According to an ASID (American Society of Interior Designers) survey of U.S. homeowners, most Americans (82%) want to remain in their homes as they age, even if they should require assistance and care. Is your home designed to provide a comfortable and functional environment for every stage of your life? We are sharing some ideas to help make sure it is.

If you are nearing retirement age, you are probably looking forward to all the activities you have not had time for in the past. Maybe you would like to plan more sleepovers for the grandkids. Or perhaps you and your friends would like to start a cooking club that meets in each other’s homes. If you are like most people belonging to the boomer generation (1946-1964), when you imagine your future, it generally includes being active, doing the things you enjoy, and staying in your own home. Boomers usually like to avoid thinking about aging and how it might affect their active lifestyle.

It’s a good thing, however, to start the process now of remodeling your home so it will meet your future needs with comfort and style. As your home is remodeled, modifications that accommodate all physical limitations can be seamlessly incorporated into the design without detracting from your home’s beauty. This is what is known as “barrier-free” design or “universal design.” Without certain modifications, even the most luxurious of homes could become a barrier to your freedom of movement, should you ever have an accident or require surgery.

Consider your bathroom. If you ever are confined to a wheelchair, will you be able to bathe yourself independently? Here’s a check-list of items you may want to include as you upgrade to a barrier-free bathroom:

  • Zero-threshold shower with a seat
  • Grab bars inside and outside the shower
  • Adjustable-height hand shower with thermostatic controls
  • Wide-decked bathtub
  • Comfort-height toilet
  • Electronic hands-free faucets
  • Knee space under the vanity or wall-mounted sink
  • Rocker light switches or motion-detector light switches
  • Lever handles on doors

An additional benefit is that these kinds of products are available from many manufacturers today in stylish designs and luxury finishes that enhance the look of your bathroom, rather than make it appear institutional. The Wave grab bar from Great Grabz (photo above) provides a sophisticated look, yet can hold over 250 lbs. of force. Also pictured (photo left) is Jason’s sleek zero-threshold shower base that includes an integral seat and a slip-resistant textured floor.

Take a look around the rest of your home and think about whether you will be able to move from one area to another safely, independently and comfortably in the years to come. If you prepare ahead of time by remodeling your home using universal design guidelines, you can look forward to enjoying a home that is livable for a lifetime!

Pleased to Be Here

“I’m very pleased to be here. Let’s face it; at my age I’m very pleased to be anywhere.” George Burns

Aging in place – doesn’t the idea of it make you queasy? I envision someone slowing to a grinding halt and keeling over as gravity overcomes inertia. I know what it’s meant to suggest – the ability to live in one’s home – wherever that might be – for as long as confidently and comfortably as possible, but couldn’t they have called it something more appealing?

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reports modification for aging in place is the fastest growing segment of the residential remodeling industry. A “Fixing to Stay” survey of 2,000 persons aged 45 and over, conducted by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) found that 70% of the respondents had made at least one modification to their home to facilitate their ability to remain in the home as they aged. The most common modifications were:

  • Installing additional lighting in hallways and stairwells
  • Placing living quarters (bedroom, bath, kitchen, laundry) on the main floor
  • Replacing knobs with levers on doors and faucets
  • Adding handrails and/or grab bars

You can find a helpful Aging in Place Checklist for Home Remodeling on the NAHB site.

Incorporating universal design principals to make a home safer, more comfortable, and increase the likelihood of remaining independent, does not have to result in an unattractive, clinical environment.

Walkway before, without the ramp

As with every remodeling project, our goal is to assure that the results are not only functional, but aesthetically-pleasing. Here are two examples of recent work that achieve this goal. A past customer asked us to make changes to their home to make it safer and more accessible for an aging parent who was about to move in with them. The parent uses a walker and would havedifficulty maneuvering up the steps to enter the home. Initially, the plan was to install a ramp near a side door so it wouldn’t negatively impact the home’s curb appeal. However that location proved to be logistically-inconvenient. The home’s circularfront driveway provides an ideal location for picking-up

Walkway after, with ramp installed

and dropping-off passengers. To assurethe ramp blended seamlessly into the existing landscape, we created it using the same pavers installed on the driveway and porch so it looks like it was part of the original design and not an afterthought. Now the only challenge will be keeping neighborhood skateboarders away! Another project, a master bathroom remodel, was completed for a couple who wanted to remain in their home as long as possible. Though neither of required a walker or a wheelchair, they wanted to assure maximum accessibility to the shower and toilet area, in case one of them was in a wheelchair in the future.

