Over the past few days, we’ve traveled across half of Ohio, most of Pennsylvania and landed in sunny Florida. While Hotels.com reviews are helpful in finding overnight lodging, they almost never report what we truly want to know: How’s the hotel plumbing… specifically, where can we get a good, hearty, shower to wash away road grit?

According to ConsumerSearch.com, the best shower heads that “deliver a strong stream of water and plenty of coverage,” keep the water hot, are easily adjustable with multiple settings, last a long time, and are easy to install. We agree.

When it comes to showering, spray patterns are the key to a successful bathing experience. ConsumerSearch.com suggests “Some users like a firm, invigorating spray, while others prefer the gentle trickle of a rain shower. Some like a traditional wide spray that provides a lot of coverage, while others prefer a pulsing massage jet. Whatever shower style you like best, look for a shower head that does a good job on that spray setting” That last point is especially important in a bathroom used by multiple people – each person should be able to choose their waterfall preference.

Short or Tall, There’s a Style For All
When installing a new shower last year, we had a lengthy discussion about shower heads options. During the course of research, we were surprised to learn that everyone in the household faces a different direction while showering – some face the water, others face the wall. We came to the conclusion that each person’sheight has a lot to do with it –taller people face the shower head because their face is above the spray while our shorties face away from the water to avoid getting water in their eyes. Who knew? That discovery also made us consider the installation position of the new shower head – too high makes adjusting the settings a challenge for the vertically challenged.

Handheld or No?
Handheld models offer versatility to households with multiple needs, (for example, family members with mobility issues, washing the dog, or using the shower to clean oversized objects). The DIYGuy offers a good “how-to” video on replacing an existing shower with a hand-held model. See: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=knh1XsuQBoA.

Quality Doesn’t Cost, It Pays
When it comes to plumbing, it truly pays to upgrade to better quality. An inexpensive shower head that wears out or malfunctions detracts from the pleasure of a good shower. Take the time to research your options by working with a good plumber. Some showers have special considerations – including, water pressure, high ceilings, and location. That “3rd bathroom” in a partially finished basement may be a good spot for an inexpensinve dog-washing handheld shower. Your master bath, on the other hand, is well worth a higher end, designer model.

Water You Waiting For? Ray is well-versed in installing showers and shower heads in both new and existing homes and commercial businesses. His team of trained plumbers is available 24×7 for consultation and quotes. Call today: 513-396-5300.

Square-shaped or pear-shaped, there’s one for your shape!

There comes a time in everyone’s life when it’s time to replace the toilet. Whether the decision is by necessity or by design, selecting a new model is an enjoyable, inexpensive, and quick way to spruce up a bath. Recent advances in bathroom design and toilet technology provide a range of exciting toilet options.

A Picture Says a Thousand Words
HGTV has an excellent quick video that highlights current toilet trends and styles. Innovations such as hygienic handles to raise and lower the seat and anti-microbial porcelain glazes lead the way in improved bathroom cleanliness. “Pee-wee” pots are the rage for homes or facilities catering to small children’s bathroom needs. Looking for a functional sculpture in your luxury bath? Hidden tanks allow designers to showcase the cold curves of fine porcelain in delightful new ways. And as mentioned in last week’s blog, improvements in water conservation techniques give homeowners the option to use more, or less, water each time they flush. View HGTV bathroom trends video (2:30) >> http://www.hgtv.com/video/toilet-trends-video/index.html

Decisions… Decisions…
Once you’ve decided to purchase a new toilet, there are a few decisions to consider:

One-piece or two? According to http://www.faucetdepot.com/resources/toilet-selection-guide.html, “The one piece toilet [is] one complete unit to allow for easy cleaning. One major advantage of the one piece toilet is that [it eliminates] the possibility of leaks between the tank and the bowl. Two piece toilets feature a separate bowl and tank that can be purchased together or individually, and the seat is typically sold separate as well. Two piece toilets are the most common type of toilets in most homes.”

Elongated or round bowl? For years, round bowls were ubiquitous in American bathrooms. In recent years, elongated bowls have become increasingly popular – they are considered more comfy and their larger size provides about an additional 2″ of seating area. Supersize us – we think an elongated bowl is the way to go – it’s a nice look, adds a touch of elegance to an otherwise standard bathroom. And let’s face it, during extended visits, comfort in the seating area ranks high on the priority list.

