Technology is everywhere in our lives, including the bathroom, the kitchen, and in the pipes that run throughout our homes.
This post looks at the role technology is taking in the plumbing department. As homeowners look to spruce up their homes, now is the perfect time to look at, and consider, the latest plumbing innovations, which are designed to:
- Make the kitchen and bathroom more comfortable.
- To make living spaces more sanitary.
- To reduce a home’s impact on the environment.
This information is presented to give homeowners a basic understanding of recent plumbing innovations as they consider service, repair, and upgrades working with a Decatur or Hartselle, AL plumber or plumbing contractor.
If you, or your Decatur or Hartselle, AL plumber, think technology advancements in plumbing are a fad and are not as important as what’s going on in computers, networking, the Internet, or even smart homes, think again.
According to plumbing industry resources, the plumbing category is expected to see steady growth over the next several years as homeowners continue to update their homes, which often have plumbing fixtures and appliances upwards of 10 years old.
In fact, one research outfit, Freedonia Group, expects plumbing fixtures and fittings to advance as a market 6.3 percent per year through 2017 to $12 billion. The residential market will account for more than three-fifths of the demand and will see the most rapid growth.
Because of their increased use of technology like smartphones, tablets, and specialized applications, homeowners are smarter about new technologies and are more comfortable using it. Plumbing industry experts and retailers expect technology to continue invading homes due to renovations, aging plumbing fixtures and appliances, and water conservation awareness. Often any upgrades made, especially including the latest technologies or aesthetic trends, helps add value to the home.
What are Plumbing Technologies?
This post is intended to get homeowners started, to increase awareness, and to help them discuss renovations and upgrades with their Decatur or Hartselle, AL plumber or plumbing contractor. It is not meant to be an exhaustive list. We will cover some of these products, and introduce others, in future posts to keep consumers informed.
Technology adds personal comfort.
Many of the newest technologies in the bathroom and kitchen are designed to add personal comfort.
What does that mean?
In one example, homeowners stream live music or news and information into their showers with wireless technology.
What does this have to do with actual plumbing — the delivery of fresh water and takeaway of waste or wastewater? Actually, nothing. You will not need to call your Decatur or Hartselle, AL plumber or plumbing contractor for this one.
“When we first started to see new technologies in plumbing, whether they actually impacted a home’s plumbing or were mostly cosmetic, most plumbers took a wait and see attitude,” said a longtime Decatur and Hartselle, AL plumber. “It was like, ‘Let the other guy install it first, see if it works.’ But now, those who waited are playing catch up.
“If your plumber is as good as he says he is, he stays on top of everything in the industry,” the Decatur and Hartselle, AL plumber said. “He should be able to help you integrate technology into your bathroom or kitchen no matter what it is.”
Other comfort or convenience examples include:
- LED lights integrated into toilet bowls to illuminate the commode for nighttime use.
- LED light rings in bathroom sinks that glow red or blue to indicate water temperature.
- Toilets with self-closing, motion-sensor lids.
Eco-friendly and Green Plumbing Products
Environmentally friendly plumbing technology is also growing in consumer interest and actually has more to do with plumbing than streaming music via WiFi into the shower. The are designed with one thing in mind:
- Reduce water usage over time without compromising day to day use.
In one recent industry survey, nearly 90 percent of the home improvement product retailers provide green products in their plumbing category. Nearly 50 percent of the retailers said that customers were coming into their stores requesting green, money-saving products.
Examples of Green Plumbing Products
- Dishwashers. Manufacturers are continuing to develop products that meet higher efficiency standards to save water, with some using water from the rinse cycle for the next wash. An average family washes dishes four times a week and could save 700 gallons each year by using a “smart” dishwasher. Homeowners will want to work with a Decatur or Harstselle, AL plumber or plumbing contractor for the selection and installation of such products.
- Sprinkler systems. New sprinkler systems attach to controllers that use WIFi to download a week’s worth of weather forecasts, adjusting the sprinklers accordingly. Finding ways to conserve, and in some cases reuse water, is gaining in importance and consumer interest. Builder Online suggest that the cost of water is increasing six to seven percent annually.
- Greywater recycling systems. Greywater systems use water from showers, sinks, washing machines, and dishwashers that is relatively clean and contain very few pathogens. This water, unlike black water (which comes from toilets), requires very little treatment before it can be used for non-drinking purposes such as toilet flushing and lawn watering. The cost of installing a greywater system, which could include the assistance of a Decatur or Hartselle, AL plumber, ranges from $500 to $2,500, according to industry figures.
Homeowners are also interested in healthier homes, no matter where the improvements come from — their heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems and even plumbing. They want more hygienic living spaces.
Being able to operate toilets and faucets without touching is more than just a gimmick. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, germs that cause the flu and other illnesses can survive on hard metal surfaces for two hours or more.
Examples of Healthier Plumbing Products
- Touch-free faucets. These are becoming an option more homeowners are considering as touch-free allows users to have a hands-free experience while avoiding the spread of germs and contaminants.
- Touchless toilets. These allow users to wave their hands above the toilet to flush it. After they’ve finished, the toilet lid automatically closes without slamming.
- Filtration systems. These include point-of-use systems to point-of-entry systems that treat the entire home from the moment the water enters the house. Consumers are beginning to look for filtered, conditioned, treated water throughout the home. These improvements may require the assistance of a Decatur or Hartselle, AL plumber.