High-Tech Bathroom Upgrades
LESLIE: Well, high-tech remodeling renovations have improved just about every room in our homes and there are a slew of these products available for your bathroom. From touchless faucets to towel warmers, these modern marvels help us save energy, save water and make things just a little more convenient.
KEVIN: Hi, guys. How are you?
TOM: So This Old House has always been on the cutting edge of innovations in the projects that you choose, especially when it comes to bathrooms. We’ve come a long, long way since the outhouse.
KEVIN: Yeah. It’s a good thing, too, right? Does anyone have any fond memories of outhouses? Did you know that there’s a museum to outhouses down in Louisiana?
TOM: Of course there is.
KEVIN: Yep. I’ve been there.
LESLIE: Oh, geez.
KEVIN: Yeah. Yep. The tickets are free.
TOM: I bet, right?
KEVIN: No, it definitely has come a long way. And I think, you know, one of the things that we’ve noticed is some of these innovations that we’re seeing in the house, in residential construction, actually migrate over from commercial construction. Which is why you’re seeing things like touchless faucets. Imagine when you went into the public restrooms, they’re everywhere.
LESLIE: Because if you’re a germaphobe, you might as well be a germaphobe in your own bathroom.
KEVIN: If you’re stopping on the parkway or the turnpike, you probably don’t want to touch the faucet. But yes, right? So you sort of develop that sensibility and now it’s available in your house where you can just wave your hand over it or put an elbow to the actual spout and turn on and off.
LESLIE: Yeah, I like it in a kitchen.
KEVIN: A pretty good feature.
TOM: And it’s not only the bathrooms, it’s also the kitchen. Delta has one now where you wave your hand over the top and it comes on, you wave your hand again over the top and it goes off. And if you bring a pot up to it close with both hands, it will actually go on for as long as the pot is sort of in front of the faucet.
KEVIN: Who doesn’t like that, right?
TOM: Yeah, exactly.
KEVIN: So, they’re happening with faucets, bathrooms or kitchens. They’re also happening with toilets. There are a lot of things out there right now. KOHLER has just introduced a toilet that actually has touchless-flush technology. So, you just have to wave your hand over the back and it will flush for you. Another thing is they actually have lighted toilets, alright? We just showed off one of these recently. Two lights. One of them is a location light so you can find the toilet as you walk into the bathroom.
LESLIE: Oh, not an aiming sensor for my small boys?
KEVIN: That’s the second one. And then the second light is a – they call a “task light.”
TOM: You’re coming in for a landing.
KEVIN: But instead of a night light in the bathroom, why not have the toilet seat up so you always know exactly how to find it?
LESLIE: All of these seem like an invitation for both of my boys to put their hands in the toilet.
KEVIN: Hmm. No, maybe we should turn the lights off.
LESLIE: Great innovations. Just not for a six or a two-year-old.
TOM: Alright. Enough toilet talk. Let’s talk about the shower right now. There are also some innovations in showers and baths, including one device that actually prevents shower shock, where you actually get an alert in terms of shower temperature.
KEVIN: I think the shower is the new luxury destination in the American home it seems. There are lots of gadgets and gizmos that can go into a shower.
And as you point out, Tom, there’s something out there where the showerhead will actually display the water temperature, even as it changes, so that you can see exactly what the temperature is before you stick your head underneath there so that you do not stick your head under some either cold or really hot water, causing some discomfort.
TOM: And that’s the Delta product; it’s called the Temp2O.
Now, you’re also going to see audio systems built into bathrooms.
KEVIN: Can you imagine listening to your favorite tunes in the morning when you’re in the shower? But yes, speakers that are actually in there, that are actually playing tunes in the shower so that you never have to be in a room where you’re not being …
KEVIN: Entertained, absolutely. And we’ve even seen chromotherapy where the lights change so that they can produce different moods when you’re in a bath or in a shower. So lots of innovation coming into these spaces.
There are also things like – well, heated floors are something that we’ve done all the time on the show, where you put radiant underneath either electric or a water-based system that’s hydronic. But also, towel warmers that are heated up right out of the gate so that you never have to pull a chilly towel off the rack. As I say, the new luxury destination.
TOM: You can have a lot of these options without spending a lot of money. I mean just kind of adding one thing at a time.
KEVIN: Yeah. I think if you’re doing a bathroom remodel, you probably want to plan them all out. We’ve seen some very cool grab bars that you want to be thinking about where do they go and where are the controls for these types of things. But yeah, you could sort of add them incrementally.
LESLIE: You know, the thing that I find interesting is that – I’ve been working with a client and they’re fixated on having one of those Dyson super-hand dryers in the bath. Not like the fancier one that you can get, because Dyson actually makes one that’s integrated into the faucet. So you wash your hands and then you sort of step back and then put your hands under it in a different way and the air comes out, which is a great technology. Oh, no, they want like the one that you see in your local store with the big, yellow – dip your hands in here, make some ruckus.
TOM: Blue jets, big air jets.
LESLIE: Yeah. So people really want this stuff in their house.
KEVIN: And a perfect example of that migration from commercial space to residential space, because we’re used to them now in those commercial restrooms and bathrooms.
LESLIE: Right. God forbid you use a towel.
TOM: It’s so unsanitary. Other people may have touched that.
Kevin O’Connor, great advice. Thank you so much for stopping by The Money Pit.
KEVIN: Pleasure to be here, guys.
LESLIE: Alright. Catch the current season of This Old House andAsk This Old House on PBS. For local listings and step-by-step videos of many common home improvement projects, visit ThisOldHouse.com.
TOM: And This Old House and Ask This Old House are brought to you on PBS by GMC. GMC, we are professional grade.