Modern Temperature Control Type Shower Valves vs. Old Style
Choosing a shower valve can be a complicated process. Advanced design and technology have made more designs and features available. The modern showers have two kinds of temperature control valves and diverters for multiple component systems and either manual or digital control systems.
Shower valves, even for the seasoned plumber can be a challenge depending upon how the valve can be accessed. Water for a shower comes from a shared source that causes the temperature to fluctuate. This fluctuation can be dramatic when another toilet or water faucet draws cold or hot water from the same source. Without proper regulation of temperatures, water could suddenly become too hot or too cold when a sink, toilet, or faucet located nearby is used.
There are contemporary valves that are of an advanced design that have been introduced to replace traditional valves. These new valves actively regulate your shower’s temperature, and that can affect your safety significantly. Here is a rundown of the different kinds of valves and their features, so you can determine which solution is best for your shower-related needs.
Mechanical or Pressure-Balancing Valves
Sometimes these are called anti-scald valves. This kind of valve takes advantage of the differences in pressure caused by sudden temperature changes of water. After the water has been turned on and you adjust it to the desired temperature level, the system will work to keep the water at that desired temperature. If the toilet is flushed or another faucet is turned on, the sudden drop or rise in temperature will cause the pressure within the valve to change, which in turn will cause the valve to shift and rebalance the pressure to prevent injury to the person who is using the shower.
This valve works by adjusting the pressure within it and it doesn’t adjust the temperature itself. The water flow from your shower could increase or decrease as the water gets diverted elsewhere. Corrosion within older pipes could affect valve efficiency. Once you install a new valve body, you should flush the water system before installing the cartridge. This will ensure you don’t have any post-installation problems.
A thermostatic valve is an alternative, but it is more expensive. It is designed to maintain temperature and pressure. An advantage of this valve is that it allows the user to preset the water temperature before the water is turned on, which will keep the water at a consistent temperature once it is heated up. You will not have to make numerous adjustments to get the water temperature right either.
A traditional valve has a simple function of drawing water to the showerhead from both the cold and hot taps then dispersing it. It could be as simple as a central knob that diverts water from the tap spout of your bathtub or a single knob for a stand-alone shower. Traditional valves are sometimes called mixing valves and they are not popular as they once were. They can be considered dangerous since they are unable to regulate sudden temperature changes and the individual in the shower could suffer scalding burns if a toilet is flushed or another faucet is turned on. This is the reason plumbing codes have changed and pressure balance or thermostatic valves are required during new construction, remodels or replacement.
Other Things To Consider
There are other pieces of equipment that are available to help you with your shower and the water flow. Manual control systems are the knobs that control the water temperature and divert the water flow in a shower/bathtub combo. Temperature settings are on a panel that allow you to set the water temperature. You can use this panel to program the temperature into a preset, which can be set to pause, preset, or run on a timer.
Talk With Your Plumber
If you need to replace your shower valve, then you should talk with your plumber. A plumber will be able to determine which kind of valve will work best in your home and will best suit your needs. Choosing the right shower valve can be a tricky process, so you will want to make sure you choose the best solution for your specific plumbing needs.