Soft or hard? Toilet seats are commonly sold as a separate accessories. A quick Google search of “toilet seat options” reveals everything from plush cushioned seats to automatic raising/lowering mechanisms and custom designs that add interest to the bath, the sky is the limit when it comes to seat options.

Self-install or hire a professional? Toilet installation is one of the most common DIY project out there, but it can be frustrating and messy. If you choose the DIY option to replace an existing toilet, plan ahead. Drain the water out of the old toilet, have old towels at hand to soak up non-drainable water, have a johnny-ring on hand, and get ready to lift about 50 pounds of bulky porcelain. It’s recommended to have a second person on hand to assist with setting the toilet and ensuring everything is working properly.

For new installations, we recommend working with a professional plumber to obtain an accurate rough-in, proper drainage, and ensuring that everything is up-to-code.

Water You Waiting For? Allied Reddi-Rooter’s trained professionals are at the ready to assist with your bathroom plumbing needs. From bathroom repairs to new construction and remodels, Allied is a full-service plumbing provider, available 24/7. Call today: 513-396-5300.

Trending Now in Cincinnati Plumbing
Recently, we visited the impressive plumbing showroom of Keidel Supply, Inc. in Norwood*. If you are considering remodeling your kitchen or bath and are looking for ideas, a trip to Keidel is time well spent. Their team of expert kitchen, bath, and lighting designers can help you develop a plan for installing the latest modern plumbing conveniences. A few of the latest ideas include:

Eco-Friendly Plumbing
Water conservation one of the hottest trends in plumbing today. In areas where water is scarce (e.g., the Western states), reducing one’s ‘water footprint’ is tremendously important. In Cincinnati, however, the Ohio River generously meets the water needs of the Greater Cincinnati Area. But for those who enjoy leading edge conservancy, eco-friendly plumbing is available.

• High-efficiency toilet (HETs) — Recent innovations have greatly improved the flushability of HETs, which have received a bad rap for several years now. Innovations such as pressurized flushers (using pressurized water instead of gravity to send solids down the drain) enable ‘good flushing’ with only 1.28 gallons of water. It’s estimated that replacing an older toilet with one of today’s HET model can save up to 40,000 gallons of water each year.

It’s important to note that pressurized water is noisier than standard models. If a quiet flush is your goal (such as in a bath that’s off of a master bedroom), an HET may present some aesthetic concerns.

• Low-flow toilets – Low-flows are distinctly different from HETs. Generally speaking, low-flows are the reason that HETs have to overcome a bad reputation. Most experts recommend HET models over low-flow versions.

• Grey water management – “Grey” water is the by-product sinks, washing machines, and showers. Many conservationists advocate using grey water for flushing toilets, watering gardens, and other non-human-consumption purposes. Installing a grey-water management system can be costly, but can save up to 5,000 gallons of water annually.

• Green water heaters – Today’s new models include solar-powered heaters and tank-less heaters that only heat water as it’s needed. For those whose living space is at a premium, tankless heaters are may be good option who don’t have room for a bulky water heater tank.

Luxury Plumbing
Whether you are seeking kitchen and bath elegance on large scale or small, luxury plumbing has several nice options.

• Luxury faucets — new models feature touch technology, which is both trendy and hygienic.

• Custom showers – the sky is the limit when you are planning a shower. From rainfall shower heads to steamy enclosed saunas featuring surround sound and lighting options, showers have come a long way in recent years.

• Luxury bathtubs – Jets and massage options have given way to ultra deep “soaker” tubs that engage your body in soothing spa-quality experiences.
Water You Waiting For? Whether you’re considering a complete, full-scale plumbing upgrade for your home, Allied Reddi-Rooter’s highly skilled plumbing professionals are available to help you plan, scope, estimate, and install your luxury options. Call Ray today at 513-396-5300.

* Keidel Supply, Inc. a is a full-service kitchen, bath, plumbing, cabinetry and appliance distributor, wholesaler, and retailer. Keidel does not typically sell products to the general public, nor are they a plumber. They service the needs of residential and commercial plumbing contractors, builders, remodelers, designers in the Greater Cincinnati area.

