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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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…
Closets are another perfect shelving use for pipes, as seen in the following ideas…
Furniture isn’t out of the question either…
And we couldn’t leave out bathroom applications…
Lastly, for the animal lovers of the group…
What items have you repurposed lately, (plumbing related or not)?
Dual flush toilets are the latest in water-conservation efforts, and have made the crossover from commercial to residential applications. Now, most well-known residential brands sell at least one dual flush model, including Kohler, American Standard, and Toto. Not only are there options, but the options are reasonably, and competitively priced. Unfortunately, due to the vast differences in design, dual flush retrofit kits are not an effective option for homeowners who want the water savings, but don’t want to invest in a brand new toilet. So, if you’re looking for the vast water savings a dual flush toilet has to offer, you’re going to have to invest in the real deal this time.
Dual flush toilets handle solid and liquid waste differently from standard American style toilets, giving the user a choice of flushes. It’s an interactive toilet design that helps conserve water and has quickly caught on in countries where water is in short supply, like Australia, and in areas where water supply and treatment facilities are older or overtaxed. Interest in low flow and dual flush toilets is on the rise in the United States, due in part to increased government regulation and the rising cost of water.
The Australians are credited with leading the way in the development of dual flush technology. In 1980, Bruce Thompson of Caroma Industries created the first two-button flushing system, a convenient method of manually selecting the water volume of each flush — a half flush for liquid waste and a full flush for solid waste — with the push of a button. Necessity was the driving force for the change. Traditional toilets used lots of water, a commodity that was in short supply on a continent that has erratic rainfall and experiences frequent and prolonged droughts.
Most modern dual flush toilets use less than a gallon of water to flush liquid waste and around 1.6 gallons to flush solid waste. This is a big savings over old toilet styles that used five gallons or more for each and every flush. Today, dual flush toilets are used widely in Australia, Europe and Asia, and they’re catching on in other areas as well. Increased environmental awareness, government regulation, the availability of monetary incentives and the rising cost of water are making the changeover to dual flush and low flow toilet designs more attractive to U.S. consumers.
The way water is used to remove waste from the bowl has a lot to do with how much water is needed to get the job done. Standard toilets use siphoning action, a method that employs a siphoning tube, to evacuate waste. A high volume of water entering the toilet bowl when the toilet’s flushed fills the siphon tube and pulls the waste and water down the drain. When air enters the tube, the siphoning action stops. Dual flush toilets employ a larger trapway (the hole at the bottom of the bowl) and a wash-down flushing design that pushes waste down the drain. Because there’s no siphoning action involved, the system needs less water per flush, and the larger diameter trapway makes it easy for waste to exit the bowl. Combined with the savings from using only half-flushes for liquid waste, the dual flush toilet design can save up to 68% more water than a conventional low flow toilet.
In 1994, the National Energy Policy Act was signed into law, requiring toilets sold in the United States use no more than 1.6 gallons per flush. This mandate to conserve has given rise to a new generation of high efficiency toilets (HETs) that use technologies like pressure-assist, gravity flush and dual flush to whisk away waste using as little water as possible. Of the new technologies, the dual flush method has the advantage of intuitive flushing, where the operator can decide electively that less water is needed and use one gallon or less per flush instead of the 1.6 gallon maximum.
Although toilets purchased for new construction and retrofits must meet the new standards, millions of older water-guzzling toilets are still out there. As water and sewer costs keep rising, low flow toilets are becoming more attractive to the American consumer, and local and state governments are using rebates and tax incentives to encourage households to convert to these new technologies.
The advantages of low flow toilets in conserving water and reducing the demand on local water treatment facilities is pretty obvious. According to USA Today, the average person flushes the toilet five to eight times a day, and at a greedy five gallons a flush, the numbers start to add up quickly. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, completely eliminating old style, water guzzling toilets would save about 2 billion gallons of water each day in the United States. With a growing population, an aging water treatment infrastructure and the looming threat of global warming contributing to uncertain weather, water conservation will continue to be a big issue.
3D Printing, also known as additive manufacturing, refers to the process of creating a three-dimensional object by successive layering of material through a computer controlled robot. This technology was first introduced in the early 1980’s, but has really taken off in the last decade or so, and has really found a place in the aerospace, architecture, automotive, defense, and medical industries. The latest industry to experience the benefits of 3D printing is within plumbing. Since the technology is able to create products with unparalleled detail, such fixtures are highly desired by homeowners who are looking for creative, unique fixtures to accent their home.
