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Spray Any Way in this Shower

Make your shower safe and easy with this versatile shower fixture comprised of three key components, the sprayer wand, with six foot hose and adjustable track bar. Many wands also come with water adjustment controls. Make one of these your pick if you splurge on only one thing.

Maintain control and boost safety in the shower area, by including, not only seating (preferably built-in), but also point-of-use and multi-functional fixtures and safety bars. Avoid reaching, stooping or any strained movement which could cause loss of balance.

The shower head deserves careful consideration despite seeming like a natural place to save money. Don't go cheap on this, flawless top performance is worth the extra expense, so too is low hassle cleaning (by spraying down the shower area). Ideally, get a fixed shower head that includes on a vertical slider bar an easy grasp, detachable handheld with a six foot flexible hose. (Look for wands with an on/off switch.) The single lever, water control should be mounted near the shower entry and 40 to 45 inches from the finished floor (43 inches preferred).

Another possibility, depending on the space layout, is having two shower heads, one on the wall for a standing user and another at the bench/seat. Your mission is the same in any case, ease at point-of-use to eliminate reaching, stretching or any off balance move. Pre-planning for a future care giver is money well spent and a selling benefit depending on the rest of the home's accessibility.

Kohler MasterShower thermostatic valve

For the behind-the-wall plumbing, choose a thermostatic, stacked valve configuration that controls both the water temperature and volume flow tied into one lever handle. An anti-scald valve will have a maximum high-temperature limit stop at 120 degrees Fahrenheit and factory settings often at 104 degrees, but you'll want a consistent flow rate in relation to precise temperature control (i.e. the valve regulates mixing of hot and cold water while maintaining constant pressure) so opt for these dual valves.

Finally, ensure good ventilation to prevent odor, moisture (mold) and hassles cleaning by installing a high volume, in-line exhaust fan that is both quiet and on an automatic sensor. Look for an energy efficient fan with proper flow capacity for the room size. See an example by clicking this link for the Panasonic WhisperGreen fan with LED lights. Some of the newest models offer heat and also facilitate proper ventilation as Energy Recovery Ventilators (ERVs). Many are automated, some motion activated or shutoff on a timer.

While we're talking about wet areas, let's visit the laundry, mud and utility room(s).

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President Todd Hawkins preaches building science and Universal Design (UD) to teach the benefits of an efficient, convenient, comfortable and flexible Lifetime Home. Also follow him on Twitter @BuilderFish for short tips about how kid-friendly UD makes home life easier and more secure for any person of any age or ability.