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What Drives the Cost of a Bathroom Renovation

Recently, a prospective client called me and asked if we will do just a bathroom renovation. I thought that was an interesting question, since bathroom renovation is exactly one of the services we offer. As it turns out, not many design/build companies will take on only a bathroom unless it is part of a larger remodel. Contractors avoid these smaller projects because they are hard to schedule and less profitable than other remodels. Clients wonder, why is a small room like a bathroom such an investment of time and money? Let’s take a look.

What drives the cost of a bathroom renovation?
Prices across the country will vary quite a bit. The National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) reports that homeowners spent a mean of $32,000 renovating their bathrooms in 2019, roughly twice what they spent on redoing a guest bath (about $18,000) or a powder room (about $12,000).
Another NKBA study released at the end of 2020 revealed that the average primary bathroom spend over the past year was between $20,000 and $30,0000, with two-thirds of the finished projects showing an increase in size over the previous layout. The most popular anticipated option for layout change is to remove bathtubs to increase the size of the shower.

How many trades can you fit in one bathroom?
Not many. Bathrooms, even before social distancing, only allow one trade at a time to work no matter what the size of the room. You just can’t have subs working on top of each other. Scheduling becomes a fine balance of giving everyone time to complete their appointed tasks and keeping the job moving. Coordinating multiple trades is like choreographing a dance troupe. There are a lot of moving parts.

Building Materials and the Bathroom Renovation
The cost of most everything has skyrocketed, and building materials have not escaped price increases. Simple items like lumber have more than tripled over the last 12 months. Materials like sheet rock, windows, insulation and even the pipes have been impacted by price. Building supplies can by hard to come by, and delays inevitably happen these days.

Tile, Tubs and Everything In Between
Remember that gorgeous oversized freestanding tub with the sexy tub filler that holds a glass of wine? Is your client dreaming of indulging in lavender-infused water and a session of chromatherapy? Be prepared to allocate $5,000 for that indulgence. Luxury has its price.

The Perfect Freestanding Bathtub
Showers with multiple heads, temperature-balanced water controls, built-in benches – as well as the added benefit of steam – are all to die for. While attractive, they drive up the costs of not just the fittings themselves but also the plumbing installation costs. However, if you do specify a freestanding tub, make sure the hot water heater is large enough to accommodate the water consumption. Newer tubs with air systems can be ordered with inline heaters to keep the water at a comfortable temperature. This feature eliminates constantly adding hot water and will save your client money and frustration.

Choosing Tile
Tile materials are also available in every style and every price point. Marble and glass tiles are generally more expensive than porcelain tile and will cost more to install. Pinterest is full of tile style ideas, but those beautiful images could carry a hefty price tag. Complex patterns add drama and beauty but increase the cost of installation. Intricate designs also require more waste, because there are the extra materials needed to create those beautiful patterns and designs.
I advise my clients to create a portfolio of rooms they would love to live with. Once you have a design plan in place, you will be able to help them make informed decisions about what cabinet type is right for the bathroom renovation.

April 2, 2021
Sharon L Sherman is the founder of Thyme & Place Design, Thymeless Home Decor and Thymeless Well Being in New Jersey.
https://www.kbbonline.com/news/blog/what-drives-the-cost-of-a-bathroom-renovation/?utm_source=email&utm_medium=mc&utm_campaign=107236

Showering daily — is it necessary?

Do you shower or bathe daily? If you do, you’re not alone.

Approximately two-thirds of Americans shower daily. In Australia it’s over 80%. But in China, about half of people report bathing only twice a week.

In the US, the daily shower tends to start around puberty and becomes lifelong. But have you ever stopped to ask yourself why?

Perhaps your answer is: “because it’s healthier than showering less often.” Think again. For many — perhaps most — the daily shower is more about habit and societal norms than health. Perhaps that’s why the frequency of bathing or showering varies so much from country to country.

Are there reasons to shower every day?

Besides considering it healthier, people may choose to shower daily for a number of reasons, including:

  • concerns about body odor
  • help waking up
  • a morning routine that includes working out.

Each of these has merit, especially considering that personal or work relationships can be jeopardized by complaints about body odor or personal hygiene. But what is considered acceptable in this regard varies from culture to culture. And some (perhaps a lot) of what we do when it comes to cleaning habits is influenced heavily by marketing. Ever notice that directions on shampoo bottles often say “lather, rinse, repeat”? There is no compelling reason to wash your hair twice with each shower, but it does sell more shampoo if everyone follows these directions.