At the same time, they wanted to assure that the remodel increased the home’s resale value. We designed a curb-less travertine stone shower with a built-in seat. It also includes a flexible shower and grab bars for safety. A fixed glass-block wall separates the shower from the barrier-free comfort-height toilet. The choices for accessible fixtures have increased dramatically in the last few years. Many manufacturers such as Kohler now make innovative products that provide extra stability, ease-of-use, and comfort, without compromising beautiful design. Many updates, such as grab bars, ramps, and increased lighting do not require a long lead times, nor are they large budget items. Contact us for more ideas on how to make your home accessible and safe.

Curb-less shower w/ grab bar and seat

Barrier-free, comfort-height toilet


Recent social and economic developments in the country have been changing what Americans are looking for in their homes, regardless of whether they are remodeling or buying a new home. Read on to learn more about this trend:

The sprawling McMansions of several years ago are no longer so popular. Rising energy costs have increased the consumer’s desire for smaller, more energy-efficient homes. Builders and remodelers are carefully taking note of this trend.

According to a recent study by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), builders expect new homes to average 2,152 square feet in 2015, 10 percent smaller than the average size of single-family homes built in 2010. In addition to floor plan changes, 68 percent of the builders surveyed said homes in 2015 will include more green features and technology

One result of the new direction toward smaller homes is that homeowners are re-evaluating how the interior spaces of their homes are organized. Given today’s more casual lifestyle, certain rooms — such as the formal living and dining room — are only rarely used. In contrast, the kitchen has become the central gathering area for a majority of activities. To make the best use of limited space, a large open area that encompasses a kitchen, dining room, family room and living room is becoming more common. In our hi-tech society, where individual family members tend to keep busy with their own laptops or cell phones, this is a favorable arrangement since it is conducive to bringing families together. Each member may be doing something different, but the fact that everyone is together in that same space creates a welcome sense of family bonding.

Increasingly, homeowners are choosing to stay in their familiar neighborhoods and remodel, rather than build a new home. A professional remodeler can skillfully re-configure existing spaces, safely removing walls to provide the open, airy home environment their client desires. Often, this can be achieved without the necessity of enlarging the home. Remodelers can also help their clients gain energy savings in an older home by, among other things, adding new insulation; upgrading the HVAC system; installing energy-efficient windows; purchasing Energy Star qualified appliances; and replacing outdated incandescent lighting with fluorescent or LED.

The Dinosaurs

“Mom, were the dinosaurs still alive when you were born?” I credit my twisted sense of humor as the reason the child who asked me this question is still alive and that I was able to formulate an answer without slugging him — “No honey, all of them had died out by then, only the mastodons were still alive.” Similarly, the living room and dining room are on their way to becoming dinosaurs but, unlike being struck by a comet or asteroid, it is a slow and painful demise. Decedents from a time when people lived more formally, the living room was one of a progressive series of separate rooms starting with the front door entry, designed to conceal private areas, such as the kitchen (and the help) from view. As such, the dining room was the primary eating area for the family.

Today, the kitchen not only serves as the primary place for dining but as the social center of the house. They are much larger and more open — often incorporating a family room. John recently served as a judge in a remodeling competition and noted that the kitchen/family room/great room combination was evident in most of the entries.

And yet, the U.S. Department of Energy’s 2009 Buildings Energy Data Book shows that the average American house still incorporates both a living room and a dining room. In a 2,500 square foot home, these two rooms represent about 15% of the total living area — area that owners spend money and energy to heat, cool, and maintain, only to walk around them like an elephant in the proverbial, excuse my pun, living room.

So why are we so hesitant to let go? Is it because of our “Bigger is Better” cultural mentality or the fear that our home will be perceived as less valuable if these rooms are missing? Whatever the reason, rather than plodding further and further into quicksand, check out the links in the left hand column for inspiration on how turn these rooms into space your family will enjoy.

15 Aug / 2011

The Space You Crave

When most people think about remodeling, they envision adding a number of new rooms and lots of square footage to assure they don’t feel cramped. Yet, sometimes all that is needed to improve the flow and function of a space is a simple bump-out. Keep reading to find out more about the five basic types of additions and how one or more might work for your home.

