pipes are exposed (basement, crawlspace, recreation room).
  • Place a portable heater in the room(s).
  • Use a heating blanket/pad – available at most hardware or plumbing stores.
  • Do not stand in water while using electric appliances.

*This post originally appeared on the City of Cleveland’s Water Department Website,

05 Oct. 2015

Getting to the Root of Plumbing Backups – Tree Planting Basics

PipeTreeRoutesFall is the best time of year in Northeast Ohio to plant most types of trees. As a rule of thumb, trees should be planted when they have enough time to establish roots before they’re exposed to stressors like high heat, low temperatures, or not enough water. Plus, it is important to give the tree time to acclimatize itself to the soil before spring when it needs strength to blossom.

So, if you’re like many Northeast Ohioans looking to add some new trees to your landscaping this fall, we wanted to make sure you considered an often overlooked aspect of tree planting; plumbing. While trees are beautiful and serve many purposes (shade, visual barriers, food supply, etc.), they can wreak havoc on a home’s plumbing system. Some being peskier than others, such as the notorious weeping willow.

The reason for this is simple, tree roots grow towards moisture. Plumbing systems produce condensation from the mixing of hot water and cool soil, attracting tree roots. Once a tree root bridges the outer barrier of a pipe it can easily set up shop and expand within the plumbing system. This can affect your sanitary waste line, causing nasty backups.

There are two key factors in avoiding a plumbing/tree root nightmare. Location and tree type selection. As far as location, we recommend having a plumber come out to your property to locate the underground pipe lines. This will give you a good idea of spots to avoid. As a reminder, when digging it is required to have the Ohio Utility Protection Services (OUPS) come out and mark off any and all underground piping to avoid hitting gas or electric lines. Most landscapers will require this step before digging any holes. The same should be done for your plumbing. Feel free to give us a call if you have any question about the location of your underground plumbing.

In addition to selecting the right location within your yard, careful selection of tree types is very important in preventing pipe damage. Faster growing trees are far more aggressive when it comes to root growth. If you have a smaller yard with less ability to avoid nearby pipes, then slow growing trees like Redwoods, a variety of Maples, and Dogwoods can be great options. It is best to talk with a landscaper or a knowledgeable tree nursery employee to determine the right variety for your yard.

The bottom line? Prevention, in this case, is best. Without some forethought, your planting choices can be the “root” of some very expensive problems in the years to come.

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