When it comes to concerns about health, however, it’s not at all clear that a daily shower accomplishes much. In fact, a daily shower may even be bad for your health.

What are the health impacts of showering (or bathing) every day?

Normal, healthy skin maintains a layer of oil and a balance of “good” bacteria and other microorganisms. Washing and scrubbing removes these, especially if the water is hot. As a result:

  • Skin may become dry, irritated, or itchy.
  • Dry, cracked skin may allow bacteria and allergens to breach the barrier skin is supposed to provide, allowing skin infections and allergic reactions to occur.
  • Antibacterial soaps can actually kill off normal bacteria. This upsets the balance of microorganisms on the skin and encourages the emergence of hardier, less friendly organisms that are more resistant to antibiotics.
  • Our immune systems need a certain amount of stimulation by normal microorganisms, dirt, and other environmental exposures in order to create protective antibodies and “immune memory.” This is one reason why some pediatricians and dermatologists recommend against daily baths for kids. Frequent baths or showers throughout a lifetime may reduce the ability of the immune system to do its job.

And there could be other reasons to lose your enthusiasm for the daily shower: some people suggest that the water with which we clean ourselves may contain salts, heavy metals, chlorine, fluoride, pesticides, and other chemicals. These may cause problems, too.

The case for showering less

Over cleaning your body is probably not a compelling health issue. Yes, you could be making your skin drier than it would be with less frequent showering. This is not a public health menace. However, daily showers do not improve your health, could cause skin problems or other health issues — and, importantly, they waste a lot of water. Also, the oils, perfumes, and other additives in shampoos, conditioners, and soaps may cause problems of their own, such as allergic reactions (not to mention their cost).

While there is no ideal frequency, experts suggest that showering several times per week is plenty for most people (unless you are grimy, sweaty, or have other reasons to shower more often). Short showers (lasting three or four minutes) with a focus on the armpits and groin may suffice.

If you’re like me, it may be hard to imagine skipping the daily shower. But if you’re doing it for your health, it may be a habit worth breaking.

Robert H. Shmerling, MD
Harvard Health Publishing
JUNE 26, 2019
https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/showering-daily-is-it-necessary-2019062617193

HOW OFTEN SHOULD I SHOWER DURING QUARANTINE?

With plenty of time and nowhere to go, I’m not sure if I should be showering constantly or not at all.

During quarantine, there are no rules. You can have a meeting with your coworkers while pantsless. You can eat a box of Cheez-Its for breakfast. You can recreate the entire theatrical production of Jesus Christ Superstar with cardboard puppets made out of said Cheez-It boxes. Basically, you don’t have to adhere to most of the usual societal norms that help convince people you’re a regular human. Showering is one of those norms. 

Right now, no one is gonna make you shower. And if you’re not exercising or going outside, you might find that you don’t need to shower as often as you might have before the coronavirus pandemic. Then again, what else is there to do? At least showering is a constructive activity that tricks us into a fleeting sense of normalcy. 

I, for one, am showering more often than usual. Not only do I have time for quick exercise videos on YouTube, but I also have time in the shower to shave my legs, exfoliate, deep condition my hair and whatever other more luxurious steps I might skip in my ordinarily utilitarian cleansing routine. Turns out showering is kind of nice when you’ve got nowhere to be! 

But that’s all just for fun. Is there any practical reasoning to determine the right number of showers to be taking right now? I’m supposed to be washing my hands more often –– does that same rule apply to my extended body?

First things first, you can’t get coronavirus if you (and those who live with you) aren’t going outside. Plain and simple. Showering is optional in that regard. If you have to leave your home, that changes things a bit. According to the World Health Organization, hot showers or baths won’t do anything to help prevent you from getting COVID-19 — there’s been some speculation that hot showers boost immunity or raise your body temperature in a way that kills bacteria, but that’s not true, so there’s no coronavirus-related need to shower before leaving the home. 

