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If you want to pamper yourself in the convenience of your home, a hot tub is just what you need. From a warm soak to a relaxing massage that rejuvenates your mind and body, a hot tub can really act as a stress buster. Experts believe that hydrotherapy has healing properties and hot tubs are highly effective in curing pain in the joints.image

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Contrasting Countertops and
Cabinetry Between the Island
and the Perimeter Elevates
a New Kitchen Design

Homeowners love kitchen islands and peninsulas, and if you’re considering renovating your kitchen, it’s worth thinking of how you might incorporate an island into your space.

When a kitchen is large enough to accommodate a free-standing kitchen island, the island can become the unique centerpiece. And, when an island won’t fit, often a peninsula will. Whether small or large, kitchen islands or peninsulas lend themselves to making a design statement that can be both aesthetically pleasing and functionally satisfying.

The Fun & Functionality of a Kitchen Island

Well-designed kitchen islands can become the social hub of a kitchen. Kitchen islands are the perfect spot for coffee and newspaper reading, homework or a quick breakfast before school or work. Cooks love islands because family and guests can gather around the island and not be in the way.

When Properly Designed, a New
Kitchen Island or Peninsula Provides
Prep Space and Plenty of Storage

Kitchen Islands for Cooking: If cooking is your pleasure, the kitchen island can be tailored to fit your lifestyle. Because of space limitations in kitchens, a large sink and dishwasher are often placed in the island. (An island is even ideal for a microwave drawer!). Two kitchen sinks can be a practical and fun design feature, and the secondary prep or bar sink is often located in the kitchen island. But if you desire counter space for dining, baking and food prep, a new kitchen island doesn’t have to incorporate appliances or even a sink. Available space, personal needs and tastes will influence any decision when it comes to designing a kitchen island.

A Kitchen Island Can Become
the Social Hub of the Kitchen
and is the Perfect Opportunity to
Have a Little Fun with Design

Kitchen Islands for Entertaining: Often the cooktop is placed in the island, putting the chef on center stage. If you want to be a part of the activity while cooking and entertaining, your kitchen design will require coordination to resolve exhaust issues for cooking odors. Placing a cooktop into an island does require resolving the exhaust issues for cooking odors with either a downdraft unit or a ceiling hung hood that needs to be suspended over the island. If you have small children, you may not want to have a hot cook top adjacent to a counter top “homework area.”

Kitchen Islands are Ideal
for Leisurely Breakfastst
or Homework Sessions

Kitchen islands or peninsulas are often good areas to accommodate bar stool seating. The typical counter top is at 36” and requires a bar stool with a 27” seat height. Our design team always recommends armless stools that are easy to maneuver in and out of. In some instances, homeowners wish to use their new islands to screen their kitchens from the dining room, with a design calling for a split level island countertop (42” to 48” high level with the main area at a 36″ height). Although a visual screen is a nice amenity to hide a messy kitchen, our design-build team has found that most homeowners prefer a contiguous work surface at a 36” height.

A Handblown Glass Pendant
Above the Island Brings
Glamour to the Kitchen

A Well-Lit Kitchen Island

Building codes require electrical outlets to be integrated into an island, and an experienced designer knows how this can be done properly and unobtrusively. And for both functional and aesthetic reasons, lighting is also an important feature for a kitchen island or peninsula.

Our design team frequently specifies hanging pendants (typically 1-3) over the island – a decision that provides a decorative element and a splash of color. Pendants over the island also help focus light on the countertop, and an island meant for food prep or reading should be well-lit. A variety of lighting in a kitchen helps give a bit of glamour to a kitchen space. For homeowners who do not want hanging fixtures, our team often suggests proper down lighting and occasionally hip tracking lighting.

Hanging Pendants
Over a Kitchen Island
Add Visual Interest

Whatever your preference and however you use your home, a kitchen island is sure to enhance your new kitchen. A well-designed kitchen island or peninsula, one with your chosen features, is sure to become your home’s social center, the place to be when the kids come home or the friends come over and you’re cooking a big meal, enjoying a glass of wine or catching up on the week’s news over a leisurely breakfast and the Sunday paper.