Entry Bump-Out

A bump-out is ideal for introducing more light and elbowroom into a cramped space. A well-designed bump-out can host an entry, dining area, home office, or homework nook. A bump-out is relatively quick to build and requires little foundation work. It’s important to assure that it doesn’t look tacked on, especially when viewed from the home’s front. In the photo above, the entry bump-out is the only square footage added to this whole house remodel, but it has a big impact on the home’s function. It provides a place to transition from the exterior to the interior and allows the main living area to remain separate from the process of entering.

Bumping Up

A bump-up, adds architectural interest and can boost the function and usable floor space of upper level rooms. Raising the ceiling height and adding a clerestory can also add light and the feeling of spaciousness to small spaces.


Adding square footage to an existing room or rooms can increase the usability of the area(s) and often is less expense than whole room additions in that the new area can use the existing HVAC system. The challenge with this type of addition is to assure that it does not distort the home’s original shape and creates a seamless transition between the two spaces.

Single Room Addition

A single room addition can increase a home’s livability and resale value, however linking new and old spaces requires care and creativity. In the Silicon Valley, as homeowners outgrew their ranch homes, they sought ways to inexpensively add square footage to their ranchers. A popular option was to create a second floor addition, only over the existing garage. While cost-effective, these additions distorted the home’s proportions and style. Many cities now prohibit the building of a “box” addition on top of an existing home without also making design modifications that create a more pleasing roofline.

Multiple Rooms Addition

In this type of addition, significant square footage and functional spaces are added, sometimes on multiple levels. While typically more expensive than other types of additions, because a new heating and cooling system may be required, this type of addition has the power to transform the functionality of the entire home. As in all additions, it is important that the design of the new space is integrated with the existing structure to produce not only a functional but aesthetic remodel.

01 Aug / 2011

Marvelous Mudrooms


The mudroom is a familiar fixture in areas of severe weather and in farming communities. However, even in our temperate California climate, it still makes sense to create a buffer zone between the outdoors and the interior of our homes. Raingear, sports equipment, and dirty uniforms are all better left in a mudroom where they will not damage interior finishes. And, it’s great to have a place to keep items organized so they are easy to grab as we head out to work or school. The mudroom has become a popular home design feature and we’re sharing some terrific ideas on how to create a mudroom that fits your home.

Warm Regards,

Lynn and John

Every home can benefit from having a spot where family members are able to deposit items such as jackets, umbrellas, and backpacks that don’t need to be carried into the rest of the house. If there is no space like this, these items tend to clutter up the floor or furniture next to the door. In addition, it is handy to have a station near the entrance where cell phones and iPods can be charged and keys stashed so they are easy to find again when needed. For families with school-age children, a multi-purpose mudroom can also function as a “launch pad” to make mornings less stressful as everyone heads out the door. If you already have a separate rear entry, you can design a mudroom there, or if your kitchen is large enough, a portion of it can be used to create a separate mudroom. Another option would be to build a mudroom addition to the side or rear of your home. Although it is ideal to locate the mudroom away from the front entrance, for homes where this is not possible, the main entry can be remodeled to accommodate the clutter and hide it from view.

To keep your mudroom well-organized, install a variety of storage options such as wall hooks, storage cabinets, cubbies, and wire baskets. This is a convenient space to store sports equipment, such as balls, bats and gloves and outdoor toys as well as gardening supplies. A bench or built-in seating will ease the process of removing or boots and cleats. Choose floor, wall, and cabinet finishes that are water and stain-resistant and easy-to-clean.

A mudroom can also do double-duty as a laundry room. Placing laundry appliances close to the rear entrance makes it possible to toss dirty sports clothing directly into the washer before the odors and dirt are transported into other parts of your home. Add a utility sink for soaking heavily-soiled items and for washing hands after yard work or play. For gardeners, add a countertop to create the perfect place for potting plants. If you have a cat or dog, consider locating a pet door in your mudroom so your pet has easy access to the outside. The low-maintenance finishes of a mudroom provide an excellent spot for food and water dishes, litter boxes and a grooming station and the mudroom cabinetry offers a great solution for organizing and storing pet supplies.

Over 100 years ago, after putting the finishing touches on his first gasoline-powered car, Henry Ford was forced to invent something else…the garage. You see, once it was ready for a test drive, his Quadricycle — so termed because of its four bicycle tires — didn’t fit through the doors of the coal shed in the home he was renting in Detroit Michigan. Yielding an axe, he pounded the brick wall to create a bigger opening and, as they say, the rest is history. His landlord allowed him to add a larger door in the new opening!

