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Bidets are one of those strange tools that just never took off in America – until now. Still, most people are pretty unfamiliar with the concept. They’ve heard the word but may not have ever used one. They don’t know precisely how they work, or how to install them, or even where. Can you add a bidet to an existing toilet, or do you have to get a brand new one? We’ve consulted plumbers to break down everything you need to know before you consider whether or not a bidet is for you.
A traditional bidet is free-standing, separate from the toilet. It requires its own dedicated line of plumbing, and installation is a significant effort. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t have a bidet without the hassle. Bidet toilet seats and handheld sprayers can be added to existing toilets with minimum difficulty. Modern bidets are easier to install and more accessible than ever.
Keep reading to learn the difference between a bidet toilet seat and a sprayer. We’ll cover exactly how to install them, what you’ll need, and how much it costs. This article will also explore the important question – are bidets even worth it? Read further for more!
Bidet Toilet Seats
Electronic bidet toilet seats are a bit more expensive but also come with more features. Because they rely on electricity, you’ll need a nearby outlet. But this electricity also offers some pretty nifty options – heated seats, sanitizing features, and deodorizers are just the start.
If you go with one of these, you’ll want to read the information carefully. Prices range wildly, and one size does NOT fit all. You might expect a simple splash. Or, maybe you’re interested in one with a nightlight and warm air dryer. In any case, be sure to take your time to explore the wide range of choices available for electric bidets.
Bidet Toilet Sprayer
Since these don’t use electricity, they are easier and cheaper to install. But this also means that they rely on the current plumbing available. You can’t get fancy, oscillating sprays – they function on normal water pressure available. And there’s no chance of heated seats or other high-level upgrades.
But it also means that these are available at a much lower price point. If you really want to try a bidet out without a huge commitment, this may be the way to go.
How Do You Attach A Bidet To A Toilet?
Attaching A Bidet Toilet Seat
If you opt for a bidet toilet seat, it will attach directly to the toilet and replace the old seat.
- Use the shut-off valve to turn off the water to the toilet. Flush until the toilet is empty of water. Remove the old seat.
- Then, place the catch plate (or mounting plate) for the new seat over the bolt holes.
- Insert the brackets. Next, insert and tighten the bolts.
- Slide the new bidet seat onto the plate, adjusting as needed.
- Now, you will detach the water supply hose from the toilet tank base.
- Attach the bidet’s t-valve in its place, at the base of the toilet tank.
- Reattach the hose to the t-valve at the lower connection.
- Attach one end of the bidet’s hose to the t-valve at the upper connection. Attach the other end to the seat.
- Double-check that everything is secure turn the water back on, and test!
Attaching a bidet sprayer
A bidet sprayer is similar to the process for a bidet toilet seat. You’ll turn off and drain all water. Then:
- Remove the water supply hose from the toilet tank base, replacing it with a t-valve.
- Reattach the supply hose to the lower connection of the t-valve.
- Remove the toilet seat, placing the sprayer plate over the bolt holes.
- Attach and insert any brackets needed to place the sprayer. Reattach the toilet seat, and tighten up all the bolts.
- Attach the sprayer to the upper connection of the t-valve.
Do You Need A Plumber To Install A Bidet?
Again, a true, free-standing bidet requires a separate line of plumbing. For this reason, it generally requires a plumber. However, newer, simpler variations of bidets are now available. These ones, like the handheld bidet sprayer described above, do not need a plumber.
Just be aware that bidet toilet seats typically require a nearby electrical outlet. If you don’t have an accessible outlet near the toilet, you won’t need a plumber – but you might need an electrician.
How Much Does It Cost To Install A Bidet?
A free-standing ceramic bidet will need a plumber to install. This can cost anywhere from $250-$1000, depending on how difficult it is to add a new plumbing line for the bidet.
Bidet sprayers which install into the toilet seat, and use the existing plumbing, are the most cost-effective option. It’s a manageable DIY project, so the only cost is the bidet itself. This one on Amazon is an affordable and popular choice:
Toilet seat bidets are somewhere between the two, costing about $100 if you need to add an electrical outlet first. Other than that, it’s another one that you can manage on your own. The seat itself is more expensive than a sprayer, though it comes with more options. Overall, it’s never going to be quite as affordable. If you can afford it, however, you do get more bang for your buck.
Are Bidets Worth It?
Well, that’s hard to say. When toilet paper became a hot commodity during the early days of COVID, many people found that bidets were worth the switch. Bidets do save by cutting both water and toilet paper. Tushy, a bidet company, claims that their product saves 54 gallons of water a week. And you can expect to use about 25% less toilet paper, give or take. Some claims go as high as 75%, so this is an area where „your mileage may vary.“
It’s also worth noting that there are some claims that a bidet can reduce health concerns such as urinary tract infections. Anecdotally, some people do experience this. However, studies on improved hygiene or health are inconclusive. There’s no actual proof that guarantees this.
But some people never get used to the sensation of the bidet. If you won’t use it, then obviously, there’s no way it can be worthwhile. If you’re uncertain, start with a less expensive bidet sprayer. You can install this yourself without redoing the whole bathroom.
If you don’t like it, you’re only out 40 bucks or so (the attachment cost). If you love it, then you can always revisit investing in a more permanent bidet fixture.
To add a bidet to an existing toilet, you can select between an electric toilet seat or a non-electric bidet sprayer. They install as a part of (or replace) the existing toilet seat. Bidet toilet seats are more expensive than sprayers but also come with more options. However, they require a nearby electrical outlet to work properly. Bidet sprayers do not need electricity and only use the plumbing already available. This makes them the most cost-effective option if you’re looking to try a simple „beginners bidet.“
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