Q. I've seen advertising about the "new" touchless kitchen faucets available for home use. A few years back, I had my plumber install a touchless faucet and found it hard to control. I have since replaced it, but I'm willing to give it another try if you can give me some good news.
What new changes have they made and how do they work?
A. First off, many food experts have told me that touchless-faucet technology in the kitchen is a good idea, especially when handling raw foods. So there is a good incentive for having touchless technology in the kitchen. However, years ago, the early residential touchless faucets being used were basically commercial faucets adapted for home use, and they did not get a very warm welcome. Then, faucet manufacturers had a great idea: Instead of trying to make a touchless faucet work like a kitchen faucet, they started designing kitchen faucets that had a touchless option.
This now allows the user to set the desired temperature and flow as normal, but when a hand is waived over the sensor, the faucet will stop. When activated again, the flow and temperature settings stay the same until the user manually turns off the faucet. This allows constant on-off touchless operation of the faucet while working in the kitchen.
Bottom line: With the new changes, I can tell you that users of the new technology that I've talked to are now giving touchless kitchen faucets a big thumbs up!
Q. We have a large closet under our stairs that we want to turn into a powder room. Even though it is a big for a closet, we know the space will be tight for a toilet and sink. We'll need to add a little storage area as well, so any space-saving advice will be welcome. What can you recommend to make this small bathroom a little more comfortable?
A. My first bit of advice is to check with your local building inspector before you start. Issues like permits, ventilation, electrical and plumbing connections may need to be addressed up front.
Now, back to your question. Here are my three quick recommendations for small bathroom installations:
1. Choose a space-saving toilet. Round-front toilets are a little smaller than standard toilets, and that extra space can allow the door to be opened into the bathroom. A wall-hung residential toilet with a recessed water tank can save even more space.
2. Consider wall-hung sinks. Floor area is the key in making a tight bathroom easier to move around in. Small wall-hung bathroom sinks are the way to go. You can even have your plumber hang the sink a little higher so you don't have to bend over as much.
3. Choose a light color, such as white or slightly off-white, for fixtures. The more light you get bouncing off your small bathroom surfaces, the more comfortable the space can feel.
Bottom line: Adding a lot of light to a small bathroom is a very bright idea!
• Master plumber Ed Del Grande is the author of "Ed Del Grande's House Call" and hosts TV and Internet shows. Visit eddelgrande.com or write firstname.lastname@example.org. Always consult local contractors and codes.
Scripps Howard News Service