The Famous HP Garage

In 1939, Stanford University classmates Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard built an audio oscillator in a Palo Alto garage that would become Hewlett-Packard’s (HP) first product. Short on funds, the young company received a surprise order from Walt Disney Studios for eight oscillators, purchased to develop and test the sound for the movie, Fantasia, thus launching the company and this humble garage on Addison Avenue as the birthplace of Silicon Valley.

Another HP Engineer, Steve Wozniak, and his friend also created a revolution in a garage. While at HP, he and Steve Jobs, an Atari employee, tried unsuccessfully to convince their respective employers to support their new idea. However their employers just didn’t believe that the computer would be relevant to individuals. So, in his spare time, Wozniak collaborating with Jobs in the Jobs family’s Los Altos garage built a personal computer. An old, wooden workbench served as the assembly station and soon became Apple’s manufacturing plant and shipping department.

Motown Sound

Another famous Detroit resident, Barry Gordy, launched Motown Records by auditioning acts in his garage. Imagine listening to Smokey Robinson, The Supremes, Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, The Four Tops, Gladys Knight & the Pips, The Commodores, Martha and the Vandellas, Stevie Wonder and The Jackson 5 emanating from your neighbor’s garage.

For more on the history of garages, visit Garagez.


Ah, summer! Many people look forward to the warmer weather and casual atmosphere that arrives with the summer months. From out of the garage come the bikes and skateboards, the gardening tools and golf clubs…..if you can find them, that is. Isn’t it about time to organize the garage? Continue reading for some helpful tips.

Is your garage a catchall for the equipment you use when involved in activities such as gardening, home maintenance or sports? How often are you frustrated by your inability to find your favorite garden clipper or paintbrush? It is high time to get your garage organized so everything has a specified place of its own and you know where it belongs. When that happens, you will be pleased to find out that your car fits back inside as well!

Many people want to tidy up the garage, but get overwhelmed by the magnitude of the job and then give up. To keep that from happening, start with a detailed plan that has been custom designed for your individual storage needs and that functions well for your preferred activities. If you wish, the plans can outline how the project is to be completed in stages, rather than all at once.

Similar to your kitchen, a garage may be divided into zones so more than one person may be active in the space without bumping elbows. For example, do you complete small woodworking projects in your garage? Place all the tools necessary for this hobby within easy reach of your work bench. On the other hand, you should separate this activity from the area where another family member enjoys repotting plants.

The mainstay of today’s garage storage systems is a specially designed heavy-duty rail or panel that is mounted along the garage wall perimeter. From this rail many different modular components, consisting of lockable cabinets, wire baskets, shelving, work surfaces, hooks and other accessories, may be hung. Utilize not only the garage walls, but also the ceiling, to maximize your storage possibilities. Ceiling hooks work well for bicycles and ladders, while a shelf suspended from the ceiling can store items you use infrequently. These systems will protect your items from damage, increase their longevity, and eliminate the safety hazard they present when left lying about the garage. Since these systems are designed to be adjustable without tools, the components can be easily rearranged and new ones added as your needs change.

To increase the functionality of your garage, also consider adding a heavy-duty sink for clean-up (this would require plumbing), a non-porous stain-resistant floor covering, as well as a refrigerator/freezer. If your garage is uninsulated, the refrigerator/freezer should be designed to endure extreme temperatures and humidity.

27 Jun / 2011

Outdoor Rooms


For a culture that spends much of its work day inside, having a connection to the outdoors while at home is very desirable. Have you ever thought about creating an outdoor room for your home? Read below for ideas on how to make the most of the outdoor living at your home.

After a day spent indoors, the freshness of an outdoor living retreat can help you unwind, de-stress, and enjoy the natural surroundings. In California, where the temperate Mediterranean climate allows for outdoor living in three seasons, a new outdoor room can be a cost-effective extension to the living space of your home and the perfect spot for relaxing with family and entertaining friends.

Determine the Best Use of Your Outdoor Space

In thinking about your room, the first thing to decide is how you will use it. Do you want to relax, eat, or entertain, in your room-or all three? It’s also important to decide how large the room will be and how the space will be defined. These decisions are also predicated on the need for protection from the elements – sun and wind in California.

