Three Calls to the Lazyweb

Three things I need help from the lazyweb for:

Flat Light Switch

I have a light switch for a half-bath that a pantry door opens into. It is a low-profile “decorator” light switch, but the profile is still enough that 50% of the time the pantry is open the bathroom light comes on. I seek a completely low-profile “flat” light switch that won’t suffer from this problem. Lots of chatting to staff in the electrical sections of home goods shops, and lots of Googling, have resulted in no luck. Anyone?

Flat USB Charger

Lisa has a couch with an electrical outlet behind it into which a USB charger is plugged. The USB charger is a brick that sticks out about three inches, meaning it pokes into the couch. I’m looking for a low-profile USB charger, one that sticks “across” rather than “out.” I’m thinking of something that would have the profile of a deck of playing cards, with the plug part on the flat part. Like if Flat Stanley was a USB charger. Anyone?

Set And Forget Shower Temperature Control

In sensible Europe the shower controls have separate controls for “flow” and “temperature,” meaning that one can set the temperature to a comfortable level, and then avoid the daily “get the water temperature right” dance. This is convenient and, in our household, would be a huge help, as regulating the temperature is currently beyond Olivia, and so this remains the one impediment to 100% showering independence for her. I’ve raised this with local plumbing shops and responses have ranged from “huh?!” to “that will require ripping your walls apart.” I’d like to easily drop in a replacement for an existing “pull out to turn on, swivel right and left to control temperature” control. Anyone?


Ton Zijlstra's picture
Ton Zijlstra on August 29, 2022 - 06:06 Permalink

A key piece of information would be what the plumbing looks like behind the tap. In Europe there would be a cold water pipe sticking out of the wall and a warm water pipe. The distance between them is what you then use to determine which tap type fits. If you know how the water pipes are placed and if it fits a European style mixing tap, you could then order one online. It's doable to install yourself (e.g. E did the taps here at home)

Ton Zijlstra's picture
Ton Zijlstra on August 29, 2022 - 06:34 Permalink

oh, and the type of screw thread would be important too I suppose, not sure if that would differ between .ca and .eu

Dave Hyndman's picture
Dave Hyndman on August 29, 2022 - 07:29 Permalink

For switches, maybe something here?

For a USB charger, I’ve definitely seen them in that format. I did a quick search but couldn’t find what I had seen … but they’re out there. An alternative might be to swap the outlet with one with built-in USB ports (Type A and/or C).

David Ross's picture
David Ross on August 29, 2022 - 10:25 Permalink

It sounds to me like the shower knob you are describing is already the set it and forget it type if one simply pulls and pushes without turning. Would some markings on the escutcheon to indicate Olivia's "comfort zone" be a solution?

David Ross's picture
David Ross on August 29, 2022 - 13:38 Permalink

Also, on the USB charger issue, if one is interested in a small electrical job, it is possible to get decora-type outlet receptacles with USB chargers built in, thereby eliminating the charging brick entirely.

Jarek's picture
Jarek on August 29, 2022 - 13:43 Permalink

"Thermostatic shower valve" might be a useful search term in Canada.

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on August 29, 2022 - 19:41 Permalink

On the “flat USB charger” issue the lazy web — here and via private email — has come through, reminding me that sometimes solving a problem involves not solving the problem. In this case: why get a flat USB charger when I could get a flat plug and simply plug the regular old bulky USB charger into that.

Janet Noye 's picture
Janet Noye on August 31, 2022 - 07:22 Permalink

We went really old school when helping Sarah learn to shower on her own. We put a mark (I think bright nail polish) where she needed to turn the water / temperature too and a mark on the knob. Then she just had to line up the marks