Bidet Systems: An Essential Reno Project


Introduction

As the use of modern toilets and washrooms increase so do the facilities within these little private rooms. In North America, some individuals even have book shelves in their spacious washrooms to pass the time. “On average, consumers spend over $9,000 during major bathroom renovations.  Being that most of the popular bidet seat models only cost about $500, it’s easy to see why some consumers choose bathroom remodels as the right time to purchase one” (Bidet King). Bidet systems are electronic hygiene devices that replace toilet seats. Their function is to wash one’s rear parts with a stream of water. They provide rear wash and front wash (feminine and male with a shower head). Some even have heated seats with warm air dryer, a deodorizer as well as a remote control. From 2010-2011, Americans spent approximately $359 billion dollars in improving their homes out of which $11 billion were spent on bathroom renovation alone. The bathroom renovations increase the resale value of the property with bidet system being part of the renovation. The entire toilet bidet system is an essential feature for washroom remodeling due to easy installation, readily available parts, simple operating mechanism, low price and maximum benefits.

Preliminary Research:

Most of the initial information is based on first hand experiences after installation of the bidets at personal residence. Websites used for parts analysis and bidet type contrast are bidet manufacturers and distributors. Bidet King, a popular website even contains a FAQ/question and answer section where questions related to bidets are briefly answered.

Analysis:

The bidet installed at my residence lacked temperature control on the seats. So the slight movement of the water spray knob would spray either extremely hot or cold water without moderation.

Early Concept:

To solve the issue of water temperature control, a thermostatic valve was installed as part of innovation in bidet installation. The cold water connection from the toilet tank and the hot water connection from the sink would synchronize in a thermostatic valve controlling water temperature.

Final Concept:

As presumed the final concept as shown in the sketches turned out to be exact.

Cost Analysis:

Depending on whether the bidet seats are electronic or non-electronic, they would include an installation cost. Though this installation cost would vary between a plumber and a handyman, the average cost of bidets with installation is around $250-300. This includes all the attachments like t-connector, extension pipes, shower head and holder etc.

Parts Analysis

Bidet parts are readily available in case of part replacement or damage. Bidets are composed of the bidet seat, shower head unit, thermostatic valve (innovation), t-connector (used for thermostatic valve), bidet wiring, circuit boards and mechanical components (rear of the bidet seats), seat sensors and spacers (rear of the seat). Most of the seats bulk is located at the rear of the bidet seat and it is where it is much taller than the regular toilet seat.

 Installation

Bidet systems are relatively simple to install. They attach to the top of the existing toilet bowl in place of the current toilet seat. They need cold water connection from the supply line already going in the toilet tank. However, a separate connection from the sink can be drawn for warm water through tubes and a T-connector. Also, a thermostatic valve separates both the warm and the cold water connections and regulates temperature.

Operating Principles

Bidets work differently with different toilet models but the operating mechanism remains the same. When one presses a button, a wash nozzle the size of the marker extends out and sprays a stream of aerated warm water towards the rear. When the stop button is pressed, nozzle retracts back in the housing. Before each and every wash, the bidet seats automatically rinse the nozzle so only fresh water touches the rear. Some bidet systems work by turning knobs to the right for warm water and to the left for cold water. The spray strength can also be adjusted in many bidet systems.

Dimensions

The actual bidet seats are usually half to an inch thicker than regular toilet seats. So there is not much of a height difference when a user sits on a bidet seat equipped toilet. The dimensions of these bidet seats are listed anywhere from 4”-6.5” but that is measuring the entire bidet units highest point which is at the rear of the unit.

To install the right bidet, one needs to install the right toilet first. This is the toilet rough in distance. It is the distance from the wall to the waste outlet hole… This distance is about 3.81 cm and is meant for both round (to conserve space) and oval (less space but less clogs and overflows) bowls. The toilet height also differs as comfort height toilet meant to cause less back strain is 41.9 cm (two to three inches higher) compared to a regular height toilet which is 36.8 cm. There are two types of toilets – one piece and two piece toilets to which bidet seats can be installed. However, two piece toilets where the toilet and the bowl are separate offer tons of space for bidets to fit in and are less expensive. Dual flush toilets are also preferred over toilets over other types of flush system to conserve water. For all the toilet types, bidet seats replace the standard toilet seat to serve as a toilet seat and a bidet seat both.

