The Plumber: Medicine cabinets evolving into command centers

By Ed Del Grande
Tribune News Service

  Hi Ed: After 30 years it’s time to replace my bathroom medicine cabinet. Since it’s my first time shopping for a medicine cabinet in decades, what modern features can I look for to be up to date on the latest technology?

— Steve, Iowa

Today’s medicine cabinets are quickly evolving into bathroom command centers.

Dear Steve: I work with new bathroom products, and the cool thing I’ve noticed is today’s medicine cabinets are quickly evolving into bathroom command centers.

This is a good thing and possible because of design breakthroughs in medicine cabinet storage, lighting and smart technology.

Look for a cabinet with clever storage options like fold-out magnifying mirrors, charging stations and custom shelving options. Pivoting mirror doors with built-in lighting is another great feature.

Finally, smart technology options can include voice-activation light dimming and virtual assistance, so you can prepare yourself for the weather.

 Hi Ed: Even though hurricane season is over here in New England, with winter storms I can lose power anytime. I have a home business and want backup power. Can you give me the basics on how to get a generator installed?

— Bob, Massachusetts 

Dear Bob: Whether it’s a storm or other unexpected causes, we can find ourselves helpless without electricity. For backup power in my home I have a standby generator.

A residential standby generator is permanently installed to a home’s electrical system, runs on natural or propane gas and starts up automatically when needed. Here are my recommended five basic steps to having a standby generator installed.

1. Locate a licensed and insured standby generator dealer/installer in your area to pull permits and work with local inspectors.

2. After an on-site home visit and agreed price, your installer starts by setting the generator on a pad at an approved location.

3. The automatic transfer switch panel is installed with electrical connections.

4. Propane or natural gas lines are connected to the generator.

5. Your professional installer tests the system and you control the power now, thanks to your new standby generator.

Master Contractor/Plumber Ed Del Grande is known internationally as the author of the book “Ed Del Grande’s House Call,” the host of TV and Internet shows, and a LEED green associate. Visit or write