Multiple showerheads and bodysprays call for mutliple shower valves.
Showerheads may seem like the key component for a functional shower, but don’t forget about the shower valve. Placed behind the handle that turns on your shower, shower valves control the flow and temperature of the water coming out of your showerhead. Valves are covered by valve trim, which will typically have a finish that matches your showerhead.
Building codes mandate that newly built homes have either pressure-balancing or thermostatic valves in the showers. Although these two types of valves operate differently, both will prevent scalding and automatically shutoff when they detect drastic fluctuations in water pressure. You can also prevent scalding by simply setting the maximum temperature of your hot water tank below 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
Another important consideration is valve size. Older homes typically have 1/2-inch plumbing pipes, while newer homes usually have 3/4-inch pipes. The valve diameter must match that of the pipes.
- Shower valves come in two diameter sizes: 1/2- and 3/4-inch.
- A larger diameter will allow for a greater amount of gallons per minute. In addition, thermostatic valves allow more flow than pressure-balance valves. For instance, a 3/4-inch thermostatic valve might be able to support 20 gpm. This is an important feature for showers with multiple showerheads and sprays.
- In most cases, a 1/2-inch valve provides sufficient water for a shower with one or two fixtures, such as a showerhead and a handspray. You can find a 1/2-inch pressure-balance valve that supports 5 gpm, while a 1/2-inch thermostatic valve will produce more gpm.
- 3/4-inch valves are more expensive than 1/2-inch valves.
- In general, 3/4-inch valves are recommended for custom showers with multiple showerheads and bodysprays.