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Published: Thursday, 3/23/2006

Tips For Making The Most Of New Bath Fixtures

* Do check gallons per minute ratings on multiple shower fixtures to ensure that the bathroom has sufficient water pressure, the shower valve can handle a multitude of fixtures and shower drains can accommodate large volumes of water. Pressure checks can be performed outside the house and in the bathroom.

* Do spend some time thinking about how the bathroom will be used. A busy dual-career couple with children may be better off selecting a large shower with room for two people who need to be at work at the same time rather than a soaking tub that would be used only occasionally.

* Do consider putting decorative pedestal sinks in powder rooms rather than in a master bath. While they can be attractive, they aren't always large enough to handle day-to-day activities. Also, some of the hand-blown glass and carved stone vessels must be thoroughly dried after every use to prevent water spots.

* Do try out a whirlpool before purchasing and don't automatically select a standard-sized whirlpool tub. Smaller tubs are more comfortable for many people. Some stores will open after hours by appointment so potential buyers can climb in wearing a swim suit and check out the difference between water and air jets.

* Do consider installing a shower system that isn't "standard." They're easy to install at heights that work best for the person using. Every system should include a hand-held shower with a handle located at waist-height in case someone must shower while seated. It can also be used to bathe dogs or clean the shower stall.

* Do install one of the new "on-demand" water heaters that don't run out of hot water, especially if using a large tub or a sophisticated shower system with multiple fixtures.

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