In plumbing, there are two seasons: “Winterizing” and “The Rest of the Year”. Many people put more thought into hanging Christmas lights than into winterizing their home. As much as we enjoy Christmas lights, we would love, love, LOVE it if everyone would spend a Saturday winterizing their home. It’s time well spent. To help, below is an easy, top-to-bottom, winterization checklist.

Plumbing
Plumbing is especially susceptible to cold weather and freezing. Burst pipes from freezing can cause some of the most expensive repairs in the home. So let’s go over some of the basics to make you have them covered.

Inside – Insulation is Important
• Exposed water or drain pipes in crawlspaces, attics, outside walls, etc., should be insulated to prevent freezing and bursting. For an easy-to-follow tutorial, the folks over at the DIY network have some helpful information. View: http://www.diynetwork.com/how-to/how-to-insulate-pipes/index.htmlhttp://www.diynetwork.com/how-to/how-to-insulate-pipes/index.html
• Consider an insulating blanket (available at the local hardware store) for your hot water tank. An insulating blanket can reduce the amount of energy needed to maintain hot water temperatures.
• Wall outlets notorious for cold air leaks. Reduce heat loss by insulating all outlets (exterior and interior) with inexpensive foam gaskets. .
• Chimneys – if your fireplace is more decorative than functional, use fiberglass insulation to fill the spaces behind the glass fireplace doors and block cold air coming down the chimney. NOTE: If you make a fire, remember to remove the insulation.

Outside – Protect Plumbing From the Elements
• Exterior faucets – As our blog readers know, Allied Reddi-Rooter is a big fan of frost-proof exterior faucets. They are practically maintenance-free. If you don’t have a frost-proof faucet, then take a few minutes and turn off the water supply to the exterior faucets before temperatures drop further. After turning off the water, drain the faucet by opening the outside valve (i.e., turn the water faucet on until no more water comes out). Additionally, consider an insulated Styrofoam cover for the faucet – they are inexpensive. Lastly, disconnect the garden hoses and store them in the garage or basement for the winter.
• Sprinklers — Purge your exterior sprinkler system by shutting off the water supply and forcing compressed air through the sprinkler lines to remove excess water and prevent lines from freezing and bursting.

Heating System Checklist
• Check the system. Turn the thermostat to “Heat” and set it to 80 degrees. Listen for the furnace to kick on and send warm air (along with a smell of dusty heat) within a few minutes. If the furnace is not working as you think it should, contact a local heating and cooling specialist; a fall tune-up may be needed.
• Replace the furnace filter — In the winter months, furnace filters should be changed every 2-4 months.
• Fuel – For heating oil or propane furnaces, make sure your tanks are full as we head into “Polar Vertex, The Sequel”.
• Vents, registers, and cold air returns – Do a quick walk through and ensure that there is no furniture, rugs, or piles of clothing laying on top of vents, registers, and cold air returns.

Cooling System Checklist
• Before turning off the exterior water supply, hose off the fan blades on the air conditioning unit. A good spray will remove debris and dirt from the interior of the unit.
• Invest in an air conditioning cover. Similar to a grill cover, these inexpensive vinyl covers will protect the unit from snow, ice, leaves, and small animals during the winter months.
• If you have a window unit air conditioner, either remove it or close the vents and place a cover over it to prevent cold air from entering your home.

Fireplaces and Chimneys
Unlike most winterizing items, fireplaces and chimneys are not a DIY item. Contact a local chimney sweep and ask them to perform a sweep. Typically, the inspection includes:

• Looking for signs of animals taking up house in your chimney.
• Verifying the flue damper is working correctly.
• The chimney draft (the chimney’s ability to properly draw up the fire and smoke) is in good order.
• An inspection of the fire bricks/fire box.

Outdoor Landscape
• Put away patio furniture, bring cushions inside, cover the furniture as needed.
• Consider a new coat of sealer on the deck.
• Drain the gas from the lawn mower/change the oil if needed; grease the mower deck if you have a riding mower.
• Drain water features, unplug the pumps and prepare them for winter.

Water You Waiting For? Allied Reddi-Rooter’s trained professionals are at the ready to assist with your winterizing needs. Whether it’s a regular home or a vacation home, we can manage your exterior faucets and sprinkler systems and interior plumbing needs. From sump pumps to hot water heaters, Allied is a full-service plumbing provider, available 24/7. Call today: 513-396-5300.