Showering when you get home, however, is a good idea. Showering with soap and water will remove the bacteria from your skin in the same way washing your hands would. The virus can only be transmitted via your eyes, nose and mouth — you won’t get sick if, say, your knee touches a surface with the virus on it. But if you touch your knee and then touch your nose, you might get sick. Regardless of whether or not you’re a pro at not touching your face, you probably just don’t want any chance of carrying the virus around, and getting all soapy will help prevent that. MIT Technology Review recommends that you rinse off after every outing, and ditto for your kids. They also recommend washing your clothes or leaving coats and shoes out in the sun after every outing, too. 

But what about showering for other aspects of your health? Showering too often, especially with strong soaps and hot water, can dry out your skin. Not only can dry skin be painful and itchy, it can also trigger flare-ups of skin conditions like psoriasis or eczema. Not showering enough can have similar effects and lead to ailments like dermatitis neglecta, caused by a buildup of dead skin cells. This typically takes more than a week of not bathing, though. It’s ultimately up to you (and perhaps those you share space with) how often you should shower to keep your skin comfortable — this is usually somewhere between once a day to two or three times a week. It’s really a matter of preference and how active you are: If you feel the need to shower multiple times a day, that’s on you. The more often you shower, though, the shorter and less hot they should be for the sake of your skin. 

But if there were ever a time to experiment with getting that water bill down, it’s now. You might even find that your hair and skin look better with fewer showers. Remember, no one can smell you through a webcam.

By Danielle Dresden
https://melmagazine.com/en-us/story/how-often-should-you-shower-coronavirus-quarantine

Shower Head GPM – What It Means & Why It’s Important To You

What does GPM mean and why is it important to your daily shower? Believe it or not, it’s the law! Your shower head is covered by federal and possibly local regulations.

What is GPM?

GPM means Gallons Per Minute. Also known as “flow rate”, GPM is a measure of how many gallons of water flow out of your shower head each minute.

Since 1992, a maximum of 2.5 GPM is the federally mandated flow rate for new shower heads. This means no more than 2.5 gallons of water should flow out each minute.

The GPM flow rate for shower heads has decreased over time. If your current shower head was made in the 1980’s or 1990’s, its flow rate could be 3.5 GPM or more!

Shower Flow Restrictions over the decades

Why is shower head GPM or flow rate important?

Federal, state, and local governments regulate shower head GPM flow rates, because the potential for water and energy savings are significant. A standard 2.5 GPM shower headuses 2.5 gallons of water each minute. That’s 25 gallons for a 10-minute shower.

VS. A low-flow 2.0 GPM shower headuses 2.0 gallons of water each minute. That’s only 20 gallons for a 10-minute shower.

If everyone in the U.S. installed 2.0 GPM shower heads, the EPA estimates annual savings of:

  • 260 billion gallons of water
  • $2.2 billion in water utility bills
  • $2.6 billion in energy costs for heating water

That’s a lot of billions!


How do local governments regulate shower heads?

To conserve resources and save money, some state and local governments mandate even lower GPM flow rates than the federal regulation.

Shower Flow Regulations differ by location
  • New York City adopted a 2.0 GPM standard in 2010
  • California and Colorado adopted a 2.0 GPM standard in 2016
  • California will move to a 1.8 GPM standard in July 2018

And many communities offer incentives and rebates to residents who voluntarily install low-flow shower heads.

Source: https://www.waterpik.com/shower-head/blog/shower-head-gpm/

December 27, 2017

15-Point Checklist Before Starting Your Bathroom Renovation

bathroom renovation is an exciting task. But before jumping to choosing the latest tile or bathtub design, there are some less exciting things to consider so your project turns out just the way you dream it. Because renovating a bathroom can be overwhelming, time-consuming and costly, we prepared a simple 15-point checklist to make sure that your project stays on track and the renovation runs smoothly.

1. Budget

If you don’t know already you should work up an idea of how much you want to spend on your bathroom renovation. Setting a budget will help guide you as you make decisions about what to include in the remodel. Once you’ve figured out what you can spend and substracted the amount allocated to labor, you’ll have a clearer sense of what you can spend on tile, fixtures, and extras.

2. Time

Many people assume that if they are remodeling a small bathroom it will only take a few days, or anyway it will take much less time than a larger one. This is not necessarily the case. Depending on how many items you are changing in the bathroom your contractor will have to go through all the same steps as a larger bathroom. However, planning refers not only to defining the duration of the renovation works but also certain intermediate steps such as ordering and purchasing tiles, fixtures, custom-built vanity or cabinets to make sure they can be delivered when your contractor needs them.  Planning time is also crucial for those with only one bathroom in their house as they will have to make arrangements where to take a shower and use the toilet while the bathroom is taken apart.