There is always a time for every homeowner when kitchen remodeling comes next. Of course, the size of the kitchen will greatly influence the type of redesign that will happen in the cooking area.image

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Plumbing tips aren’t hard to come by, but plumbing tips from the experts are. Mr. Rooter® Plumbing has dedicated the space below to answering your questions with knowledge that comes from years of experience WEEKLY TIP: Natural Gas Water Heaters and Carbon Monoxide Detectors Any appliance that generates carbon monoxide, including gas tankless water heaters, […]

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Bath fixtures—toilets, showerheads, and faucets—are one of the easiest places in the home to make an immediate impact on water efficiency. While low-flow fixtures, particularly toilets, got a bad rap when first unveiled two decades ago, engineering has caught up with regulations and demand while the introduction of the WaterSense program now allows consumers to make the switch with confidence.

Unlike certification programs that only consider a single attribute, WaterSense is lauded among green building circles for its more inclusive requirements. Toilets, showerheads, and lav faucets meeting the criteria are not only certified to offer flows 20% lower than federal requirements, but also to perform up to consumers’ expectations.

With options at every price point offering both lower flows and a satisfying experience, there is simply no excuse not to specify water-efficient fixtures for new or remodeled homes. The challenge, of course, remains convincing clients that this isn’t their grandmother’s bath fixture.

TOILETS

By far, the commode has faced the most skepticism from consumers. And for good reason—most homeowners have had bad experiences in the past. When the government lowered flow maximums from 3.5 gpf to 1.6 in 1992, it did so with no input from the industry, says Barbara Higgens, executive director of Plumbing Manufacturers International (PMI). So consumers were left with models that required multiple flushes—and with very little trust in the term “low flow.”

“It’s a mundane product that we all have … but they are actually highly engineered, particularly tank-type toilets because the only energy you have to work with is the potential energy of the water in the tank,” says Rob Zimmerman, manager of engineering, water conservation, and sustainability for Kohler. “The trick is to get that water out of the tank, through to wash the bowl, down into the trap to push waste out with as little amount of turbulence as you can.”

In the years since, manufacturers have used modeling and testing to re-engineer their toilets to help move waste more effectively with less water. The result are units that not only perform well at federal-standard levels, but can now go as low as 1.28, 1.0, or, in the case of Niagara’s new Stealth model, 0.8 gpf.

Further advancing the cause was the introduction of the EPA’s WaterSense standard, which provides third-party assurance that high-efficiency toilets (HETs) use 1.28 gallons or less per flush or that dual-flush toilets, which offer separate flushing options for liquid and solid waste, average 1.28 gpf.

But most important to users, WaterSense-qualified toilets also must be able to dispose of solid waste of 350 grams or more in a single flush in four of five attempts.

Methods for meeting lower flows vary. Pressure-assist mechanisms were some of the first and most reliable options for adding oomph to the flush, but now that suppliers have had time to re-work entire systems, many traditional flush mechanisms work just as well.

“One thing that’s happened is manufacturers have become better and more expert at forming the bowls—shaping the trapways, using comparative modeling techniques to understand water flows,” says Gerber senior product manager Michael Rosen. “That’s helped a lot.”

Among the strategies are smoother bowls and adjusted shapes and inlets to reduce friction points, tanks with larger openings or other re-engineered mechanisms to get the water out faster, and altered flow paths to move water and waste more effectively and help keep the bowl clean. Fired-in glazes also aim to help reduce streaks and bacteria.

WaterSense-labeled toilets require no special installation or changes to the home’s plumbing (although builders should educate homeowners about how to use dual-flush units). Though some wonder if low-flow toilets could reduce force enough to clog home or sewer system drains, representatives from the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials say that the code-required 2% slope is adequate.

Read more: http://www.ecohomemagazine.com/green-products/go-with-the-flow.aspx?rssLink=Go+With+the+Flow

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