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Innovative Bathroom Technology You Can Use

November 13, 2017

Technology has truly transformed the way we live in our homes. Not only can homeowners customize the look of their homes, but they can now have an environment unique to their needs. From home automation to smart technology, you now have more options than ever.

This includes the bathroom as well. There have been new innovations in shower, toilet and bath technology that can truly help you create an oasis all your own. If you’re thinking about upgrading your bathroom, here are a few bathroom tech trends you must know.

Home Automation Costs

Home Automation Costs

For many, the cost is a huge factor that will help decide what upgrades to make in their space. Some smart home upgrades are cheaper than others and might not require an installation. However, anything that deals with electrical work or plumbing should be done by a pro.

Smart Faucet

Smart Faucets

The latest in faucet design allows for the user to be completely touch-free, making it a more hygienic experience and keeping your bathroom cleaner. Touch-free faucets turn the water on when it senses hands near the faucet. The Delta Touch2O faucet not only has touch-free features, but it can also be turned on and off traditionally, or with a tap on the top of the faucet itself.

Digital Shower Control-1

Digital Shower Control

How many times have you stepped into the shower, only to be shocked by either extremely hot or cold water? What if I told you that there’s a tool where you never have to worry about that again?

Take control of your shower with a digital system. You can set your water to the exact temperature you want every time. You also can save money this way, as it uses less water to find your desired temperature.

Automated Bathroom Lighting

In the middle of the night, the last thing you want to do is get up to turn off the bathroom light that was left on. Or, for most people, you’re looking for a softer light in the space so you can relax. Automated lighting controls are just what you need for your bathroom. There are many varieties you can choose from with motion sensor controls or even ways to use your phone to dim the lighting.


Automated Floor Heating Systems

While radiant flooring is nothing new, the technology for it has improved to make you even more comfortable. Imagine stepping out of your shower to a perfectly warm floor. Much like a smart thermostat, smart radiant floor accessories work over Wi-Fi to change the temperature from your smartphone and monitor your energy usage. It also learns your habits so you can have comfortable flooring on your schedule.

Smart Toilet

Smart Toilet

When it comes to toilet innovations, there are plenty to account for. From water-saving features to cleanliness, a smart toilet must have it all. The Ove Collection Smart Toilet has everything you could ever need and more. From a seat warmer to an automatic flush with a deodorizer. This is the ultimate of smart technology for the bathroom.

Sound Systems

Smart Sound Systems

You may not have considered it for this space, but being able to listen to your favorite music while enjoying a shower or bath is truly a luxury. There are many smart sound systems that can help you listen to your favorite tunes with ease. The Amazon Echo and Google Home devices can both play music when you ask it to, making it easy to skip to your favorite song handsfree when you’re singing in the shower.

Smart Bathroom Scale

Smart Bathroom Scales

Now more than ever, people are seeing the value of tracking their health daily. Self-care and weight loss have been made easy with apps that can directly connect to your phone and monitor your progress. For those engaged in obtaining and maintaining a healthy weight, a smart bathroom scale can be just the addition you need. With displays beyond just your weight, you can learn and track your body-fat percentage and set goals. Some also connect with an app on your phone, so it’s easy to send the data and keep track of your progress.


Smart technology and automation is being integrated into many rooms throughout the home. Don’t let your bathroom get excluded. There are plenty of ways you can start to integrate smart technology and create a more comfortable bathroom for you and your family.

6 Steps to a Cozy Winter Home

October 24, 2017

6 Steps to a Cozy Winter Home

When plummeting temperatures and cruel storms combine to make the outdoors forbidding, everyone takes refuge indoors. There’s only one potential problem: If aggravations like drafts and cold-to-the-touch surfaces plague your home at this time of year, then it’s going to be a long winter indeed. Looking to make your home a comfier, cozier refuge this winter? Your choices run the gamut from the quick and easy to the truly transformative. For starters, think about simply adding accessories that either literally provide warmth or foster a welcoming, intimate environment. Alternatively, to make a big jump from chilly and bleak to homey and snug, pull out all the stops and put in radiant floor heating. Which approach makes the most sense for your home depends on a number of factors; there’s no single right solution that suits every situation.

  1. Set the Scene

    Relax your interior decorating scheme. It’s wise to consider more sweeping improvements, but don’t ignore the power of modest details to help foster a cozy ambience. Start by exchanging bright, cool overhead lights for the subdued glow of table and floor lamps. Meanwhile, cover bare floors with area rugs, and outfit seating areas with blankets and throw pillows. And if your home suffers from uneven heating, consider altering your furniture arrangement to bring the seating areas closer to the source of heat, be it a radiator, baseboard unit, or forced-air vent.


  2. Get with the Program

    Install a programmable thermostat. Budget-conscious homeowners seek any opportunity to spend less on heating. The tricky part is to save without compromising comfort. Here, a programmable thermostat can be a tremendous ally, automatically helping you achieve two things at once—toasty temperatures and manageable costs. Simply set the unit to run on your family’s schedule, so the heat will turn itself up when you wake up in the morning or return home at night, and back down when you go to sleep or leave the house for the day. You may never feel any difference, but you’ll probably notice the difference in your bills.