Ceilings, Walls, Floors

A pergola, trellis, or awning will help define the space at the same time it provides shade on a sunny day. Adding permanent walls made from stucco, concrete, wood or brick, or free-standing walls provide protection, direct your eye to the room and route accordingly. Other room-defining options include “framing” the room with plants growing on vertical trellises that provide a visual boundary but offer a view of what’s behind or movable planter walls that can be reconfigured as needed. An alternative to creatingan entire outdoor kitchen is to add a wall of French doors or a movable wall such as made by NanaWall. Then, when desired, the whole wall can be open to the outside and your existing kitchen is open to the outside.

Furnishings and Fabrics

As you plan your outdoor room, choose furnishings that are intended for outdoor use. Furniture cushions should be covered in fabrics that resist water,stains, and fading. Some newer cushions are offered in “fast dry” styles that prevent water from pooling on your seats in the event of a summer shower. Outdoor drapes are now widely available and can be used to block sun or wind, provide privacy for an afternoon snooze, and add visual interest.

Outdoor Kitchens

An outdoor kitchen can be as simple as a free-standing grill or as elaborate as a full kitchen complete with a grill, refrigerator, dishwasher, sink, cabinetry, and countertops. When shopping for appliances, keep in mind that they must meet outdoor electrical and plumbing requirements and should be wind, rain, and rust resistant.

Furnishings and Fabrics

In addition to the traditional landscape light fixtures and pathlights, additional options for outdoorroom lighting such as lanterns,chandeliers, and candles create ambience and lend a feeling of.

Water Features

Swimming pools, spas, fountains, and ponds provide a focal point for outdoor rooms and can provide recreation and relaxation.

Fireplaces and Heaters

Fireplaces, chimeras, firepits and outdoor heaters provide ambiance and extend the use of the room into cooler seasons.

Products for the Outdoor Room

Hearth: Wood burning fireplaces, gas fireplaces, fire pits, chimaeras, fire and fountain combinations

Cooking: Barbecue grills, wood-fired pizza ovens, refrigerators, dishwashers, sinks, cocktail bars, food preparation areas, and countertops

Furniture: Dining tables, couches, chairs, cocktail and end tables, hammocks, chaise lounges

Water: Swimming pools, fountains, spas, waterfalls, ponds

Flooring: Wood, brick, stone, slate, stamped concrete pavers, pebbles

Shelters: Trellises, pergolas, gazebos, sunrooms, awnings, umbrellas

Accessories: Sound systems, televisions, art, sculpture, rugs

Lighting: Landscape lanterns, pathway lighting, chandeliers, candles

Decks: Natural woods, vinyl, fiberglass, recycled plastics

Heaters: Freestanding or table-top

15 May / 2011

Get Organized!

Get Organized!

Though it might seem hard to justify spending money on something you “should” be able to do yourself, hiring a professional organizer will likely pay for itself in time savings and stress reduction. When you can quickly and easily find a document without digging through stacks of papers to find it, or you reach into your closet and find only clothes you like, or you have a toy storage strategy that keeps toys out of every room in your home, you’ll have more time to do what you enjoy. And, we have a local, professional organizer to recommend. Her name is Amanda Kuszak, founder of Kuzak’s Closet.

While televisions shows like Clean House and Hoarders have gained popularity of late, you don’t have to be a pathological hoarder to benefit from the services of a professional organizer. Sometimes you just need permission to get help with something you’ve been putting off or a push to get past your inertia. Making an appointment with a professional, like Amanda, can give you the impetus to get started.

The National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) surveyed more than 100 of its designer members across the country to uncover the likelihood that they would incorporate various materials and styles in their designs. The following seven top kitchen trends and four top bathroom trends emerged for 2011. Note: percentages may not total 100% as the survey tallied only whether a designer specified a product in a design, not how often they did so. Results reflect national trends and may not be consistent with local preferences.


  1. Shake It Up

    When it comes to style trends in the kitchen, Traditional remains the top choice. The big news is that Shaker has now supplanted Contemporary as the second most popular look.

  2. Dark and Beautiful

    The most specified type of finish for cabinets and floors is a dark natural finish. In contrast, the use of medium natural, glazed and white painted finishes has diminished.

  3. Take the Chill Off

    Interestingly enough, unchilled wine storage has grown in popularity, while the incorporation of wine refrigerators seems to be on the decline.

  1. French Revolution

    In terms of refrigerator styles, the French door refrigerator is now the most popular (78%.) Freezer-bottom models (single-door refrigerator on top, single-door freezer on the bottom) fell slightly in popularity to second place (59%.)

