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Originally published Saturday, November 26, 2011 at 6:01 AM

Give a dog a shower

Ed the Plumber: A dog owner asks for tips on installing a handheld shower to make it easier to wash the pooch.

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Q: I enjoyed your column a few weeks back about installing a "rain" type of showerhead. While this sounds like something I'd enjoy, for a dog owner like myself there is an issue. Even though approved rain showerheads meet the water-use limits and standards, the wider area of spray would soak me while I'm trying to rinse off the dog. I'd like the luxury of a rain shower, but still need to wash my dog. What do you do in a case like this?

— Betty in Illinois

A: I received a lot of letters from dog owners — I am one, too — about how they could install a rain showerhead and still wash the dog. To bring everyone up to speed, a "rain" shower is installed a little higher and is wider than a standard showerhead. Also, it points downward and basically rains on the user. Hence the name.

Anyway, for most of us there's a simple solution. Along with the rain showerhead, you can have your plumber install a "diverter" control with a "handheld" shower that connects with a short hose. A diverter control can divert the water from the rain head to your personal handheld shower with just the push of a button.

On a new installation, a wall-mounted diverter valve can be installed to create a custom-looking shower stall. Either way, with a diverter valve you can enjoy a rain shower from above and also have the option of using the smaller handheld shower when you need extra water control. The nice thing is that when the hand shower is on, the rain shower is off. However, strict water codes in some dry areas of the country may only allow one fixture per shower stall. So, check your local water regulations.

Master Contractor/Plumber Ed Del Grande, an LEED green associate, is known internationally as the author of the book "Ed Del Grande's House Call" and for hosting TV shows on Scripps Networks and HGTVPro.com. For information visit eddelgrande.comor write eddelgrande@hgtvpro.com. Always consult local contractors and codes.

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