When you are a homeowner, it’s inevitable that you will have to complete some minor repairs and upgrades to your home to maintain your comfort levels.
However, there are ways to decrease your chances of having to repair items in the home when you choose the right item from the start. For example, your shower. Perhaps you’re wishing the water pressure was higher or you could easily change the settings in which the water sprays in the shower. That is why we are going to take a look at understanding the types of shower valves that every homeowner should know.
What is a Shower Valve and How Does it Work?
The shower valve is the muscle and brains behind the scenes of your shower or tub enclosure. It has a control valve (or regulator valve) that monitors, regulates, and controls the force of the water coming out through the showerhead while also regulating the temperature of the water. It is the place where the hot and cold water pipes in the plumbing meet within the walls of the home.
They are mandatory in all showers to ensure that it operates smoothly and efficiently without leakage. Typically, a shower or a shower/bathtub combination enclosure will have multiple valves as you need one for the hot water, one for the cold water, and in the case of a combination? A diverter valve to divert the water from the showerhead to the tub.
Various shower valve types work by sensing the temperature of the water and starting it out in cooler temperatures even when the sprout is turned to hot. The water pressure is then regulated to come out of the showerhead in a steady, relaxing stream.
What Type of Shower Valve Do I Have?
The first thing to look for when it comes to your shower valve (and no, it isn’t a sledgehammer to start breaking down walls) whether you have a single shower enclosure or you have a combination shower and bathtub.
- If you have a single shower enclosure – you are working with a single standard valve to control the water and monitor the flow.
- If you have a mixer combination shower and bathtub – you are using a diverter valve that diverts the water flow and spray from the showerhead to the tub itself.
Once this step has been determined, you then need to look at how the water temperature is regulated.
- If the shower valve can sense the difference between hot and cold water to control it? Then you have a pressure balance valve.
- If the shower valve can sense the water temperature before sending it to the showerhead and regulate the temperature, you are most likely working with a mixing valve.
- If the shower valve only controls the temperature of the water while the force is controlled through another valve or plumbing mechanism, you are working with a thermostatic valve.
Temperature Regulating Valves
1. Pressure Balancing Valves
This pressure balancing valve easily replaces your existing valve without any trouble or fuss and it ensures constant temperature whether you are using the hot or the cold water (or both at the same time)! The pressure of the water can fluctuate and with a typical shower valve, so does the temperature. This valve eliminates that guesswork so you have a constant and steady temperature even as the water pressure can change.
2. Thermostatic Valve
Modernized technology is what powers this thermostatic valve and you are able to customize your shower preferences with the use of the app found in the app store of your smartphone. You are able to heat the water up a couple more degrees on those chilly winter mornings when you finally leave your cocoon of warm blankets. It makes it a little easier to get up and face the day when you know a hot shower is waiting without having to wait for the water to warm up.
3. Mixing Valve
The best part of a temperature regulating valve is exactly that – they will maintain and monitor the water temperature and stop it from fluctuating while you are in the shower. The brass body of this valve ensures no leaking as well. It can be installed directly in place of your current shower valve without having to change the entire tub enclosure, allowing you to easily set and maintain water temperature. This even prevents changes when someone flushes the toilet in the home while the shower is in use.
Diverters and Transfer Valves
4. Diverter Valves
Get convenience in your shower valve when you look at a four-way diverter valve that has eight position valve channels to regulate and control water flow. This one is ideal for a shower/bathtub enclosure. These valve channels ensure that steady water pressure is maintained and that you won’t feel the fluctuations such as one second the water is a steady stream and the next, the shower is a steady drizzle because the dishwasher is turned on.
5. Transfer Valves
The key to this shower valve is the longstanding flexibility that allows you to install the valve easily. Once installed, this valve will help maintain the water pressure and temperature regardless of how many other appliances are currently using water. Numerous people complain that their shower changes water pressure whenever someone starts the washer, the dishwasher, or even runs the faucet in the kitchen sink – this eliminates all of that and keeps the water the exact same way you started the shower on.
6. Exposed Shower Valves
Switch up the décor of your bathroom by installing a shower valve that is exposed to the naked eye instead of hidden behind the walls of the shower enclosure. Make sure it’s sleek and clean without any rust for the best effect. Choose a shower valve that has been treated with rust-resistant and mold-resistant finishes to maintain the look without unsightly discolorations. Cooper or brushed nickel finishes are always a safe bet when choosing this type of shower valve.
7. Concealed Shower Valves
For a sleek and minimalist look when it comes to your shower valve – choose a kit that features matching faucets, showerheads, and concealed valves in a rust-resistant metal; such as brushed nickel. These types of kits bring everything together by paying attention to the smallest details and not changing the type of finish from one piece to the next. They are subtle things but those little details can make or break the overall ambiance of the room – even the bathroom.
There are so many different types of shower valves on the market today, which is why it is important to narrow down the best shower valve for your water pressure, your preference, and the type of plumbing that is currently in your home.
Did you recently change the shower valves in your bathroom? Have any tips on the best types of shower valves to use? Then we definitely want to hear from you in the moments below! And as always, please feel free to share this article with whomever you think may bed it.