Have Questions About Your Plumbing? Ask A GEM Plumber
Have Questions About Your Plumbing?
Not a plumbing expert? Not to worry. We are here to answer all of your bathroom-related plumbing questions. Here are some frequently asked questions, and the answers that you are looking for!
Is that faucet really $1,000?!
Yes. Here’s a little tip for all things plumbing: you can spend whatever you want. You can buy cheap faucets and fixtures, or you can spend a small fortune. But, the hint: high quality products cost more.
Spending $150 or more is reasonable for a bathroom faucet. More than $250 is a reasonable price for tub and shower fittings, including the valve inside the wall, the handle, tub spout and showerhead.
Do low-flush toilets work?
Now they do! Thanks to modern innovation, toilet manufacturers take a lot of care in designing and manufacturing their toilets to make sure that water and waste exit quickly and completely.
Engineers have created the Maximum Performance (MaP) test, testing hundreds of toilets each year. A toilet with a score of 600 or better will perform adequately. The top toilets score 1,000, which means they can flush 1,000 grams. If you need to flush a kilo of anything, they’ll do the job. They are powerful machines!
What are some toilet options? Which are the best toilets to buy?
Some are higher, so you’ll sit about 3-inches higher than a regular toilet. That makes it easier for some folks to get off and on. Toilet heights matter!
Toilets have either round bowls or elongated bowls. Elongated toilet bowls and the seats that fit on them are often more comfortable. The most common type of toilet is a two-piece with a separate tank and bowl.
One-piece toilets are sleeker and easier to keep clean but they’re more expensive.
Flush mechanisms vary. Gravity is the traditional method, while vacuum assist or pressure assist uses changes in air pressure inside the tank to provide a robust flush.
The measurement for the location of the drain line in the floor is called a rough-in dimension; it’s either 10-inches or 12-inches. You have to buy a toilet that matches the rough-in dimensions.
Which are the best? That’s up to you! Your bathroom experience comes down to what you prefer from your toilet height, bowl size, flush mechanism, and so on. And no one can tell you more about what is best for you than our very own plumbers! Read more about our plumbing replacements and installations or call/chat with a specialist now to get their insights!
Why aren’t bidets popular?
Americans haven’t jumped on the bidet toilet bandwagon. You can buy a bidet seat that attaches to your toilet for anywhere from $300 to $1,000, if that is what you prefer. You’ll need an electrical connection for the seat to operate the pump and heat the water in a small tank. People who have converted to getting their backsides washed love them!
Do I want a whirlpool bath?
That is up to your preference, but probably not. We know that you live a busy life. Think about how often in your busy schedule you have time for a long bath. Most people use them for a week and then usage tails off.
They also require a lot of hot water to fill, so they are not exactly environmentally friendly. If you have a 75-gallon whirlpool tub and a 40-gallon water heater, you can see the problem.
But, if you are the type that loves a nice at-home spa experience when you take a bath, this is a great option for you! Read more about our plumbing replacements and installations or call/chat with a specialist now to get their insights!
What kind of bathtubs are there?
Ooh, bathtubs. We could talk bathtubs all day. They generally fall into the categories of cast iron, porcelain on steel or some kind of polymer.
Cast iron bathtubs are a great option, but (heads up!) it weighs a ton! Trying to wrestle one into your bathroom could be a problem.
Porcelain on steel bathtubs are great options too, as long as the tub is properly reinforced on the bottom. This ensures that you don’t get an “oil-canning” sound when you’re in it.
Polymers, such as fiberglass, are a great, low-cost option. Some polymers, such as fiberglass, however, may not hold up over time. Acrylic tubs are better, but cost more. Like we said, quality costs more!
Outside of the big three, bathtubs can be made of stone, copper, or man-made composites. If you want to spend a lot of money, teak or cultured marble is the way to go!
Where does all the water go?
All of the water draining from the sink, toilet, and bathtub drains out of a common drain. (Hint: No, the toilet does not drain separately.)
Drain lines are typically 4-inch cast iron or PVC. Drains are vented through a 3-inch pipe through your roof. This connection to outside air prevents the glug-glug sound you hear when pouring water from a bottle. Venting also helps drain water and waste faster.
Are bathroom walls waterproof?
Well, we sure hope so! They should be. Showers can get messy sometimes, right?! Conventional drywall in a wet environment like a bathroom is a bad idea. Bathroom walls are usually constructed with cement backer board, which is a ¼-inch or ½-inch thick sheet of cement and reinforcing fibers in a 3-foot by 5-foot sheet.
The floor and walls are then finished with tile or other materials on top of the backer board, making sure that they are water-proofed all the way! For more information on shower waterproofing or bathroom waterproofing, take a look at our bath remodel page or give us a call, and we can give you all of the information that you need!
What else is new in bathroom plumbing?
Bathroom plumbing has new changed in hot water recirculation systems and occupancy sensors. When you walk into a bathroom, you probably want to turn on the light, turn on the exhaust fan, and you’ll need hot water. That’s a lot going on at once! There are wireless occupancy sensors and on-demand hot water recirculation systems available that will pump hot water to the bathroom, turn on the lights and turn on the exhaust fan. That’s the ultimate in convenience.