(ran HP, HS, HC editions)
Question: I'm tired of my old shower and I want to install one of the new solid-state, four-head shower/body spray massage kits. Are these easy to install and are there any other new low-cost bathroom water savers?
Answer: Bathrooms are the major water consumer in most homes. There are many new low-cost, do-it-yourself bathroom water- saver products that quickly pay back their cost and improve convenience.
The solid-state, multihead shower/massage kit is a tall, thin unit that mounts against the shower wall. All of the plumbing and controls are self-contained for simple installation. A 10 push-button control panel is built in.
The shower/massage kit includes one overhead waterfall, two (high and low) oscillating and pulsating body spray nozzles and one three-way adjustable pulsating hydro-massage showerhead. Buttons switch among the heads and nozzles. The buttons provide all combinations of the spray heads.
There are many new low-flow standard and pulsating showerheads available. The price of some good quality metal ones is less than $10. These high-tech designs create turbulence and air mixing for a forceful shower. Some have nine spray patterns.
One new device, an automatic faucet control, screws on and replaces the aerator on a bathroom faucet. A short rod hangs down to start and stop the water. Leave the hot and cold (temperature adjusted) handles turned on. Nudge the rod with your hand or cup for a trickle. For full flow, push the rod further.
A similar convenient faucet water saver, Flip Aerator, allows you to adjust the water from a trickle to full flow with a short flip lever. Adjusting the flow does not effect the hot/cold mix (water temperature). These devices save water and time when shaving or washing. Adjust the water temperature once and it stays constant. These are ideal for people with arthritis who have problems turning handles. These protect against children walking away with the faucet on and also stop drips from leaky faucets.
A Zippy Rinse kit is a decorative hand-washing basin and water spout that sets on the toilet tank lid. Another model includes a complete replacement lid with a built-in water spout. When the toilet is flushed, the incoming fresh water first flows out the high spout into the basin for hand washing.
From the basin, it drains back into the toilet tank as always. This is ideal for children who don't often take the time to wash their hands or for incapacitated or arthritic people.
Write for Update Bulletin No. 721 listing 17 manufacturers of new types of do-it-yourself multihead shower kits, low-flow showerheads, faucet water-saver and convenience devices and tank lid hand-washing kits, prices and installation instructions. Please include $2 and a business-size SASE and mail to the address at the end of this column.
Cleaning the air cleaner
Question: I have a high-efficiency electronic air cleaner in my central air conditioner. What is the proper method to clean the filters?
Answer: An electronic air cleaner is very effective and does not impede air flow through your ducts as some other air filters can. When the filters (called cells or elements) collect dirt as they clean the air, they gradually lose their cleaning effectiveness.
Read the manufacturer's instructions first. One cleaning method is to place the cells in an automatic dishwasher on the bottom rack with the arrows upward. Also, hand-cleaning them in a strong, hot detergent solution works.
James Dulley is an engineer. Send questions to James Dulley, The Sensible Home, the Times, 6906 Royalgreen Drive, Cincinnati, OH 45244.
His new 176-page book, Solar Made Simple, is for the do-it-yourself homeowner on a limited budget. Included are lists of 340 manufacturers of new solar products, 20 do-it-yourself projects and eight floor plan layouts of passive solar houses. Order the book ($11.95 includes shipping) from James Dulley at the address listed above. Allow two weeks for delivery.