Understanding Bidets | Ask This Old House

In this video, Ask This Old House host Kevin O’Connor, meets with plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey to discuss the various benefits of installing a bidet in your bathroom.

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What are the benefits and plumbing requirements of installing a bidet? This Old House host Kevin O’Connor and plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey review the plumbing requirements for installing a bidet, as well as the multiple benefits of installing one.

History of Bidets
Invented by the French in the 1600s, bidets are widely accepted in Europe, Latin America, and Japan. But, they have become more popular everywhere else recently.

Plumbing Requirements for Installing a Bidet

To install a separate bidet in your bathroom, you will need:
• Two 3/8” shutoff valves (hot and cold)
• 1-1/4” drain stub-out (in the wall or floor)
• 1-1/4” P-Trap
• Backflow preventer (air gap or vacuum breaker)

One of the most challenging components of installing a bidet is figuring out the electrical logistics. This is one of the reasons standalone bidets are becoming less popular.

What Are the Benefits of Bidets?
There’s a reason why other countries are keen to keep bidets in their household bathrooms: personal hygiene. Bidets keep you cleaner and fresher by using an adjustable stream of water to clean with. Other benefits include:

• Less waste: Using less toilet paper with each use is a significant plus for the environment.
• Saves money: Buying less toilet paper will save you money over time.

Alternative Options to Standalone Bidets
If installing a standalone bidet in your bathroom isn’t something you’re ready to tackle, there are many other bidet options and features to consider.

Bidet seat
There’s a bidet out there to meet the needs and budget of every interested homeowner. Take this one for example:

Advanced Clean 100
Features:
• Auto Open/Close Seat and Lid, Remote Control, Heated Seat, Warm Air Dryer, and Auto Flush
• Dual Nozzles for front and posterior cleaning, Deodorizer, and a Night Light
• Cost: ​​Between $4,000-$5,000

Aquawash 1.0:
Features:
• No Electricity Needed
• Fits most Elongated Toilets, Self-cleaning dual nozzles for front and posterior cleaning, Low profile, and manual side lever control
• Cost: Around $150

Things to Keep in Mind Before Purchasing a Bidet
Electrical requirements
An electric bidet seat will require a power source, but all you'll need is a standard 110-120v, 15amp, 3-prong outlet, as you'll find throughout the rest of your home.

However, since the outlet is in a bathroom where it could get wet, plumbing codes will require a GFCI (ground-fault circuit interrupter) outlet that protects from shock if water penetrates the outlet. Chances are you don't have an existing outlet next to your toilet, so hire an electrician.

Toilet compatibility
You can easily add bidet seats to most standard toilets with an elongated bowl. If the shape of your toilet bowl is round, however, your options may be a bit limited. Measure carefully before purchasing to ensure proper fit or consider a toilet that already includes a bidet seat for guaranteed compatibility.

Who will be installing?
A traditional standalone bidet is a big job to tackle. We recommend a licensed plumber install bidet toilets to meet local plumbing codes and prevent future problems that can be costly. Bidet seats, however, can be installed relatively easily onto an existing toilet

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About Ask This Old House TV:
From the makers of This Old House, America’s first and most trusted home improvement show, Ask This Old House answers the steady stream of home improvement questions asked by viewers across the United States. Covering topics from landscaping to electrical to HVAC and plumbing to painting and more. Ask This Old House features the experts from This Old House, including general contractor Tom Silva, plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey, landscape contractor Jenn Nawada, master carpenter Norm Abram, and host Kevin O’Connor. Ask This Old House helps you protect and preserve your greatest investment—your home.

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Understanding Bidets | Ask This Old House

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