  1. Induction is Hot

    Induction cooktop selection is heating up! This trend is expected to continue due to induction’s energy efficiency. Gas cooktops are still the most popular though specification fell from 76% to 70%, while conventional electric cooktop specifications increased slightly from 38% to 41%.

  1. LED Lighting the Way

    For energy-efficient lighting solutions, designers are flipping the switch on LEDs (light emitting diodes) rather than CFLs (compact fluorescent lights) most likely due to the poor quality of light CFLs produce.

  2. Take Out the Trash

    Trash or recycling pull-outs were included in 89% of the kitchens designed by NKBA members. There was also an increase in both garbage disposals and trash compactors.


  1. Of Quartz

    Quartz solid surfaces such as Zodiac™ and Caesarstone™, are an increasingly-popular choice for bathroom countertops, up from 48% to 54%, but quartz still has not had the impact it has in the kitchen. For bathroom countertops, granite remains the most popular choice (83%.)

  2. Going Green

    The use of the color green in bathrooms is on the rise. Whites and off-whites, beiges and browns remain the most commonly used color tones, however.

  3. A Worthy Vessel

    Undermount sinks continue to dominate the bathroom scene, but vessel sinks have become the clear second choice among designers.

  4. Supreme Satin Nickel

    In bathrooms and kitchens, satin nickel is now the favorite faucet finish, while brushed nickel comes in second. Stainless steel remains popular in the kitchen, but not in the bath.

In the case of Bosch and Takagi, the answer is, pathetically, “Not much.” These companies, both with historically-stellar reputations for quality and service, have allowed the quality of their products and the value of their word to– pardon the pun– tank.

As a green-certified design + build firm, we have championed the installation of on-demand, aka “tankless” water heaters, since 2006. Unlike traditional water heaters, where a volume of water is continuously heated thermodynamically in a tank, tankless water heaters heat water only when the system is triggered such as when a faucet is turned on, a toilet A selection of antique water heaters is flushed or a washing machine is started. Bosch was the first brand of on-demand water heaters we installed.

A selection of antique water heaters

After experiencing problems with a number of the heaters, including one installed in our home– malfunctions such as repetitive days of ice-cold showers at 6:00 am after the unit worked properly the night before; error codes not listed in the service manual for which we were told, “It’s impossible, it just couldn’t happen,” and (this would be humorous if it wasn’t so painful) when, on a customer site visit, a Bosch field engineer denied hearing the banging noise emanating from a unit until he called the home office and a customer service agent told him she could hear it over the phone, Bosch did nothing. They did not repair or replace their malfunctioning products and never called to follow-up. The truth is they have no warranty.

Ultimately, we decided that the units had to be replaced. After reviewing the available options, we made the decision to install on-demand water heaters made by Takagi. Our research indicated that they made quality products and what appeared to be responsive support and a great warranty. At our expense, we removed the Bosch water heaters, paid for their disposal, and installed the replacement Takagi units purchased at the homeowners’ expense. These units seemed to solve the problem and we continued to install them in new projects.

Over the holidays, one of our customers, an engineer with Failure Analysis, called to let us know that his water-heater was behaving erratically. The heat exchanger on his year-old Takagi had started to leak and then failed. He and his family were without hot water for 1_ weeks. Takagi said that the reason the unit failed was not a manufacturing defect, but calcium build-up and that a scale prevention device (water softener) should have been installed to prevent this. Because we did not install one, the warranty was void. However, the installation instructions do not call for one. In the manual, in very small print on a separate page, you find in areas of hard water (not the case in Mountain View) a scale prevention device must be installed.

We called Takagi; spoke to them at length, asked them to test the water hardness (they did not) asked them to stand by their product if their directions were wrong and were told that corporate would not authorize the replacement. Close to 50 emails later, our client was able to convince Takagi that they should honor their warranty and replace the unit. The Takagi replacement process is slow, time consuming, and, get this, you have to pay for the replacement unit until Takagi confirms that the problem was due to a manufacturing defect.

A selection of antique water heaters

We now recommend that a scale prevention device be installed, regardless of water hardness, to prevent calcium build up and assure that manufacturers will honor their own warranty. While no one enjoys maintenance chores, the Housepure Secure water heater scale prevention device is compact and easy-to maintain- the cartridges need to be replaced once a year or when the gauge indicates. We will continue to research the performance of the various brands of on-demand water heaters in the literature and the real-time experiences of other contractors and report our findings in an upcoming issue.

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