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posted: 7/10/2011 12:01 AM

Ask the plumber: Efficient fixtures may add extra bathroom option

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  • Scripps Howard News Service/DIY NetworkWith high-efficiency plumbing fixtures, you may be able to add a second lavatory sink.

      Scripps Howard News Service/DIY NetworkWith high-efficiency plumbing fixtures, you may be able to add a second lavatory sink.

By Ed Del Grande

Q. My wife and I purchased our first home and we're remodeling our old-style master bathroom. We plan on replacing all the present plumbing fixtures, but because of budget requirements we are leaving the existing water and drain lines in place. We have room to add a second lavatory sink to make a double vanity for comfort, but we only have -inch water lines to the bathroom. Can adding this extra sink be possible with our existing water and drain lines?

A. As always, the final plumbing decisions on what can and can't be done for plumbing jobs will be up to your local codes and local plumbing inspectors.

I suggest you work with your plumber, or if you're planning to change the fixtures yourself, meet with inspectors when you pull your permits. The good thing working with a licensed master plumber is he can usually take care of all the paperwork and go over the job with inspectors.

What you do have going for you is nowadays we have a lot of high-efficiency plumbing fixtures to choose from as opposed to "standard"-type fixtures. High-efficiency fixtures use less water. If they carry the new "EPA Water Sense" label, they have been tested to operate at a top performance level. So, basically, you'll use less water per fixture, which may allow you to add the extra sink to your present system.

For instance: Standard faucets can use 2.2 gallons per minute while high-efficiency faucets can use 1.5 gpm. Standard shower heads use about 2.5 gpm and efficient heads may use 1.75 gpm.

Finally, standard toilets use 1.6 gallons per flush, and the new high-efficiency toilets can use 1.3 gpf or less.

• Master contractor and plumber Ed Del Grande is author of "Ed Del Grande's House Call" and hosts TV shows on Scripps Networks and Visit or write


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