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Bathroom upgrades that freshen

Plus they save money

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Bathroom upgrades that freshen

A modern bathroom remodel.

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POSTED May 7, 2011 3:12 a.m.

When you sit back to relax in the tub, or take time to preen in front of the bathroom vanity, do you often feel that the setting just isn’t giving you the comforting and spa-like experience you wish you could feel at home?

Sure, you take good care of your bathroom - you’ve scrubbed the faucets to make them as shiny as you can and everything works the way it has for many years. But maybe it’s time you gave your bathroom a refreshing change - one that not only gives you the luxurious feeling of comfort and elegance, but also that benefits your wallet and the environment.

You may be surprised to learn that bathroom showers, toilets and sinks account for about 75 percent of the water used in each American home. If you haven’t replaced any of your faucets or toilets for many years, you may be not only struggling with keeping these older fixtures looking clean and fresh, you may also be paying a lot of extra money to keep them running.

Consider your toilet. Older toilets can use as much as 5 gallons of water per flush, while stylish modern toilets are designed to cut that amount by more than a third. And some models, like the new high-efficiency Aquia Wall-Hung Dual Flush HET, which uses TOTO’s Dual-Max flushing system, can use as little as 0.9 gallons per flush. These qualities earn this toilet the EPA WaterSense label for being water efficient. And being wall hung makes sense aesthetically - by hiding the tank in the wall and lifting the toilet from the floor (making cleaning a breeze), you can save a total of 9 inches of precious room space.

Now take a look at your vanity and see your faucet for what it is. If the faucet has been around for many years, excessive use may have corroded some of the metal finish, or even worn away the hot and cold labels. A new faucet would not only freshen the look of the vanity, but also give your bathroom a beautiful new look. Standard bathroom faucets use 2.2 gallons of water per minute, newer models are available that provide the robust drenching needed to clean your hands while only using a modest 1.5 gallons per minute. One is TOTO’s chic Aquia Single Handle High-Efficiency Faucet, available in heights to match your sink selection (undermount, self-rimming, or vessel).

Finally, check out the showerhead in your tub. You may already have upgraded your showerhead once since 1992, when it became a requirement that showerheads use no more than 2.5 gallons per minute. But newer models allow you to save even more water. The average person showers for eight minutes each day, so switching to a high-efficiency showerhead can save a family of four more than 8,700 gallons of water each year and reduce the demand on their water heater, saving them enough energy to power their television for a year. The Nexus High-Efficiency Showerhead from TOTO offers an invigorating showering experience with a responsible 1.75 gallons per minute water volume being consumed - which is a 30 percent savings over the legal limit.

Freshening up your outdated plumbing fixtures is a great step toward creating a spa-like atmosphere in your bathroom. Not only will you be able to enjoy the comfortable and beautiful bath space, but you’ll also know that the changes are benefiting your pocketbook and the environment.

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