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Unlike a conventional bathtub, a whirlpool tub has an electric pump that circulates water through a piping system that is beneath the tub surface and comes out of openings, or jets, in the tub’s surface. These jets are adjustable both in direction and force and provide a good, relaxing massage while bathing.
Similar to the cabinets in the kitchen, sink-base cabinets in bathrooms are the standard storage space. They are made of a wide variety of materials, the most common being plywood or compressed particleboard.
Bathtubs are very simple fixtures designed to contain water and one or two people, and to drain spent water into the sewer system. Bathtubs are made in a multitude of sizes, shapes, colors and configurations. They are either built into the bathroom or they are freestanding.
Showers are essentially small rooms with walls made of tile, glass, plastic, or some other waterproof material with either a hanging waterproof curtain or a glass door that slides or swings open.
Most sink bowls and pedestals are constructed of cast vitreous china, similar to toilets. However, you may also find them made of glass, acrylic, steel, cast iron, or anything else that will hold water.
A sauna is a bath that uses dry heat to induce perspiration. Steam is produced by pouring water on heated stones.
Although not the most glamorous fixture in a house, the toilet was designed to perform two specific functions-move waste into the septic or sewer system, and prevent sewer gasses from entering the house. Due to the simple ingeniousness of the design, unless the toilet is physically damaged or incorrectly installed, it performs this function without fail.
The bidet (pronounced bee-day) is a bathroom fixture that is more widely known outside of the U.S. It is usually located in the bathroom next to the toilet and is used as a more thorough method for intimate personal cleansing.
The two most common points of leakage on a toilet is at the junction between the tank and the bowl (only on two-piece toilets) and at the junction between the toilet base and the floor. At the base of the toilet there is a recessed ring that matches the recessed ring on the toilet flange, which is attached to the sub-flooring and floor framing. When a toilet is installed, a ring of pure beeswax is installed in the recess.
The beeswax acts as a compression gasket to prevent waste and liquid from leaking out between the toilet and the flange. One of the chief problems with the beeswax gasket is that it does not have a “memory.” This means that if it gets compressed, it keeps that compressed shape and does not return to its original shape. When this ring gets uneven compression under a toilet, or if the toilet comes loose from the flange, the wax ring no longer acts as a seal and you may get a leak. If this happens, the only way to fix the leak is to completely remove the toilet and replace the wax ring.
In order to prevent sewer gasses and odors from entering the house, plumbing drains have devices called traps installed. Traps are a section of the drain pipe that has been bent and formed into a 180-degree curve followed directly by another 180-degree curve with the drain pipe going through the floor (an S-trap) or by a 90-degree curve that leads to a main drain stack located inside a wall (a P-trap). It is very important that a drain pipe have a trap installed in order to prevent sewer gasses from entering the house’s breathable airspace.
There are small faucet knobs that control and shut off the flow of water for both the hot and cold supplies for the lavatory(s) as well as a cold supply for the toilet and/or bidet. Usually these faucets will be fed by a normal 1/2-inch copper pipe and will be reduced to a 3/8 or 1/4-inch tubing that leads to the lavatory faucets or to the supply fitting for the toilet.
Many newer baths do not have windows to the exterior, so exhaust fans are installed. They are usually ceiling-mounted and should always have an exhaust vent that is terminated to the exterior of the house. Learn more about exhaust vents and fans.
A combination tub is merely a joining of a shower stall with a bathtub. There may or may not be a glass door enclosure, however, there will be some kind of screening to prevent the shower spray from getting into the rest of the bathroom. The shower drain and/or faucet assembly will contain an additional switch, lever, or dial to divert the water flow from the tub faucet to the showerhead.