Contrast

There are different types of bidet seats in the market. One can easily contrast between electronic and non-electric seats, tank and tank less water heating bidets and wireless remote control bidets vs side panel control bidets.

“Electronic bidet seats rely on electricity to heat water and to control the desired spray pattern.  Because of the convenience of electric heating, these units do not need to be placed near a hot-water line.  Bidet seats replace standard toilet seats, allowing the toilet to serve as both a toilet and bidet” (Richard, 2013) while “Non-electric bidets feature a lower cost than basin-type bidets or electronic bidet seats.  Although cold water only options are available, some may also have hot water connections.  The non-electric bidets that have both hot and cold water hookups allow users to experience warm water cleansing without electricity” (Richard, 2013). Bidet seats also have different water heating systems. Bidet seats with tank type heaters have internal reservoir/tank of stored water. “The bidet toilet seat keeps the stored water heated to whatever temperature setting the user desires.  During wash, the bidet seat will draw water from this heated reservoir.  The warm water will last about 30 seconds before the wash gradually turns cooler until it reaches room temperature.  It usually takes about 5 minutes for the bidet seat’s water tank to fully re-heat” (Bidet King). On the other hand, “Electronic bidet seats with tank less water heating systems do not keep a large reservoir of stored water.  Instead, the heating element instantly heats the water stream when the wash is activated.  The water will stay warm at the desired temperature for as long as the user is washing.  During wash, the bidet seat is able to heat the water “on-demand” allowing for temperature adjustments mid-wash.  Water heater stays idle when the seat is not in use” (Bidet King). Bidet seats also differ as some are remote controlled while others have side panel controls. Wireless remote controlled bidets are upscale and have more features. They also have a much cleaner appearance on the toilet without large controlled panel attached to the side. On the other side, the one with side panel controls never runs out of battery and has less to worry about losing a remote control.

The cost to buy a bidet with accessories like shower head and thermostatic valve is about $150 and with installation, the bidet will cost the home owner around $300. It is a major investment at the price of a minor, considering the amount of money and trouble, the home owner saves himself from in the long run.

General Misconceptions

Some general misconceptions about bidets include

  1. Bidets are for women: Although, bidet is effective in maintaining feminine hygiene during menstruation and pregnancy, it also is hygienic for men to use instead of toilet paper.
  2. Bidets are unsanitary: Bidets do not get your hands dirty. In fact, some bidets will even dry the washed area and the nozzles automatically self-clean on all bidet models!
  3. Bidets waste water: An average American uses 34 million rolls of toilet paper and each roll uses about 6 gallons of water to manufacture only to clog the pipes, fill septic systems and cause messy problems that cost thousands of dollars to fix.
  4. No room for bidets in toilets: Most bidets install directly on to toilet seats or replace them whether single piece toilet or double piece.
  5. Need soap in bidet water for thorough cleanliness: Regular soap is harsh on the genitals, lead to increase in risk of infection, anal fissures, lichen sclerosus and inflammation. Since the medically recommended way to clean the genitals is with warm water, bidet seats are excellent choice.
  6. Bidet requires hot water connection: Most bidets don’t need hot water connection as they only need to be connected to the existing water connection to the tank and the bidet seat automatically provides warm water. However, to avoid accidents through extreme water temperatures when using the bidet seat knobs, bidets can have connection originating from the sink in to a thermostatic valve that regulates temperature by mixing water from sink (hot) and toilet tank (cold) to avoid extremely hot or extremely cold water being flushed from the bidet seat spray.
  7. Remote controlled bidets can be exploited: Most bidet remote signals don’t pass through the washroom walls, hence cannot be operated from outside the washroom.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the toilet bidet systems are cost effective solutions compared to using tissue papers in toilets. “On average 1 roll of toilet paper costs $3 per roll and Americans use approximately 34,000,000 rolls of toilet paper a day, which means that we spend a shocking $102,000,000 a day on toilet paper. After the initial investment of a bidet seat or bidet attachment you will enjoy a savings of $182 a year” (Brondell).  Though, toilet bidet seats do not affect toilet paper sales since consumers still need toilet paper to wipe toilet seats and surrounding area. However, consumers save money on toilet tissues that are flushed down the toilet and end up clogging drain pipes and city sewage systems. Not to mention, it saves the city thousands of dollars due to clogs.

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