The shower valve was an invention of an American businessman, Al Moen, who came up with the idea of a single-handed faucet in 1937. His design allowed the bather to mix hot and cold water together to avoid burns and create the perfect temperature. This idea revolutionized the plumbing system and inspired many advancements in the years that followed.
Today, a shower valve is a vital component of the shower system in any bathroom, as it allows you to moderate the flow and temperature of the water. In this article, we’ll explain the different types of shower valves and help you choose the best one for your bathroom.
- Types of Shower Valves
- Different Diverters for Shower Valves
- Perfect Choices For Your Bathroom
- Choose a Well-Known Brand
Types of Shower Valves
There are two main types of shower valves:
#1. Thermostatic Shower Valves
A thermostatic shower valve allows the user to control the temperature level inside the shower, so you can adjust it as needed while in use. It usually works through two mechanical knobs, one that controls the water flow and the other that allows the mixing of cold and hot water. Once you’ve adjusted the temperature knob, the valve keeps the temperature constant without having to change it every time you take a shower.
Some thermostatic valves also have a unique anti-scald feature that automatically shuts off the valve if the temperature exceeds the provided limit. This feature proves to be highly beneficial for people with sensitive skin and partiuclarly children.
#2. Manual Shower Valves
A manual shower valve is more simple and inexpensive, but you might need to adjust the water temperature each time you take a shower. It usually has only one knob that controls both the water flow and temperature at the same time.
By design, manual valves cannot regulate water temperature in case of pressure change; hence, they might be dangerous in a household with young children.
Different Diverters for Shower Valves
Shower valves have further division based on the types of diverters they use. There are several main types explained below:
A twin one-way shower valve is the simplest type of shower valve that works for a single shower head and consists of two knobs. One knob controls the water flow from minimum to maximum, and the other knob controls the water temperature.
A twin two-way shower valve is similar to the twin one-way valve and also has two knobs, where one controls the water temperature. The other knob, however, works as a diverter which allows you to switch between two water outlets, such as an overhead shower and a handheld shower. Note that both the water outlets cannot operate at the same time, and the water flow is either entirely on or entirely off.
Triple two-way shower valves have a workaround design to allow use of two separate shower heads at the same time. It typically has three controls, where one knob controls temperature and the other two control water flow from each outlet. This valve proves to be handy for an immersing and customizable shower.
The triple three-way shower valve is a part of a luxurious bathing system that has three separate knobs for operation. One knob controls the water temperature while the second one works as a diverter to switch between two water outlets. The third knob controls additional special features such as water jets, body sprays, etc. This option is likely the most expensive, but allows for the best user experience.
Perfect Choices For Your Bathroom
Now that you’re aware of the types of shower valves, it’ll be easier to choose a shower valve. However, the sheer variety of the available products is overwhelming, where each brand claims its product to be the best. With so many options, it can be incredibly difficult to choose the perfect shower head out of so many. Hence, we’ll look into some essential factors to consider before making a purchase. Here are the 5 main factors to keep in mind:
Always consider a shower valve with a non-toxic, high-quality material construction that is rust-free and easy to clean. More importantly, make sure the product has no broken parts that can result in inefficient operation or water wastage. Luckily, modern shower valves have a sealed design that resists leakage and a lifetime finish to stay corrosion-free.
2. Number of Controls
The number of controls depends upon the type of shower system you have in your bathroom. E.g., a bathroom with two shower heads may require two knob controls, while one with an added jet system might need up to three controls. Furthermore, the complexity of the controls should be easy enough to understand for each user, especially for children.
3. Bathroom Compliancy
Most shower valves have a universal design to fit the plumbing system in your house. However, some shower valves may require minor bathroom renovation or might be incompatible with your current shower system. Always purchase the compliant product for your bathroom to ensure it’ll be easy to install and work like a charm.
4. Valve Type
Thermostatic valves are costly but are more efficient and suitable for households with smaller children. While a more affordable option, manual valves can cause burns or irregular water temperatures and are not advised for people with sensitive skin. Hence, make sure to choose the right valve type that suits you and your family’s needs.
Finally, you should always keep your budget in mind when making a purchase. As mentioned, you can spend more on a valve with more functionality, or save money on a simpler option. Whichever you go for will depend on how much you’re willing to spend as well as your personal needs and preferences in terms of valve features.
Choose a Well-Known Brand
Purchasing a shower valve from a renowned brand allows you to claim or reclaim your warranty and get customer support from the company to resolve any issues. Such brands also provide high-quality products with defined specifications, so it’s easier for you to choose between options. On the other hand, a low-end or anonymous company might not offer you these benefits, and you could end up with a faulty, cheap product.
We encourage you to consider the different types of valves, look out for the features mentioned, and go for a recognized brand to pick the perfect shower valve for your home.