3. Works sequence

When it comes to bathroom renovation by completing the job in a specific sequence you can save yourself from a lot of clean up time and mistakes. Whether you are demolishing Sheetrock or simply repainting, you always want to start at the top of the room. Remodel your ceiling first, walls second, and floors third so you can prevent damage to your new components.

4. Hidden problems

If you are doing a major upgrade to your bathroom consider doing a “full gut”. When done by a professional with expertise you end up with a zero problems bathroom that will function flawlessly and add tremendous value to your home for many years to come. Depending on the age of your home and how well it was built the biggest hidden problem you may encounter is water damage, so look for structural deficiencies in the floor framing, not properly vented plumbing, old corroded plumbing, non-waterproof tile shower/tub surrounds, etc.

5. Design style and functionality

When first starting out start by thinking about the look you want for your bathroom. There are many factors to consider like paint color, tile choices, vanities, showers, tubs, faucets, etc. It can get overwhelming very quickly so start with some research. You can start to piece together elements that you like into what will become the final design of the bathroom or you may choose a design item you want to feature in the bathroom and then work the rest of the bathroom design around it.

Design should work hand in hand with functionality so consider who will use the bathroom and how, consider an eventual resale of the house and also take a moment to think how the bathroom design will fit in with the rest of the house.

6. Measurements

There are 3 major limitations which really make size matter in bathroom renovation: the overall size of the bathroom (usually the smallest room in the house), the location of existing plumbing pipes and electrical wiring and the typical standard dimensions of bathroom fixtures. Therefore make sure you have the correct measurements and specifications when you go to the store. More frustrating than trying to shop without measurements is to end up purchasing stuff that doesn’t fit.

7. Contractor

Hiring a contract for a conceivably DIY job? Well, yes, that is a smart thing to do given the complexity of the job and difficult operations involved (electrical, tiling, plumbing, etc.). Therefore do not overlook the advantages of hiring a contractor and save yourself a load of misery and time.

8. Plumbing fixtures and features

No renovation is complete without remodeling or repairing fixtures and features, which could very well make a separate checklist themselves: shower, bathtub, toilet, bidet, sink, faucets and shower heads. You should also update or repair your mirrors and shower doors. You can also change the look of your bathroom very easily by changing out door handles, drawer pulls and the hardware for your shower doors. If you have the budget a new set of shower doors can completely change the look of your room.

9. Cabinets, storage and shelving

Planning cabinets, shelving and storing solutions is a tricky problem in most cases. In small, irregular shaped rooms like the bathroom, it is even more so. They need to be functional and accommodate all your stuff while keeping everything easily reachable, they must fit into the available space and make the most of it and on top of it all, they need to look stylish.

10. Walls and flooring

Virtually any material can be used to surface walls and floors in the bathroom as long as it’s waterproof, either naturally or by means of an impervious finish. Depending on your budget and style, ceramic, marble, and granite tiles make handsome and highly durable flooring and wall surfaces for baths. For flooring additional options may include cement (painted or stained), sheet vinyl or vinyl tiles which are inexpensive and look better than used to. Whatever your choice, always mind another key criteria for choosing your bathroom flooring: durability and slip-resistance.

11. Lighting

A bathroom can be rendered impractical or downright dangerous without adequate lighting so plan for design lighting that is functional and also creates atmosphere. Plan for maximizing natural light first, whereas for artificial light it is advisable you should have least 4 watts of incandescent lighting per square foot.

12. Accessories

Although apparently insignificant in the bigger picture of the overall project, no remodel is complete without new accessories. And surprisingly enough, the small stuff like new towels, wash clothes, soap dishes, mirrors, towel racks, bath mats do add up to the final bill. If you are on a budget, new hand towels will be better than nothing.

13. Ventilation

Ventilation is crucial in a wet room like the bathroom. It is also a tricky task which needs good planning: choosing the right fan, the right position for its installation and dealing with the electrical wiring. Poor ventilation can leave your bathroom damp, moldy and can even harm your health. A well-ventilated bathroom, however, isn’t just a healthy bathroom. Continual airflow can also prevent both the decay of any wooden trim or fixtures and the saturation of building insulation.

