The features, advantages, and cost of upgrading your modern bathroom with ancient luxury!
It’s a bathroom feature not many people discuss aloud, but one that’s appearing in more and more homes today: the bidet!
Invented by the French over 400 years ago, and common throughout Europe and Latin America, they’re considered a very modern luxury in American homes and growing in popularity. Bidets are an additional personal hygiene fixture that can stand alone, be integrated in to a standard toilet design, or be a separate attachment to an existing toilet (sometimes called a washlet). A bidet provides additional cleanliness using adjustable streams of water. Many come with added comfort and care features such as small dryers, warm and cool water settings, seat heaters, pressure control, and even Bluetooth-powered remote controls.
What are the benefits of a bidet?
Before we talk about the plumbing benefits of a bidet, here are the most common reasons many people are now installing them in their new homes or bathroom renovations.
Health and Comfort:
- They help ease discomfort and aid in the healing of hemorrhoids and other conditions in that area of the body.
- For those with mobility problems, using a bidet for comfort and cleanliness is easier than getting in and out of a low-sitting bathtub.
- Caregivers often prefer the use of a bidet to clean a loved one or patient versus the fall risks related to a bathtub or shower.
- Paper waste: Using a bidet reduces the use of toilet paper, which greatly minimizes paper waste into the environment and household supply costs for you.
- Water bill savings: Using a bidet to clean and comfort personal areas after medical treatments or accidents uses significantly less water than filling a bathtub or running a shower.
- Boosts resale value: More and more homebuyers are looking for these upgraded plumbing features when consider their next home purchase.
Here’s a closer look at the three general types of bidets:
- A standalone bidet: These are an entirely separate fixture from the standard toilet. Unlike a toilet, however, one sits or straddles a bidet facing the opposite direction so the hands can be used to work the water controls and direct the stream to the areas needed. It should be noted that younger children, elderly, and those with limited movement may find a classic bidet difficult to use.
- An integrated bidet: Some toilets integrate the features of the bidet in their traditional design. They provide the seating comfort and accessibility of a toilet with a variety extra cleaning options of a bidet. Some of those are:
- Wi-Fi and Bluetooth speakers
- Warm water spray
- Tankless water heater
- Seat and floor heater
- Built-in deodorizer
- Air dryers
- Bidet attachments: These are often non-electric bidet seats and sprayers that attach to an existing classic toilet. They don’t require any electrical source or wiring. They are the most cost-effective bidet option, but also deliver the least amount of “creature comforts” as compared to the integrated and standalone options listed above. Attachments primarily use the existing toilet water source and pressure to clean, so the water stream is not heated. Still, if an additional spray of water for heightened cleaning action is all that is desired, these attachments are an affordable option to consider.
Do you need a professional plumber to install a standalone bidet? Short answer, YES!
A standalone bidet does not handle solid waste in the same way as a classic toilet. To install one, a separate plumbing line and drain will need to be connected to the bidet. This is one reason why separate bidets are most common in new home builds when it’s easier to dedicate two water lines during the construction phase.
Integrated toilet/bidets are an easier way to upgrade your existing bathroom because it requires only changing out one fixture. Professional plumbers, like your local Ben Franklin Plumbing experts, can remove your standard toilet and put the new integrated model in the same location. In some cases, an electrician will need to install a new power source in that same area to support the integrated bidets features. (This is also the case if you purchase a bidet attachment for an existing toilet and it has a heated seat or other options that require electricity).
Speaking of affordability, what do bidets cost?
If you do a quick Google search, you will find high-end, ultra-luxury bidets ranging between $6,000 and $10,000. Some go even higher. Can Ben Franklin Plumbing install those? Absolutely! However, we assume you’re reading this article and shopping around for a more realistic solution.
- Standalone bidet: The range on this is very wide. You can find models at your local home improvement stores as low as $150 all the way up to $7,000+. Many good models with a nice array of options fall in the $500-$1,000 price range. Keep in mind, it can cost approximately, on average, $100-$300 for any additional electrical source needed during installation. That number can easily double if you require an entirely separate water line or power source to be added.
- Integrated toilet/bidet: Same here, the range is wide and you can find options in the mid-range between $500-$2,000, not including any additional power source installation that needs to take place.
- Bidet attachment or bidet seat for standard toilet: These can start as low as $20-$30 and rise into the several hundreds of dollars. The non-electric, cool-water only attachments that install DIY in minutes will be at the lower end of that pricing scale. As you add creature comforts and the need for a separate power source (don’t forget the cost of extra installation there!) your price will increase into the $300-$600+ range.
Bidets are a great way to add a higher level of cleanliness and comfort to your bathroom, as well as level up your resale value. Your Ben Franklin plumbing expert can offer a detailed and comprehensive consultation on the best bidet option for you. Since plumbing repairs and upgrades usually involve knowledge of local city, county, and state building codes, we highly recommend letting one of our insured, bonded, and certified professionals handle your bidet installation.
At Ben Franklin Plumbing, we address your plumbing concerns correctly, safely, and affordably the first time. We’ve been proudly serving customers in Charlotte and the surrounding area for decades, including Indian Trail, Concord, and Mooresville.