The goal of every baseball player after getting on base is to score safely at home.  “Safe at home” is not something you only want at the ballpark.  Even more importantly, “safe at home” should be the norm within the confines of your own residence.  There are so many factors that can affect how safe your home can be and a lot of these are in your home’s plumbing system which includes the kitchen and bathrooms.

It has always been obvious, that when showering or bathing, we need to exercise a little more care due to the wet environment.  As a result, floor tiles are made differently than wall tiles.  Bathtubs are manufactured with an increased friction factor on the surface.  Glass enclosures are made of tempered safety glass.  These are necessary precautions that you may or may not have been aware of.  There are other things that you can do to make your “castle” a safer place to be.

“Aging in Place”:  This is a term that has recently become a catchphrase for the way in which you can improve your home with aging and possible retirement in mind.  We live in a society where the emphasis is now placed on living in your own home as  long as you possibly can.  It is less expensive and more comfortable to spend the golden years in well loved, familiar surroundings instead of strange and institutional housing.  When remodeling your home, keeping this in mind can really pay off.  Forward thinking, like putting backing in the walls wherever one might need grab bars (tub, shower , toilet area, hallways) is a prudent thing to do.  Even if you don’t feel the need to install the grab bars right now, the time may come when they become a necessity.  Having the proper backing for anchoring eliminates the inconvenience and additional costs to open walls again.

When remodeling a shower, consider installing a bench seat if you have the room.  It is a nice amenity now and might become necessary later.  Also, install a handheld shower and hose near the bench seat.  Decorative grab bars in all kinds of finishes can be installed in the shower and can even be ordered to match many styles of shower trim.

Installing a quality toilet with a “comfort-height” seat is one of the more popular choices being made today.  Faucets with lever style handles that are  more easily manipulated when dexterity becomes difficult are certainly a thoughtful choice.  Pressure balancing and/or temperature sensing tub and shower valves help keep the temperature consistent at a reasonable degree and are code-mandated to make sure your whole family is “safe at home”.

Safety Codes:  Local, state and universal building codes are replete with rules and regulations that are in place to protect the consumer.  Codes which include the proper installation of a temperature-pressure relief valve on the water heater are there for our safety.  By code, you are required to place your water heater on a stand and install earthquake strapping around the water heater for the same reason.  The codes regarding how natural gas is delivered and distributed within your home are there for your safety and comfort.  Ground Fault Interrupter (GFI) electrical outlets are specified and installed near wet areas at kitchen and bath counters and tubs to reduce the likelihood of electrocution.  Electrical fixtures installed in bathroom ceilings have specifications that need to be met (ie. exhaust fans in a shower).

When upgrading your home, it is wise to consider both your present and future comfort and safety.  Consult or hire a licensed contractor who is familiar with the options available for an aging society and who knows the relevant codes and complies with them.  Biard and Crockett is a licensed contractor and can help you in these areas.  When it comes to choosing what fixtures you may need and how they are installed, be smart about it so your home is a place where you can be assured that you will be “safe at home” for as long as you live there.