14. Going green

Even if you personally don’t care about going green one way or the other, the market is trending toward this so it’s something to consider. And there are many budget friendly options for adding a green touch to your bathroom: a low flow toilet that uses less water and saves you money in water bills; low-VOC or no-VOC paints; vanities made from sustainably harvested wood; recycled glass tile surface countertops, etc.

15. Final clean

The final clean should include a thorough cleaning of all cabinetry, inside and out, ductwork, walls, floor, windows, and light fixtures. Although often overlook in the planning phase, in the case of a major renovation you may want to consider contracting a cleaning service which means additional costs that impact your budget. If you feel up to doing it yourself, you may need to add a day or two to your initial timing.



By Andreea

November 15. 2012


https://freshome.com/2012/11/16/the-15-point-checklist-before-starting-a-bathroom-renovation/

Misspelling corrections made in:
Step 3: sheetrock
Step 9: accomodate
Step 11: adviseable
Step 13: mouldy



Cold Showers Lead to Fewer Sick Days

Geert A. Buijze and his colleagues asked 3,000 volunteers in the Netherlands to finish their morning showers with a 30-, 60-, or 90-second blast of cold water, or to shower as they usually did, for 30 consecutive days. Then the researchers looked at the work attendance records of the same people over that period. On average, in all the groups that doused themselves with cold water, people were absent 29% fewer days than people in the control group. The researchers’ conclusion: Cold showers lead to fewer sick days.

Dr. Buijze, defend your research.

Buijze: This is the first high-level evidence showing that cold showers can benefit your health. People who took them for at least 30 seconds for one month called in sick 29% less than our control group — and 54% less if they also engaged in regular physical exercise.

HBR: But why would cold showers make us less sick?

This is a subtle but important point: Participants who took the cold showers actually reported feeling ill just as many days, on average, as the people who showered normally. But either their symptoms were less severe or they felt more energetic, so they were better able to push through the sickness and function anyway. The exact effect on the immune system is unclear, but we do have some knowledge of the pathway through which it works. Cold temperatures make you shiver — an autonomous response to keep your body temperature up. It involves a neuroendocrine effect and triggers our fight-or-flight response, causing hormones like cortisol to increase, shortly before we shift to a relaxation response. Moreover, cold temperatures activate the brown — or good — fat in the body.

What effect does that have?

Brown fat doesn’t have any proven connection to immunity, but it does affect the body’s thermoregulation. When activated, it keeps the body warm by burning calories. It may also increase your energy and metabolism and help control your blood sugar. That could reduce your risk of obesity and diabetes.

Cold temperatures trigger a fight-or-flight response.

Couldn’t the cold showers just be producing a placebo effect, though? People feel tougher after starting the day shivering?

We can’t rule that out, but even if this is merely a psychological phenomenon, that would be OK with me. The placebo effect has a negative reputation in medicine, but in life and health sciences, any salutary effect achieved by natural means, rather than a pill, is something to strive for. Placebos rely on neurobiologic pathways, too.

But what about so-called presenteeism? Shouldn’t people who feel ill stay out of the office?

Not necessarily, especially if their symptoms aren’t bad. Most of us will try to work through a common cold, for example. But we should take the necessary hygienic precautions — washing our hands, covering our mouths when we cough — to protect colleagues from pathogens.

Why study cold showers instead of a more obvious health booster like exercise or diet?

Previous studies have shown that physical exercise can strengthen the immune system, but I’m not aware of consistent evidence showing that any other daily rituals or habits do. Research on dietary supplements, for example, has yielded conflicting results. And while malnutrition can compromise your immune system, proof that superfoods boost it has been elusive.

Cold showers interested us because there have been numerous claims — throughout history and across cultures — about their beneficial effects. Hippocrates, the father of medicine, prescribed cold baths for his patients. In ancient Roman times, one ritual involved moving through several rooms with increasing temperatures, then ending with a plunge in a cold pool — hence the Latin term frigidarium. You still see practices like this in spas around the world. Athletes take ice baths to reduce local inflammation and soreness and improve injury recovery times.

Two-thirds of the people who took cold showers continued them after the study.