DXV by American Standard seems to be at the forefront of the plumbing industry’s use of this technology, recently unveiling the first collection of commercially-available residential faucets created with 3D printing. Their Vibrato Faucet under this new 3D product line even earned them a “BEST of KBIS Gold Award” in the Bath Category at the 2016 Kitchen & Bath Industry Show this month in Las Vegas. The use of such detailed technology provides the designs the ability look as if the water is appearing out of nowhere, since the trunk of the faucet is see through.
DXV has an entire line of 3D printed fixtures. While this initial launch brings a hefty cost of $19,500, as time goes on and the technology becomes more wide-spread, pricing for 3D printed fixtures will hopefully decrease to a much more attainable price tag. For now, one can dream…
While 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.
Earth Day began in 1970, with an aim to raise awareness about the environmental health of the planet. On this 45th Earth Day, people all across the globe will be engaging in eco-friendly activities to help the environment. We have a few plumbing-related home improvement ideas you can institute today to help you become more energy-efficient year-round. The focus for Earth Day in our industry is all about improving energy efficiency, saving water, and reducing waste and pollution. Not a small task, but one that is immensely important for the future of our planet.
Here’s a short, but effective list to get started with:
1. Find And Repair Leaks
Having your pipes inspected for leaks by a local plumber should be first and foremost. If there are any, they will increase your water bills. Though small drips may not look serious, they will add to your water bill and if neglected for a longer period of time, the may grow and cause even greater problems. Then you will have to spend money on water damage and serious plumbing repairs.
Don’t neglect your toilets when inspecting for leaks. A simple way to do this is to carefully remove the tank lid and lay it flat on the floor to prevent it from falling over and breaking. Drop a dye tablet (available from Neptune) or several drops of food dye into the upper tank. Wait approximately 15 minutes. Check the water in the bowl for color. If you see color in the toilet bowl, then you know you have a leak in your toilet that could be wasting water and costing you money.
2. Upgrade Your Water Heater
The majority of the water used in your home first passes through your water heater. Installing a top-of-the-line, energy efficient water heater will help you save overall, when you think about how old your current water heater is and how much water your family uses in a day.
If you’re not ready to spring for a new water heater, simply adjust its temperature. This is quick and easy to do and will help you save money. You can also turn off your water heater all together if you are away on an extended vacation to conserve energy.
It’s probably the one appliance in your home that gets used multiple times a day, yet is typically overlooked when you talk about remodeling or upgrading. Your toilet.
The life expectancy of a toilet can vary greatly, but like everything in our homes, there comes a point in time when replacing it is the better solution. How do you know if you’ve reached that point? Here are four key indicators:
Cracks can occur either in the tank or in the bowl. In many cases they are hard to spot. If a crack goes unnoticed, it can quickly grow and build, releasing a flood of water in a short period of time. A simple way to determine if you have a crack is to drop a few drops of food coloring in to the tank. Wait a few minutes. If the food coloring seeps into the bowl, you have a leak and it may be caused by a crack.
If your home was built in the 80s or before, and the toilet has never been upgraded, you are still operating with a full flush toilet. Toilets from this era used 3.5 gallons of water or more with every flush. In 1992, the Energy Policy Act was signed into law, making 1.6 gallons per flush a maximum for all new toilets produced. With today’s technology, you can find low flow toilets at this water level and below – ever considered a dual flush toilet in your home? You may be surprised by all the options available to you.
When a toilet reaches a certain point, you may be spending more on replacement parts then you would by replacing the entire toilet. If you’ve replaced a part more than once per year, its time to look at replacing the entire unit rather than working your way through part by part.
If you have a toilet that constantly clogs, it may be time for an upgrade. Especially with an older low flow toilet, if you find yourself consistently plunging, or flushing more than once on a regular basis, it’s a wise decision to upgrade.
If you have any questions about the toilets in your home, one of our plumbing technicians can assess their condition and give you the best options for replacement if need be.
50 experts were interviewed about home improvement trends in 2011 and their results were packaged nicely into this infographic. Use this as inspiration for your 2011 home improvement projects. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions regarding a plumbing project or green plumbing fixtures. Do you have projects planned yet for this upcoming year? Share them below in the comments.