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Dear Ed: I was looking to upgrade to a new kitchen faucet and wanted a faucet with a built-in spray head. I always called that type faucet a “pull-out” but now I’m finding out that there is a “pull-down” style as well. What is the difference?

Tammy, Texas

Dear Tammy:  For kitchen faucets with built in spray heads I’ll break your question down to three types and give some advantages to each style.

First, pull-out spray: This type pulls out horizontally and features a larger hand grip for easy control. Also is great for filling things like tea pots and pet bowls.

Next, pull-down spray: Like the name says it pulls down from a curved goose neck spout. Since it points down, its great for washing dishes and cleaning the sink bowl.

Finally, spring-loaded: This semi-professional style looks like a faucet you may see in a busy professional kitchen. The spout is basically a flexible spring and can be moved in every direction. So, if you’re not sure about pull-down or pull-out, a spring-loaded can give you a new twist on your faucet choices.

Dear Ed:  We have a large master bathroom with a walk-in shower complete with a seat. For years I wanted to add a steam unit to this shower and figure now is the time. What are some bathroom basics to consider when adding a steam unit?

Fred, Maine

 Dear Fred: First, you’ll be introducing extra moisture into the bathroom area and that moisture needs to be removed. So, work with your contractor to check if your bathroom fan and fresh air intake can handle the additional moisture. If not, exhaust fan upgrades may be required.

Next, the shower stall may need to be updated as well. Having a seat is a good start, however additional tile work needs to be completed on the upper walls and ceiling if you don’t already have a tightly sealed shower stall.

Also, replace your standard shower door with a special “steam shower door” to better contain the steam. For the steam unit, make sure you have approved accessible space and the required electrical connections for installation.

Finally, know this can be a high end project so don’t get steamed when you add up all the costs!

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 eddelgrande.com or write eadelg@cs.com

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