(ARA) - The days are shorter, the nights are cooler and the winds are howling outside your home. Now is the time to ?turn on the heat? with products that will keep you toasty throughout the long winter season.
These products will not only help you escape winter?s chill, but the luxuries they offer may actually help you get out of bed on those cold mornings rather than hibernating under the covers.
?Based on the overwhelming array of luxury products manufacturers have recently introduced, homeowners want anything that makes their lives more comfortable at home. Whether it involves heating/warming accessories or spa-like home environments, it's part of the ?cocooning? phenomena that has resurfaced,? says Stephani Miller, associate products editor for Remodeling and Custom Home magazines. ?People are spending more time at home and they want to be comfortable. They want to use their home to its full potential, not just as a place to eat and sleep between workdays.?
So what are the latest products for weathering winter in style and comfort? Read on to find out:
1. Heated floors
Nothing?s worse on a winter?s morning than having your feet hit the icy tile. To solve this problem, many homeowners are installing heated floors to keep their feet warm, without relying on wool socks or fuzzy slippers. There are two types of heated floors from which to choose -- the first involves plastic piping installed under the floor to circulate hot water. The second is an electric heating system consisting of electric wires placed under the floor. The cost can range from $4 to $10 a square foot, but many homeowners feel it?s worth the expense.
And these floors aren?t just for the bathroom. ?Heated floors can be used just about anywhere: in kitchens with cold tile floors, in pool or spa enclosures, sunrooms, or any other room of the house where extra warmth is needed,? notes Miller.
2. Heated towel bars
While heated floors require a major bathroom remodel, a quick fix to provide warmth in the bath is heated towel bars. These bars can easily be mounted to the wall and plug into a standard, 110-volt electric household outlet. What better way to pamper yourself after a shower than to get cozy in a warm, fluffy towel? They also provide the extra functionality of actually helping to heat up the bathroom. There are many shapes and sizes from which to choose, most costing between $200 to $300.
3. Warming drawers
?Many major appliance manufacturers have introduced warming drawers to their product lines to complement kitchen appliances. Designers are getting creative with these drawers and are using them in a lot of different ways, not just in the kitchen for keeping cooked food warm, but also in bathrooms or pool houses for warming towels,? says Miller.
The advantage to drawers over heated towel bars is that they can actually make a towel hot throughout. They can also be used to warm other items -- such as robes, underwear and socks. The average price for a warming drawer is $600.
4. New showerhead
What better way to wake up in the morning than a hot shower? And, with the unique water delivery offered by Moen?s Revolution massaging showerhead, its larger drops of water actually make the shower feel warmer. This showerhead takes ordinary water, spins each drop, and then twirls the entire stream. From a rain-like shower to a deep, therapeutic massage and anything in between, the showerhead provides phenomenal coverage and makes users feel enveloped in the water stream. The increased speed in movement of the water drops results in a perception of higher flow and higher pressure, in addition to the sensation of a massaging shower. Revolution showerheads start at $60.
5. Whirlpool tub or hot tub
While showering systems are popular because of their convenience, there are still some who prefer a long, hot bath on a cold night. Look for whirlpool tub models with special features such as aromatherapy and pulsating jets. For those with back or muscle pain, a whirlpool tub with jets can provide massaging relief for soreness and pinpoint certain areas of the body. If your current bathroom will not hold a large tub, consider adding a hot tub to your deck or patio area. Taking a dip in the hot tub on a cool winter?s night may provide the perfect ending to a long day.
6. Heated toilet seat
You?ve heard of being on the ?hot seat? before, but now heated toilet seats literally put you there. These seats easily install in just minutes and plug into a standard household outlet. They heat to 25 degrees F above the average room temperature and feature uniform heat distribution. Heated toilet seats retail for approximately $100 and offer just one more way to beat the winter chill.
7. Shower control
Are you tired of waiting for the water in your shower to warm up every morning? Do you get in the shower after someone else changed all the settings? If you answered ?yes? to either of these questions, pamper yourself with Moen?s ExactTemp, the first pressure-balanced thermostatic valve for residential use. Day after day, it lets you dial up your own personalized water temperature, set just the way you like it. Plus, as water volume in your hot water tank decreases, the valve?s smart technology maintains your pre-set temperature and your comfort. The thermostatic control is also pressure balanced so you won?t experience shower shock -- those uncomfortable surges in hot or cold water, such as when someone flushes the toilet.
Snuggling up with a cup of hot cocoa and a good book in front of a roaring fire is an ideal way to spend a cold winter?s night. It is also a great way to heat a room with gas. Over the past several years, ventless gas fireplaces have become popular since no chimney or vent is needed and they can fit right up against a wall in any room of the house. Fireplace models now can give off between 10,000 to 40,000 BTUs and come in many different styles that look similar to their wood-burning counterparts. Prices start at $400.
9. Home sauna
For the ultimate in luxury, install a home sauna. Saunas feature a combination of heat (usually between 165 and 195 degrees F) and low humidity. There are many sauna kits available in a variety of sizes and layouts. A kit comes with wood panels, a pre-hung door, benches, an electric heater, thermometer and accessories. These kits are pre-wired and snap together in just a few hours and don't require any plumbing. Home saunas plug into a standard household outlet. Many wood options are available, but cedar and redwood are the most popular. Depending on its size and degree of sophistication, expect to pay between $2,000 and $5,000.
10. Heated driveway
And, once you have all these ?hot? amenities installed in your home, you certainly don't want to go outside to clean off your driveway. Instead, install a heated driveway, which has electric heating coils or hot water pipes below the surface of the concrete. The driveway automatically senses cold and turns on to melt the snow and ice. According to the latest figures, these driveways can cost between $12 and $21 per square foot.
There you have it, ten products to pamper you and safeguard your home with warmth, no matter what it?s doing outside.
For more information about Moen products, contact Moen Incorporated at 25300 Al Moen Drive, North Olmsted, Ohio 44070-8022, call toll free (800) BUY MOEN/ (800)289-6636 or visit the company?s Web site at www.moen.com.
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