7 Tips For Better Bathrooms and More
Save time, money and energy with these simple tips for better bathrooms and more.
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Moisture & Motion-Detecting Vent Fan
I recently installed a Panasonic WhisperChoice Auto vent fan in my bathroom— what an upgrade that was! My previous bathroom vent fan was only three years old, but it was loud. On top of that, I would forget to turn it on or off, letting the humidity build up or the fan run longer than it needed to.
With the Panasonic, I haven’t had to flip a switch. It’s equipped with a motion detector and a humidity sensor. Either one will turn the fan on when triggered. The fan is so quiet that I had to look to see if it was actually spinning. The Pick-A-Flow feature lets you choose an airflow of either 80 or 110 cubic feet per minute (cfm). These easy, inexpensive changes will make your bathroom feel more luxurious in an instant.
Shower Door Treatment
If you’re diligent about cleaning your glass shower door, you probably don’t have problems with soap scum, mildew or mineral stains from hard water. But if you’d like to skip all that cleaning, apply Aquapel Glass Treatment on your door so it can shed the water completely and prevent the buildup. One treatment lasts for months, meaning no more grime for the same amount of time. A package of four treatments costs $20.
Water-Saving Toilet Upgrade
When your toilet flapper fails, water leaks into the bowl and then triggers the fill valve to refill the tank. It’s annoying and it wastes water. Instead of just putting up with the rhythmic sound of running water, fix it with Fluidmaster’s Toilet Fill Valve and Flapper Repair Kit ($12). It’s a great kit for repairing common problems that can be solved with a new flapper, and while you’re at it, upgrading to a quicker, quieter fill valve.
If you want to take it one step further, Fluidmaster also sells an easy retrofit flush valve kit called the DuoFlush System Toilet Converter ($25). It will turn your toilet into a dual flusher, letting you flush only half a tank, lowering your water bill and reducing water waste. You can find both products at home centers and online.
Easy Aerator Cleaning
Using a sink aerator is a really great way to reduce the amount of water going straight down the drain, but aerators can get clogged and disrupt the flow from a faucet. To clear the clog easily, try tossing the aerator into a small jar filled with vinegar. Let it soak for several hours, then rinse with water while scrubbing with a small brush. If that doesn’t do the trick, you may have to take it apart. Watch out: Putting one piece in the wrong way will interfere with the flow.
Wash Your Shower Curtain
Toss your grimy shower curtain or liner in the washing machine instead of the garbage and save a trip to the store and a few bucks. Add about a quarter cup of vinegar to a warm-water wash cycle and your shower curtain will come out fresh and clean. The vinegar also helps to kill mold and mildew.
Whenever I do a fast clean of my bathroom, I reach for a Magic Eraser sponge. With just this one sponge, I can quickly make my bathroom shine without spraying a single cleaning product. I get it wet and start wiping away the soap scum and hard water marks. The bonus is that Magic Erasers are pretty cheap. You can find them at grocery stores, drugstores and online for $1.50 or less. —Vern Johnson, Creative Director
Cost-Cutting Hot Water Pump
How long do you wait for the water in your shower to warm up? Three minutes? Seven minutes? To save time and stop wasting all that cool water down the drain, get instant hot water with a hot water recirculating pump.
The TacoGenie is a recirculating pump that is installed under a sink and ensures there is hot water at every faucet in your house, all the time. It gets installed between the hot- and cold-water supplies at the farthest faucet in your house, with no need to cut pipes or re-plumb. A built-in sensor detects when hot water has reached the pump and automatically shuts it off. With an optional motion detector or wireless button, you can choose how often you want the pump to operate. You can find the TacoGenie at plumbing supply stores and online. Shown is the model 006-CT-USK, which costs about $483. Here's how to increase the water pressure in your house.