Winter can be a brutal season of frigid air, icy water, and teeth-chattering numbness – none of which are conditions that should describe your bathroom.
Tile, marble and porcelain – some of the main components of lavatory design – aren’t exactly known for their warmth. But with a little rejiggering, a small installation or two, and maybe some minor renovations, any WC can become a cozy, well-heated respite. Here are four ways to warm up your bathroom and chase the chill away.
A warm bathroom begins from the ground up – literally. A heated floor is one of the best ways to not only keep toes toasty, but also maintain an ideal temperature throughout the room. And it’s a luxurious selling point that adds overall value to a home.
This level of human comfort doesn’t come without a few sacrifices, however. Installing radiant floor heating will require tearing up the floor to put down electric cables or hydronic tubing, so the best time to embark on the project is when you’re already making a change. But once installed, radiant floor heating is practically guaranteed to leave you, well, radiant.
In a small space like a bathroom, the electric route is usually ideal. Hydronic heating is pricier to install, and requires a boiler or hot water heater – a high initial cost that is worth it only if heating an entire house, which would be expensive to do electrically.
Why face the cold, hard world the moment you turn off the shower? Towel warmers, also called heated towel racks, put an end to the abrupt shock and bitter disappointment of leaving the cozy sauna you created while sudsing up.
The fixtures themselves generally look like small ladders with heat-emitting rungs, and are often large enough to accommodate several towels or a robe.
Adding a towel warmer to your bathroom can be as easy or complex as you’d like. Freestanding models can be plugged in, simple as that – and can pull double-duty in a mudroom or laundry room for drying wet coats or damp clothing.
For a more permanent solution, racks can be mounted to the wall or fixed to the floor. While electric models tap into a home’s electric system, a hydronic towel heater connects directly to the house’s plumbing.
A wide variety of models creates multiple style and functionality options. Do you want temperature control? A timer? How many rungs would you like? It’s all up to you.
Last but not least, a towel heater helps fight the mildew that loves your towel almost as much as you do.
Heated toilet seat
For decades, Japanese households have considered washlets – fancy heated toilet seats that have warm water sprays plus a variety of other functions – practically de rigueur, while America has dragged its feet.
Winter is the perfect time to end decades of misunderstanding and embrace the warm comfort of high-tech toilets. Not only are the seats toasty, but upon completion of business, a bidet-like function squirts warm water to clean one’s nether regions. Before leaving, the occupant is treated to a blast of (often temperature-adjustable) hot air, ensuring a dry bum that is ready to face even the coldest of days.
While those who appreciate the washlet tend to swear by it, the system may strike some as simply too much – or at least too much to explain to houseguests. In this case, simple heated toilet seats are also available.
Installing such a feature can be as easy as buying the seat, attaching it to the toilet, and plugging it in nearby, or as difficult as integrating an entire high-tech toilet with no attached power cords into your restroom. The price varies greatly, but the underlying satisfaction is generally constant.
One of winter’s most frigid experiences often occurs when least expected: in the shower. Being the last person to get ready in the morning can be a position of great risk, with the hot water subject to wane any moment. Using a shower timer, however, can keep a whole houseful of bathing beauties in line, and help prevent any painful teeth-chattering.
From a simple showerproof hourglass that suctions to the side tile to a device that attaches to the showerhead and reduces, then shuts off water at a preset interval, limiting the time others spend using hot water ultimately results in fewer freezing-cold showers. Installing a more water-efficient showerhead also works.
In the end, all of these devices reduce water usage, to boot. It’s something both Mother Nature and the last person in the shower can be thankful for.
Find more ways to better your bathroom by checking out our bathroom guide.
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