Sanitary Plumbing

571 Timpson Place Bronx, NY 10455

Phone: 212-734-5000

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Published on
July 20th, 2023

Not Ready for a Remodel? Easy Bathroom Updates for Safety and Water Conservation

Efficiency and safety are two essentials of property ownership, helping reduce overall costs and liability. In-unit bathrooms are among the biggest water-wasters and risk factors in buildings, but many owners think extensive remodels are the only way to resolve problematic issues.

This is not always the case. Affordable and easy bathroom updates can improve bathroom safety and water conservation efforts. Discover nine ways to reduce water waste and improve bathroom safety in your building.

4 Easy Bathroom Updates for Water Conservation

1. WaterSense Faucets and Shower Heads

WaterSense bathroom fixtures meet the Environmental Protection Agency standards for performance and efficiency. Products bearing the WaterSense Label receive certification from an independent third party, ensuring no industry or manufacturer biases.

According to the EPA, fixtures with the WaterSense label are 20% more water efficient than average products. The products, such as faucets and shower heads, lead to measurable water savings and perform equally to less efficient counterparts.

Swapping standard bathroom fixtures for WaterSense products reduces utility costs for the building and individual units. Because of savings and environmental considerations, water-efficient installations are an incentive for new and existing tenants.

2. Pressure-Reducing Valve or Water Pressure Regulator

Easy bathroom updates can include installing a regulator valve on the building’s water supply lines. A pressure-reducing valve or a water pressure regulator helps control the water pressure coming into a building. By reducing higher pressure levels, the valve protects a property’s plumbing infrastructure.

In most NYC neighborhoods, pressure levels of between 50 and 60 PSI are sufficient and preferred, though this depends on the size and occupancy of a property. Municipal water supplies may enter a property at nearly three times the PSI necessary, which can harm plumbing systems.

Without a regulator, high PSI systems can exert too much stress on supply lines, connection points, fixtures, and appliances. The stress can cause leaks, cracks, or breaks, leading to potential water damage.

3. High-Efficiency Toilet

A standard toilet uses 1.6 gallons of water per flush, 20% more than a high-efficiency toilet that uses 1.28 gallons. While the 0.32 gallons may not seem like significant savings, the EPA suggests replacing a standard toilet with a high-efficiency model can save nearly 13,000 gallons of water annually or roughly $140 annually for the average household.

As with other easy bathroom updates, upgrading to a high-efficiency WaterSense toilet is a value-add for a property or unit. The toilets reduce utility costs and waste, acting as luxury amenities for tenants.

4. Regular Inspections

According to the EPA, average household leaks can waste 180 gallons of water weekly. Many leaks go unnoticed or may seem insignificant, but weekly water loss quickly adds up. By the end of a year, a small leak from a running toilet or cracked valve seal can add up to thousands of wasted gallons and hundreds of wasted dollars.

Regular plumbing inspections can help property owners and their tenants avoid unnecessary costs. Depending on the size and age of a building, Sanitary Plumbing recommends annual plumbing inspections to avoid leaks and other issues.

5 Easy Bathroom Updates for Safety

1. Anti-Scald Device

The International Association of Certified Home Inspectors states that scalds account for 20% of all burns and that scalding can lead to other injuries and complications, such as falls and heart attacks. An anti-scald valve is a small device attached to a unit’s hot water supply and controls its temperature, typically keeping it below 160°F. The valves can also reduce the water temperature fluctuations that can occur in a multi-unit property.

While the installation of an anti-scald device is straightforward, it is best to leave it to the professionals. Contact Sanitary Plumbing to discuss the valve and other safety features to protect building occupants.

2. Walk-In Tub or Shower

Walk-in tubs or showers are potentially easy bathroom updates for the right property. Senior living or retirement communities or apartment buildings can benefit from accessible bathing solutions.

Traditional bathtubs can represent a tripping hazard for aging citizens. A standard tub is between 14 and 16 inches high. If anyone, regardless of age, has mobility issues, this taller rim can represent an accessibility challenge and a safety risk.

While a walk-in tub is valuable, it may be cost-prohibitive and use more water than necessary for bathing. A low-profile, standing shower is less expensive while eliminating most obstacles to entry.

3. Taller Toilet

A standard toilet seat height is between 14.5 and 16 inches, whereas a comfort height toilet is between 17 and 19 inches. Lower toilets can force users to cock their knees to the sides, causing discomfort. Also, depending on the individual’s height, the lower profile may cut off circulation; the resulting numbness can lead to falling as the user stands.

A taller or chair-height toilet can improve blood circulation and allow the user to sit in a more relaxed and natural position. Ultimately, the taller option reduces the risk of numbness and discomfort.

4. Grab Bars

Grab bars — also referred to as handrails, shower or toilet bars, safety rails, or secure rails — are affordable and easy bathroom updates to improve safety. The bars, mounted to walls, ceilings, or floors, offer support for individuals with limited mobility, strength, or balance, helping them maneuver through the bathroom.

If installing grab bars in an apartment building, property owners should familiarize themselves with the requirements of the Americans With Disabilities Act. The law dictates bar diameter and length requirements depending on placement.

5. Non-Slip Flooring

Bathrooms are among the wettest rooms in an apartment or house. The humidity following a shower or bath can cause the flooring to be damp and slick, increasing the risks of slip-and-fall injuries. Property owners should ensure that all building bathrooms have non-slip flooring.

The most affordable and popular no-slip options include porcelain and ceramic tile. It is best to look for a textured tile to provide more grip for tenants.

Easy Bathroom Updates and Installations

Contact Sanitary Plumbing To Learn More

Easy bathroom updates can improve the efficiency and safety of a building without the expense and hassle of large-scale remodels. Contact Sanitary Plumbing at 212-734-5000 to discuss more upgrade options or to schedule a plumbing inspection to root out potential leaks and repairs.

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