Location, Location, Location

What colour should the tiles be?

Should we go for a corner bath?

How about a fancy waterfall tap?

These are all important plumbing decisions when designing a new bathroom, but before thinking about any of these it is important to first think about location.

Where all of the bathroom features go in the room affects how quickly and efficiently I can do my job putting in the pipework and fitting everything into the room. More importantly, it affects your experience when using the room.

For example, I’ve seen Bristol bathrooms with showerheads placed directly opposite the cubicle door. To let the water run and heat up means then soaking the floor when opening the door again to get in. The only other option is to get in before turning the shower on and then stand under cold water for the first minute or so. Perhaps a good thing for a morning wake-up call, but not ideal for a relaxing experience.

I’ve also seen sinks and toilets squeezed onto a far-too-small portion of wall. These look neat and tidy from the bathroom doorway, but sitting on the toilet with a cold, ceramic sink basin poking into your shoulder is again, a less than pleasant experience. Towel warmers placed well out of reach of the shower will provide an exceptionally frustrating experience on a cold winter morning. Even a frosted glass window will give your Bristol neighbours a glimpse of your silhouette as you get into the bath placed directly underneath it. The list goes on.

With all of this in mind, I always recommend the people of Bristol consider not only the aesthetic value of their new bathrooms, but also the day-to-day experience in these rooms. As a plumber I see my role as more than just fitting whatever does the job wherever it fits, but also helping my customers have a good experience after all the pipework is in and tiles are fitted. Advising on the best layout for a bathroom is an all-important part of the service.

(Not so) Flushable Wet Wipes

So-called “flushable wet wipes” have been popping up on Bristol’s supermarket shelves in increasing numbers over the past couple of years. They are handy for makeup removal, household cleaning, and personal hygiene, and their popularity is understandable. However, despite the branding, they are in no way “flushable.”

The science is simple: the fibres in wet wipes do not break down once they are flushed.  Even the wipes that are labelled as “flushable” have this problem because by definition they need to be made strong enough to stay wet for long periods of time. If they did not have this resilience to moisture they would fall apart before you even took them out of the packaging. Toilet paper, no the other hand, is thin enough to disintegrate soon after passing the U-Bend.

Some wipes claim to meet “flushability protocols,” but again do not be fooled by this. These protocols have been set by the wet wipe manufacturers, rather than plumbing or drain experts.

Flushing anything other than toilet paper, pee, or poo (commonly known as “The Three P’s”) down the loo can lead to serious blockages in your drain, or worse, those of your neighbours. Some estimates suggest that wet wipes are responsible for over 10,000 blocked drains every year. As a result, several water companies have now called for a ban on the word “flushable” on wet wipe packaging.

Wessex Water, who cover Bristol and the surrounding area, have even made the following video to inform people of the damage “flushable” wet wipes can cause:

The solution is simple; put your wet wipes in the bin. You can avoid these costly blockages for yourself, your neighbours, and your city.