We also took inspiration from the Dutch Iceman — Wim Hof, this guy who’s become famous in the Netherlands for using gradual exposure to the cold and breathing exercises to train his body to withstand freezing temperatures for up to two hours, and who has taught others to do the same. A recent study even showed that healthy adults can use those techniques to modulate their immune response when injected with a pathogen, leading to fewer and less severe symptoms.

I was approached about coauthoring a book on cold showers — the writer wanted a medical expert on board — but I told him that I wanted to investigate their effect instead.

So how cold is cold?

We instructed our study participants to shower as they normally did — as hot as they wanted, for as long as they wanted — then to make the water as cold as possible for the prescribed amount of time. This took place in the Netherlands during the winter months, from January 1 to April 1, when the groundwater in homes’ wells was roughly between 10 and 12 degrees Celsius — which is really cold. It was a miracle that we had more than 4,000 volunteers, about 3,000 of which we enrolled.

The duration of the cold shower didn’t make a difference.

Were these people masochists? Or cold shower aficionados?

Obviously, you can’t do a study on cold showers with people who would never consider taking one. But none of our participants had taken them regularly before. They were a mixed group of healthy adults, with no severe heart or respiratory problems. Some of them were probably inspired by the Iceman stories. Many told us they were afraid the experiment would make them miserable, and in the beginning it did. The vast majority found it uncomfortable, and some hated it, so they needed resilience to get through the month. As time went on, though, people started adapting and feeling less bothered. And when we asked if they would keep taking cold showers after the month ended, 91% said yes, and two-thirds did continue them. That, to me, is the most indicative sign of a beneficial effect — whether physiological or psychological. Taking a freezing cold shower is not something you do for pleasure.

And 90 seconds of cold didn’t produce a stronger effect than 30?

No, duration didn’t matter. The reduction in sick days was the same across the 30-, 60-, and 90-second groups. It’s possible you could do less than 30 seconds, but for now we know that’s enough.

Were there any benefits beyond fewer sick days?

Productivity while at work was the same regardless of cold showers or none, although theoretically the cold shower people were cumulatively more productive over the study period, since they were absent less often. And though we saw an early improvement in self-reported quality of life for that group, that effect disappeared over time.

Is it possible the sick-day effect would go away over time, too?

Maybe. But I think that even if you became habituated to the cold water, so you felt less discomfort and shivered less, the neurobiologic effect would remain.

Could I achieve the same result by moving to Newfoundland?

I think not, because we modify our behavior to fit the climate around us. If you’re living in Canada with regular temperatures of minus 20 degrees Celsius, you heat your house, car, and office, and when you’re outside you layer up so your body stays at 37 degrees Celsius. Perhaps if you exposed yourself to the cold and created the same shivering effect, it would help, but we don’t yet have any data to support that hypothesis.

At what temperature do you shower?

My preferred style is like that of James Bond in Ian Fleming’s novels. I alternate temperatures, starting with a steaming hot shower and shifting straight to freezing cold.

Have you noticed any changes since you started this regimen?

My experiences have been comparable with those of the participants. Once you adapt and get resilient, it becomes an addictive energetic morning challenge. Whether you feel ill or healthy, a cold shower kick-starts the day!

By Alison Beard

FROM THE MARCH–APRIL 2018 ISSUE

https://hbr.org/2018/03/cold-showers-lead-to-fewer-sick-days

Shower Head GPM – What It Means & Why It’s Important To You

What does GPM mean and why is it important to your daily shower? Believe it or not, it’s the law! Your shower head is covered by federal and possibly local regulations.

What is GPM?

GPM means Gallons Per Minute. Also known as “flow rate”, GPM is a measure of how many gallons of water flow out of your shower head each minute.

Since 1992, a maximum of 2.5 GPM is the federally mandated flow rate for new shower heads. This means no more than 2.5 gallons of water should flow out each minute.

The GPM flow rate for shower heads has decreased over time. If your current shower head was made in the 1980’s or 1990’s, its flow rate could be 3.5 GPM or more!

Shower Flow Restrictions over the decades

Why is shower head GPM or flow rate important?

Federal, state, and local governments regulate shower head GPM flow rates, because the potential for water and energy savings are significant.

A standard 2.5 GPM shower headuses 2.5 gallons of water each minute. That’s 25 gallons for a 10-minute shower.

VS.

A low-flow 2.0 GPM shower headuses 2.0 gallons of water each minute. That’s only 20 gallons for a 10-minute shower.

