A shower valve is a device that controls the flow of water to a shower head. There are many different types of shower valves on the market, so choosing the right one is essential. When selecting a shower valve, some factors to consider include water pressure, temperature, and installation requirements.
There are many different shower valves on the market today, so choosing the right one for your home can be difficult. Here is a look at some of the most popular shower valves to help you make the best decision for your needs.
1. Hot and Cold Valve
The hot and cold valve is your traditional shower valve that controls the temperature of the water. This type of valve is easy to use and is a good choice for those not looking for anything too complicated.
2. Mixing Valve
A mixing valve is an excellent choice if you want more control over the temperature of your shower. This type of valve allows you to mix hot and cold water to get the perfect temperature for your shower.
3. Thermostatic Valves
Thermostatic valves are designed to maintain a constant water temperature, even if the water pressure changes.
Thermostatic valves have a wax insert. This senses and controls the water temperature. There may also be a different thermosensitive element. It will expand or contract to restrict the water supply once it reaches the heat threshold.
It is built with two valves and two handles. This allows you to set the temperature but does not affect the water volume. It gives you direct control over the temperature of the water.
It does this by letting you preset a temperature control. So, you are provided scalding protection. The temperature is maintained within one degree. This is the most expensive valve type.
4. Pressure-Balancing Valves
Pressure-balancing valves are designed to keep the water pressure in your shower consistent, even if the water temperature changes. This can be helpful if you have multiple showers in your home that are used at different times. However, pressure-balancing valves can be more expensive than other shower valves.
Have you ever flushed the toilet while someone was in the shower, and the shower pressure fluctuated?
Pressure-balancing valves work to correct that.
The pressure-balancing shower valve is ideal for between 1-2 facets. It uses a series of diaphragms and pistons to detect water pressure changes from cold and hot water lines. Then, it will restrict one side to help ensure a steady water temperature. Pressure balancing valves are also called mechanical valves, shower pressure valves, and anti-scald valves.
5. Universal Shower Valve
Universal shower valves are designed to fit a variety of shower fixtures. They are usually less expensive than specific shower valves but may not provide reasonable water pressure control.
6. Diverter Valves
Diverter valves allow you to redirect water from the shower head to another fixture, such as a handheld showerhead or a tub filler. This can be helpful if you want to use the shower for multiple purposes.
7. Transfer Valve
A transfer valve switches the water supply from one fixture to another. This can be helpful if you have a shower and a tub in your bathroom and you want to be able to use both at the same time.
8. Security Valve
A security valve is a type of valve that is designed to prevent water damage in your home. These valves are usually installed in homes with young children or the elderly to help prevent scalding accidents.
9. Flow Control Valves
Flow control valves allow you to regulate water flow from the shower head. This can be helpful if you want to conserve or have low water pressure. However, flow control valves can be more challenging to install than other shower valves.
Things to Consider: Connection types
There are three main types of connection types. These are CC (copper connection), IPS (iron pipe straight), PEX, or plastic.
CC types are going to have a threaded connection. IPS is going to be welded or soldered on. PEX is the plastic tubing that is crimped or clamped on.
Threaded vs. sweat (soldered) connections
There are two types of shower valve bodies. These are threaded and sweat (soldered) connections.
The main difference between these two is their connection to the water lines. Threaded shower valve bodies have screw-on links attached to threaded pipes, while sweat shower valve bodies have soldered conlinksnnected to copper pipes.
Sweat shower valve bodies are more common in new construction as they provide a stronger connection than threaded shower valve bodies. However, both types of shower valves can be used in existing homes.
Number of Connection Ports
You may also want to look at the number of connection ports on the shower valve. Most shower valves have two connection ports, but some have three or more.
The number of connection ports will determine how many fixtures you can connect to the valve. For example, if you want to install a hand shower and a rain shower head, you will need a valve with at least three connection ports.
Finally, it would help if you also considered the finish of the shower valve. The most common finishes are chrome and brushed nickel, but you can also find valves in other finishes, such as oil-rubbed bronze and brass.
When choosing a finish, it is essential to match the finish of the valve to the finish of your other fixtures. For example, if your shower head and faucet are chrome, you will want to choose a chrome shower valve.
Matching the finish of your fixtures will give your bathroom a cohesive look.
Considerations Before Purchasing a Shower Valve
Here are a few things to keep in mind as you look around for shower valves:
Your water pressure: Choosing a valve that can handle your water pressure is essential. If you have high water pressure, you will need a valve with a higher flow rate.
The number of fixtures: Make sure to choose a valve with the correct number of connection ports for the institutions you want to install.
History of Shower Valves
Shower valves have been used for centuries to control water flow to a shower head. The first recorded use of a shower valve was in ancient Egypt, where a stone carving from around 1500 BC depicts a man using a primitive shower valve to wash.
In the early days of plumbing, shower valves were often made of lead or other metals that are now known to be poisonous. As our understanding of health and safety has improved, so have the materials used to make shower valves. Today, most shower valves are made of safe, non-toxic materials such as plastic or brass.
Concealed vs. Exposed Valves
Another important consideration when choosing a shower valve is whether you want a concealed or exposed valve. Concealed valves are installed inside the wall, so they are not visible. This can give your shower a more finished look, but it can be more challenging to repair if the valve becomes damaged.
Exposed valves are installed outside of the wall so they are visible. This makes them easier to fix, but they may not provide as polished of a look.
How to care for your shower valve?
It is essential to care for your shower valve properly to ensure that it lasts for many years. Here are some tips on how to care for your shower valve:
- Check the valve regularly for leaks or damage.
- If you have a concealed valve, ensure that the area around the valve is well-ventilated to prevent mold or mildew from developing.
- If you have an exposed valve, clean it regularly with soap and water.
- replace washers and O-rings as needed to keep the valve working properly.
- If the valve is damaged, it is essential to have it repaired or replaced as soon as possible to prevent further damage.
What is the difference between a shower valve and a shower diverter?
A shower diverter is a device that allows you to redirect water from the shower head to another fixture, such as a handheld showerhead or a tub filler. This can be helpful if you want to use the shower for multiple purposes. However, diverter valves can be more challenging to install than other shower valves.
What is the best type of shower valve for you?
The best shower valve type for you depends on your needs and preferences. If you want a valve that is easy to install, a universal shower valve may be the best option. If you want precise control over the water temperature, a thermostatic shower valve may be the best option. A flow control shower valve may be the best option if you have low water pressure.
How do Shower Valves Work?
Shower valves work by controlling the flow of water through a pipe. Most valves have a handle used to open or close the valve, which contains the amount of water that flows through the line. Some valves also have a mechanism that allows you to regulate the water pressure or temperature.
Which Shower Valve is Easiest to Install?
There are many different shower valves, but some are easier to install than others. A universal shower valve may be the best option if you are looking for an easy-to-install valve. Universal valves can be used with any shower head and are compatible with most plumbing systems.
How long does a shower valve last?
A shower valve can last for many years with proper care and maintenance. However, it is essential to note that all valves will eventually need to be replaced. If you have a concealed valve, it may be more challenging to replace than an exposed valve.
What are the most common problems with shower valves?
The most common problems with shower valves are leaks and damage. If you notice a leak, it is essential to have the valve repaired or replaced as soon as possible. If the valve is damaged, it may need to be replaced.