  3. Button Up

    Seal doors and windows. Drafts are the enemy of a cozy home, as nothing quite so quickly steals comfort as a jolt of cold air. Most of the time, dodging drafts means plugging up any cracks and crevices around openings to the outdoors. Caulk and weatherstripping commonly remedy such issues, but direct measures like door sweeps and so-called “draft snakes” also do the trick. To cut down further on heat loss from windows, you may even decide to put up plastic insulation film or, for that matter, curtains. First, determine where exactly drafts are entering your house; the locations of the problem areas may suggest their own solutions.


  4. Be a Heat-Keeper

    Insulate the attic. Insulation helps stop drafts throughout the house. In the attic specifically, however, insulation provides an additional benefit. Here, it works to prevent the common phenomenon of heat escaping through the roof. As insulating the attic tends to be easy, at least compared with doing so elsewhere, there’s no good reason to hesitate. You may even be able to handle the job yourself. The benefits are twofold: In the short term, you can expect a more comfortable indoor temperature, and in the long run, you can look forward to lower monthly bills. It’s a no-brainer!


  5. Play Detective

    Evaluate your current heating system. Like so much else in your home, your HVAC system requires regular maintenance in order to perform at its peak. For that reason, it’s only prudent to have the furnace inspected every year, ideally before winter even begins. If yours is a forced-air system, consider hiring a specialist to assess the ductwork as well. Notoriously prone to heat loss, ducts are often leaky enough to compromise energy efficiency by as much as 50 percent. That may be one reason why, even when your thermostat is set to a toasty temperature, you’re still uncomfortable.

  6. Make the Switch

    Floor heating

    Consider radiant heating. Some homeowners choose radiant heating because the efficient technology requires no leaky ductwork. But most make the switch because, of all the options, radiant creates the coziest and most pleasant at-home environment. With their cyclical, stop-and-start operation, forced-air systems swing temperatures from chilly to stifling.

    Ready to upgrade your heating system? Contact us today!

    Jim Lavallee Plumbing
    Serving Eastern Massachusetts and the Boston area
    Phone: Toll-free (888) 884-4122

Free-Standing Tubs: Pros and Cons

October 11, 2017

To take the edge off the pressures of daily life, many Americans are cultivating ways to relax and de-stress in their own homes by turning their bathrooms into spa-like sanctuaries. New bathroom technologies—from steam showers, body sprays, and hydro-massage shower heads to towel warmers, chromatherapy components, and radiant-heat floors—have emerged in recent years to soothe tired muscles, relax the body, and calm the mind.


Central to many of today’s spa-inspired baths are freestanding soaking tubs, which have replaced the Jacuzzis and sunken garden bathtubs that were ubiquitous in design a few years ago. These old-style soaking tubs forego the noise and vigor of bubbling jets in favor of a deep, quiet soak. The tubs also come in a wide range of materials and finishes, such as wood, copper, and enamel, and often feature accents like old-fashioned claw feet or organic, modern shapes.


Kaya free-standing resin tub at Signature Hardware

According to New York designer Kent Brasloff, vice president of programs for the New York chapter of the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA), free-standing tubs have largely been a high-ticket item but are now appearing more and more in the middle market. “For those with the additional space, they make a nice change by adding a sculptural element,” says Brasloff, who notes that these tubs are generally better in a non-urban environment due to space and weight restrictions. “This type of tub is a tricky fit in apartments, but in larger condos and single-family homes they can add a feeling of luxury and the sophistication of ‘spa,’” he says.

Brasloff suggests choosing a tub made of a material suitable for your space. Cast iron tubs are extremely heavy, for example, while those made of resin and fiberglass can be light by comparison. “Cast iron, however, retains heat better than any other product on the market and is available in a wide range of colors—it is also among the best at resisting scratching, fading, and chipping,” Brasloff notes. “Fiberglass, on the other hand, is the least expensive option with regard to price and is very easy to install,” although fiberglass products have a “higher risk of scratching and fading, as well as cracking.”


Herbeau Medicis tub in weathered copper and satin nickel. Photo: stylehive.com

Acrylic tends to crack and discolor over time but does provide a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors, pleasing to many tastes and wallet-friendly, Brasloff adds. “Wood and stone are both bold choices that make a distinctive style statement, yet both reflect top-of-the-market pricing and require a high level of maintenance to retain their beauty.”

Relatively new to the market are solid surface materials that retain heat well; come in an endless variety of shapes, sizes, and colors; and can be easily repaired. “Prices for these tend toward the high end,” says Brasloff. “And you can also expect fairly long lead times with this product.”

Old-fashioned copper and brass tubs conduct heat at extremely high temperatures, are high-maintenance and extremely expensive, but they can offer either vintage or contemporary decorative impact and provide a stunning focal point.

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