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What is a Shower Safety Valve and Other Shower facts

Posted 08-06-2009 at 05:03 PM by faucetman886

Back in the good ole days when I was young, and so was dirt, taking a shower was simple you either stood outside while your parents sprayed you down on your way back from the outhouse or if you were lucky enough to have indoor plumbing you just adjusted the hot and cold water knobs to the temperature you wanted and turned the knob to divert the water from the faucet to the shower head. Along the way you hoped no one flushed a toilet or decided to use hot water in some other part of the house. My oldest son, John, lives the “green” life to the max even these days, living on a small farm in central Tennessee. He has an outhouse and for a shower he heats water on a wood stove to pour into a 5 gallon bucket which he stands under and dumps on himself to rinse off. Needless to say, we stay in the local motel when visiting.
Today building a new home or remodeling an old one requires some careful thinking when it comes to your plumbing choices especially the shower equipment. Unlike a simple bathroom sink faucet or maybe a little more complicated kitchen variety, the shower system is hard installed when the wall is still open and unfinished and the components from one manufacturer to the other do not match nor fit one another. If something breaks in the future it can be a real problem to repair or replace and so I recommend that you spend the most money you can to get the best possible quality.
There are many things to consider beyond whether you want chrome or oil rubbed bronze. You have to choose the type of safety valve, more on those below, the type of shower head, hand held, wall or ceiling mounted, rain style, etc and even the style of diverter and tub filler faucet. The choices are endless and expensive. So the best option is to choose your brand and style carefully and buy the complete package all at one time. Many manufacturers and vendors offer these packages at special prices.
Now as to "Safety Valves" they are now mandated, by code, throughout the United States, thermostatic temperature control valves and pressure balance valves insure maximum bathing safety for everyone in your household.What is a Safety Valve? We’ve all been there before. You’ve just stepped under your nice hot shower when someone else in the house either turns on a faucet or flushes the toilet; suddenly the temperature of your shower plummets to freezing cold or becomes scalding hot – leaving you with soap in your eyes as you try to manually adjust the temperature back to a comfortable level. While style and versatility are important when it comes to planning a new bathroom, so is safety...and particularly important for small children, physically disabled people, and elderly people. Safety valves prevent the temperature shocks associated with accidental scalding and falls in the shower.
Thermostatic valves work by constantly mixing hot and cold water to a preselected temperature. No matter what effects the water supply to your shower (temperature or pressure), the thermostat reacts by recalibrating the quantities of hot and cold water required to maintain the correct temperature. For convenience, peace of mind and economy all in one, a thermostat is a must.
Pressure balance valves mean peace of mind for you and your family with economical, reliable shower protection from scalding and cold shocks. If a toilet is flushed or a dishwasher is turned on, the available hot or cold water supply has an immediate pressure change.

Safety Valve Comparison Chart
Thermostatic temperature control valves and pressure balance valves both offer scald protection for you and your family, but there are differences.

Thermostatic Temperature Control Valves and Pressure Balance Valves
Both offer the following:
Compensates for hot or cold water pressure fluctuations and maintains selected shower temperature. No matter how the water pressure is effected by someone washing dishes or laundry, watering the lawn, or flushing a toilet, etc., you are protected.
Protects against scalding if the cold water supply is cut off by automatically shutting off the flow of hot water.

Additionally Thermostatic Temperature Control Valves offer the following that pressure balance valves don’t:
Automatically maintains your selected shower temperature (within 1° F) regardless of changes in the temperature of your hot or cold water supply. Eliminates the need to manually re-adjust the temperature setting as your hot water heater empties.
Allows you to precisely pre-select your water temperature before you step into your shower which saves water and energy.
Allows you to run multiple shower outlets simultaneously while accurately maintaining water temperature at each outlet.

The safety valve is the most important part of your system. Now use the above info to decide which will work best for you then choose a diverter to switch water from faucet to shower head, decide on a shower system as I mentioned earlier and lather up. Well you have to wait for it to be installed so get the garden hose out for the rinse cycle or put the water in the stove to heat, like my son, until the bathroom is finished.
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