If you’ve got the room, a bidet can provide a useful addition to the bathroom. There are two types available, each of which is installed in a different way.
A bidet is a specially-shaped, low-level basin designed for washing between the legs — you squat on it facing the taps. In addition it can be used as a footbath, or even as a sink for soaking clothes, so it’s a particularly useful appliance to have in the bathroom.
Strangely, in Britain, which has generally led in matters of hygiene and efficient plumbing, bidets are not that common. Until recently they were misguidedly seen as somewhat undesirable appliances found in the bathrooms of foreign hotels. Fortunately sense is now prevailing and the need to save space in buildings and to conserve energy means that the bidet (and the shower) are likely to increase in popularity at the expense of the traditional space-consuming bath which uses large quantities of water.
Types of bidet
When you’re buying a bidet, it’s important to understand that there are in fact two types, and how you install them depends on which type you choose.
Basically the difference between the two kinds lies in the way they are supplied with hot and cold water. The simpler, cheaper and easier-to-install version is. the ‘over rim’ bidet’, sometimes referred to as a ‘washbasin bidet’. It’s simply a low-level washbasin supplied with hot and cold water from two basin taps, or a basin mixer, fitted in holes in the rear of the appliance.
The other kind of bidet, which seems to be the more popular type, is known as a rim supply bidet with ascending spray’. But it’s more expensive and can be more difficult to install. A bidet of this kind has a hollow rim — not unlike the flushing rim of a lavatory pan — round which warm water first flows before, entering the pan. This has the effect of warming the rim and making it more comfortable to sit on. At the flick of a control knob the warm water is diverted from the rim to a spray which is set in the bottom of the pan. The water therefore rises vertically for washing.
Because of the position of the spray outlet, it means that the rose can be submerged in water when the bidet is in use, And it’s this type of inlet that can cause a few problems when you’re installing such a bidet. Sub merged inlets are always regarded with suspicion by water authorities because of the risk of contaminating the water supply by back siphonage. And it’s particularly important that this risk should be eliminated as far as bidets are concerned because of the use to which they are put.
Bidets are available in floor-standing and wall-mounted versions, in colours and styles that match other items of bathroom equipment.