Smart Bathroom Devices -
Are They Worth It?
Technology has finally arrived in the bathroom!
Updating your bathroom is no longer just about changing out the fixtures, updating your tile and lighting. Most new homes or remodeled homes now have some type of smart home device in them.
This might be a thermostat, security cameras, door locks, or even a refrigerator. What makes these household items “smart” is that they can be connected via an app on your smartphone. This allows for greater flexibility and in many situations energy savings.
A smart thermostat can be set from a distance. Say you’re arriving home early on a cold night. You can set the temperature from the car so your house is warm and comfy by the time you get home. On the flip side if you are going to be late you can save some energy costs by having your heat come on at a later time.
Get to the grocery store and forgot if you have cheese? Many smart refrigerators have a built in camera that allows you to see into your frig so you don’t have to worry about whether you need more cheese. Hint, the answer is always yes. Smart devices started in the living room with TVs and speakers, expanded into the bedroom and kitchen and have now arrived in the bathroom. They will only get more advanced and powerful from here.
Also Read : How Much Does A Bathroom Remodel Or New Tile Shower Cost In Salem Oregon And Marion County
How Does Connectivity Work in the Shower?
A smart shower is a shower that is digitally connected to your home network. This means you can access its features via a smart phone app. Simply put, you can turn your shower on while you are still in bed. By the time you get there it’ll be at the perfect temperature.
Many of these apps remember your settings. Once you program in your preferred temperatures all you need to do is ask it to turn the shower on. That’s cool!
As a Salem Oregon Bathroom remodeler we have seen a big increase in homeowners wanting to add technology to their bathroom update. What’s smart about “Smart” devices in the bathroom?
Various Options for Smartening Up Your Shower
What Is A Thermostatic Valve?
The key component to the smart shower is the integration of a thermostatic mixing valve behind your shower wall where the hot and cold water come together.
But Wait, What Does Thermostatic Even Mean?
Think of thermostat or thermos or thermodynamics. Thermo comes from Greek and stands for “relating to heat.” That makes sense. Static is also a scientific word coming from Greek that stands for “lacking change.” That makes sense too. So combined you get something like “constant temperature.” Thermostatic is the idea that a temperature doesn’t change unless something exterior to the circumstances changes the settings. Much like a thermostat, a thermostatic mixing valve keeps your water at a constant temperature.
Also Read : Three Of The Most Common Curb-Less Shower Problems
"It is better to look ahead and prepare than to look back and regret." Jackie Joyner-Kersee
Doesn’t This Require Some Wiring?
No, the ingenious part of a thermostatic mixing valve is the valve requires no electricity to work. Your normal plumbing behind the shower wall incudes a few pipes. One is the hot water pipe. One is the cold water pipe. The knobs on the outside control the flow of water from each of these pipes.
You also may have another knob that controls what outlet the water leaves, the showerhead, a wand, or the tub faucet. The hot and cold water mix at a central valve before exiting through one of these outlets.
The thermostatic mixing valve replaces this connection. Inside the valve is a mechanically controlled temperature valve. Based on a single knob temperature setting the temperature valve will expand or contract as the temperature of the water changes without electricity.
The best example is when a toilet is flushed. A rush of cold water leaves the system often causing an overabundance of hot water to scald anyone in the shower. However, a thermostatic mixing valve would detect this temperature increase and automatically correct to the set temperature, avoiding any scalding. Amazing!
Don’t you just love modern science?
How Do You Know Which Smart Updates are Right for You?
Below is a quick description of the ladder of improvements ending with a smart shower.
No Action: Your Current Dull Knobs
There is always the option to do nothing or at least upgrade your current shower fixtures with similar functioning ones. This doesn’t improve the functionality of the shower but is at least an upgrade to the equipment.
Action Alternative 1: Thermostatic Value
The first step up from your average shower valve is upgrading to a thermostatic mixing valve. This not only improves your shower experience, but also increases the value of your bathroom and therefore your home. Granted it’s not huge, but it does make the shower more modern, updated, and desirable.
Check out Our Process page to see the #1 thermostatic valve most loved by plumbers. What this means is your plumbing bill will be much lower.
Action Alternative 2: Digital Temperature
The difference between alt 1 and alt 2 is how the user (you) interacts with the shower interface (knobs or digital touchscreen/keypad). This will include a thermostatic mixing valve that is not controlled by a knob but by a digital screen that you set the temperature and use to turn on and off the shower.
The benefits here are the first step towards a customizable shower experience. These digital screens may have user settings that allow you to preset everything so that all you have to do is push a button to access instant comfort.
Sounds delightful doesn’t it?
Our customers who have made this change say it is life changing. This option improves both the functionality and the desirability of your bathroom for you, your family, guests, and potential future buyers or renters.
Action Alternative 3: Smart Shower
The final stage of possible improvements is to take the step of not just installing a digital temperature control panel but one that also connects with your home network.
This would include the thermostatic mixing valve, the digital touchscreen, and the smart home features that would allow you to control the shower via an app or other device connected to your home network. This is the premier tech today being an IoT (Internet of Things) device and is not only desirable, but also brag worthy.
How many of your friends can say that they can turn their shower on from the comfort of their bed?
What Are The Key Benefits Of A Smart Shower?
Let’s get down to brass tax. What benefit is there really in taking option three and completely pimping out the shower? Let’s discuss.
No more guessing about the temperature. No need to stick your hand in until it feels okay or readjusting throughout the shower. Click once and enjoy a constant temperature the whole time.
Because the internal thermostatic mixing valve will automatically adjust depending on the available water supply, if there is a shift it water volume the valve alters the mix to keep the water at the same temperature. There is no need to worry about sudden increases or decreases in water temperature.
Is your home network connected to Google Voice, Siri, or Amazon Alexa? If so then you can just say “Hey Alexa, turn on my shower.” If only it would lift you out of bed. No need to even grab your phone.
Digital Control From A Distance
Even if you don’t have a smart speaker you can activate your shower from anywhere your phone is connected to the Internet. It doesn’t even need to be your home Wi-Fi. The app connects to your home network and can control the settings on the shower instantly. So, driving home from a cold soccer game or outdoor event? Have the shower turn on when you are a few minutes away to get the bathroom nice and toasty.
With instant temperature control you don’t need to constantly wait for the correct setting and continuously make small adjustments to the knobs before jumping in. Once you know your desired temperature you can always trust that it will be perfect, every single time.
Similar to the discussion on time efficiency is the discussion on water reduction. Since you won’t be waiting around for the shower settings to adjust with manual knobs you will be saving water. Save water – save the planet.
Also Read : The Curious Case Of The Curbless Shower
More Modern And Cleaner Design
If you have a digital pad installed and paired with your home network then you will no longer have any use for most of your knobs. They can be removed. This makes your shower look cleaner and more streamline with less fixtures taking up space. How cool is it to walk into a shower with just a single head?
Does It Work with More Than One Outlet?
Yes, most smart home setups feature anywhere between 1 and 6 outlets. This means you can still keep your showerhead, wand, tub faucet and any other spraying heads that you have (for example an above rain shower head). These smart showers are made to be integrated with all types of showers and aren’t limited in anyway.
Do you have more questions about smart shower devices?
Feel free to contact us here at Tile With A Smile🙂