 

If everyone in the U.S. installed 2.0 GPM shower heads, the EPA estimates annual savings of:

  • 260 billion gallons of water
  • $2.2 billion in water utility bills
  • $2.6 billion in energy costs for heating water

That’s a lot of billions!


How do local governments regulate shower heads?

To conserve resources and save money, some state and local governments mandate even lower GPM flow rates than the federal regulation.

Shower Flow Regulations differ by location
  • New York City adopted a 2.0 GPM standard in 2010
  • California and Colorado adopted a 2.0 GPM standard in 2016
  • California will move to a 1.8 GPM standard in July 2018

And many communities offer incentives and rebates to residents who voluntarily install low-flow shower heads.

Source: https://www.waterpik.com/shower-head/blog/shower-head-gpm/

December 27, 2017

Why Do Our Best Ideas Come in the Shower?

You’re in the shower, mindlessly scrubbing your toes when—bam!—a prophetic thought pops into your head. Maybe you finally solve that glitch bugging you at work. Or maybe you learn something terribly more important. The meaning of life, perhaps. Or what the 23 flavors in Dr. Pepper are.

Those aha! moments aren’t locked inside a bottle of Irish-scented shampoo. Soaking yourself in suds, though, does have a lot to do with it. The shower creates the perfect conditions for a creative flash, coaxing out your inner genius. Oh, and it makes you clean, too.

Mind Your Mindless Tasks

Research shows you’re more likely to have a creative epiphany when you’re doing something monotonous, like fishing, exercising, or showering. Since these routines don’t require much thought, you flip to autopilot. This frees up your unconscious to work on something else. Your mind goes wandering, leaving your brain to quietly play a no-holds-barred game of free association.

This kind of daydreaming relaxes the prefrontal cortex—the brain’s command center for decisions, goals, and behavior. It also switches on the rest of your brain’s “default mode network” (DMN) clearing the pathways that connect different regions of your noggin. With your cortex loosened up and your DMN switched on, you can make new, creative connections that your conscious mind would have dismissed.

That’s why the ideas you have in the shower are so different from the ideas you have at work—you’re a pinch more close-minded at the office. Thinking hard about a problem deactivates your default network. It boosts your prefrontal cortex’s control. This isn’t a bad thing—it tightens your focus and gives you the power to stop gawking at cat pictures and hit that deadline. But it can also dig you into a creative rut. Because when you’re deeply focused on a task, your brain is more likely to censor unconventional—and creative—solutions.

Strange as it sounds, your brain is not most active when you’re focused on a task. Rather, research shows it’s more active when you let go of the leash and allow it to wander. Shelley Carson at Harvard found that highly creative people share one amazing trait—they’re easily distracted. And that’s the beauty of a warm shower. It distracts you. It makes you defocus. It lets your brain roam. It activates your DMN and encourages wacky ideas to bounce around. So when the lather rinses off, your light bulb switches on.

And Relax!

But what makes the shower different from a boring board meeting? Doesn’t your mind wander there, too?

Well, yeah. You probably have the doodles to prove it. But a shower is relaxing. It’s a small, safe, enclosed space. You feel comfortable there. (Comfortable enough to be in the buff!) On top of that, you’re probably alone. It may be the only alone time you get all day. It’s your chance to get away from any stresses outside.

When you’re that relaxed, your brain may release everyone’s favorite happy-go-lucky neurotransmitter, dopamine. A flush of dopamine can boost your creative juices. More alpha waves will also ripple through your brain—the same waves that appear when you’re meditating or happily spacing out. Alphas accompany your brain’s daydreamy default setting and may encourage the creative fireworks.

Wait! There’s more! The time you shower also plays into the equation. Most of us wash up either in the morning or at night—when we’re most tired. According to the journal Thinking and Reasoning, that’s our creative peak. The groggy morning fog weakens your brain’s censors, keeping you from blocking the irrelevant, distracting thoughts that make great ideas possible. It’s likely that your shower gushes during your creative sweet spot.

There you have it. You’re distracted, relaxed, and tired. Your prefrontal cortex slackens its power as your default network switches on, your dopamine supplies surge, and your alpha waves roll. The shower creates the perfect storm for the perfect idea.

By Lucas Reilly

September 6, 2013

Source: http://mentalfloss.com/article/52586/why-do-our-best-ideas-come-us-shower