How can a minor bathroom remodel improve bathing safety? In today’s society, aging in place is becoming easier than ever. A few modifications to some of the rooms in a home can make it both a comfortable and safe place to age. Many new products are on the market to make rooms such as bathrooms much safer. Most modifications require a bathroom remodel, but not all of them.
Taking a bath or shower can be the most dangerous thing to do as mobility decreases and causes falls, or temperature sensitivity decreases and causes burns from hot water. To prevent falls, having a walk-in tub can be invaluable. These tubs have a door that opens to make it easier to get in and out of them and also have places to install grab bars. Some models even have built in chairs so that a person can sit in the shower without needing to worry about getting up and without having to worry about balance while taking a shower.
While preventing falls may require a full scale bathroom remodeling project, preventing burns does not require a remodel in most cases. That is because hot water safety tips and products have been developed to be used in an existing bathroom. However, if you are planning a bathroom remodeling project to help an elderly person age in place, the hot water safety products should also be included at the time of the remodel because it will make them easier to install and make sure that the hot water safety devices are not forgotten about.
To make sure all of the tips and products for this minor bathroom remodel are covered and to make a checklist easier for you to compile a list, let’s start at the source of the hot water and follow it to the end point: the shower. The water heater is where the water is heated and the temperature can usually be controlled by a thermostat on the heater itself. It is advised to heat water to at least 124oF to kill bacteria that can grow in the hot water tank. Setting the thermostat to 125oF-140oF is an ideal range because it keeps bacteria from spreading and also limits how hot the water will be when it comes out of the faucet. Here, the closer to 125oF mark the better because of how long it takes to sustain a sever burn at that temperature.
As the water flows through the pipes, valves direct the water to the proper location. A device called a Thermostatic Mixing Valve can be attached to the valve leading to the shower. This is the first part you will need for your minor bathroom remodel. The valve blends hot and cold water to keep the water temperature at a safe level even when the hot water entering from the water heater is too hot.
Lastly, the water comes out of the showerhead and as added safety a Temperature Activated Flow Reducer (TAFR) may be added to the shower head. These devices can also be added to bathroom or kitchen sinks. These devices screw into the existing faucet and stop water from flowing if it is above 117oF.
Whether a minor bathroom remodel project is under taken or not, a bathroom can be made much safer to age in place.
photo : Watts Water Technologies