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Tech Home #1: Bathrooms

The bathroom is a good place to start for a high-tech home.  Everyone uses a bathroom, everyone has one. The overall goal of a smart bathroom is to reduce water consumption, increase comfortability, increase usefulness, and to improve health/wellness.  Before getting started, let me provide a listing of topics: Toilets, Smart Shower Controls, Steam Showers, Smart Mirrors, and Other.



Toilets

There are a number of different types of smart toilets on the market. A standard low water use toilet uses 1.28 GPF (gallons per flush) and comes with either a standard or elongated toilet bowl.  The new smart toilets may feature a bidet option, low LED lighting, heated seats, UV sanitation, warm air drying (to reduce need for toilet paper), autoflush, improved flushing to prevent clogs, and special surface materials to prevent odor and stains.


Brands: Kohler, American Standard, Toto, Swiss Madison




Smart Shower Controls

Smart shower controls offer programmable water temperature controls that you can have preprogrammed.  You may have a lower temperature for washing your dog or your preferred shower temp for “after the gym” or “long day at work”.  However you want to consider it.  These can range from fairly simple to fairly complex controls (see Thermasol).  You may see additional features such as time and weather, music/bluetooth options, and more.


Brands: Moen, Kohler, Grohe, Thermasol




Steam Showers

Steam showers work as an indoor wet sauna and as a shower.  They have been around for a while, but aren’t the most popular - probably because of the price.  Steam showers have a lot of health benefits, especially if you are in a cooler climate.  They are not difficult for a plumber to install.  They range from $2000-$9000 and typical options are: steam shower, steam shower/tub, kits for enclosed showers (cheaper), and luxury (often have IR saunas, expensive).


Kits for Enclosed Showers

On the cheaper end of things, which can actually be $1000-$2500 range, you can get a kit for an enclosed shower.  You’ll want one with a seat built in or with room for a wooden stool.  You have to tear open a wall to have the kit installed, but once it’s done all you have to do is press a button and step into the shower.  It typically doesn’t have a ton of cool features, just basic steaming capabilities.


Brands: SteamSpa, Kohler, Mr.Steam, Steamist, Thermasol, Amerec, Steam Planet


Steam Shower and Steam Shower/Tub Combo

The steam shower can function as a steamer or as a shower.  The steam shower/tub combination is similar to the steam shower, but features a possible bathtub use option.  These often have a radio feature built in.


Brands: Thermasol, Mesa, Athena, Steam Planet


Luxury

The luxury models often have a steam shower with an attached IR sauna.  There are also luxury versions of a typical steam shower and the steam shower/tub.  They will often feature chromotherapy, bluetooth speakers, etc.


Brands: Aquapeutics



Smart Mirrors

Smart mirrors for the bathroom have been increasing in improvements and reliability in recent years.  These are obviously a standard mirror, but tend to have features such as clock, weather, bluetooth music, embedded lights, embedded video, demister, makeup mirror, and medicine cabinet options.


Brands: Artforma, QAIO, Hilo, Bonnlo



Other

The “other” category is for little doo-dads that you might want to consider for your bathroom space.  These are more like everyday items without getting too into specific products.

  • Charcoal toothbrush and toothpaste - Charcoal helps to remove toxins and stains.  You can find regular priced toothbrushes and toothpaste with charcoal at your preferred grocery store.

  • Sonic toothbrushes - You may prefer an electronic, sonic toothbrush.  Depends on if you feel that it gives you a better clean.

  • Waterpik - This is a water flosser.  If you hate dealing with regular floss, this might be an option for you.

  • Sutera Bath Mat - The Sutera bath mat uses Diatomaceous Earth for rapid drying and slip resistance.  It’s chemical free.

  • Silver-Thread Towels - These are just like normal towels, only they have some infused silver ions in the threading.  The benefits of silver are mildew reduction, natural antibacterial, and odor elimination.  Common brands are Sutera, Mizu, and Sima Ultra.

  • Smart Scale - Smart scales are useful for monitoring more than just your weight.  You can obtain an idea of your body fat %, lean body mass, and other body compositional readings.  Don’t opt for the cheapest on the market.  Research the scales so you get something that is reputable for reliability and accuracy, otherwise you’re throwing your money away.  Recommended brands are Withings, Fitbit, Garmin, Eufy, Renfro, Wyze.

  • Foaming Soap Dispenser - Whether you get a direct-use foaming soap or an electronic refillable dispenser, you’ll find that typically handwashing is increased with foaming soap.  Weird huh?  I guess people really like foaming soap.

  • Water Assistant - A water assistant can be hooked up to detect water leakage.  You might want to consider it for the bathroom, kitchen, or anywhere water could leak.  Recommended brands are Kohler, Phyn, and Stream Labs Water.


Readers: If I missed something, please let me know. I'm always interested in learning about new products. Also, if you are have suggestions for the next post, which will be on Kitchens, please send me an email.

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