Selecting the correct type of shower system for your bathroom can be challenging. This guide will review the types of systems and provide the information needed to help you select the perfect shower system for your design.
Pressure Balanced Shower System
A pressure balanced shower has a pressure balancing valve designed to safely maintain water temperature despite pressure fluctuations in the hot and cold water supply.
Some pressure balanced valves have built-in diverter valves. The diverter can be a single button type diverter, or a three-way switch diverter. The number of features on your shower system, such as the addition of a hand shower or body sprays, will determine which type of diverter you need. Diverters can also be purchased separately from the pressure balanced valve. Some diverter valves offer dual operation of features on the system.
These shower systems can be of a simple design, which includes a mixing valve and a shower head as well as a more complex system with hand shower, tub spout or body spray additions. The more complex systems would require a diverter valve added to the system.
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Thermostatic Shower System
A thermostatic shower system contains a thermostatic valve which mixes hot and cold water to ensure constant, safe outlet temperatures and prevent scalding. These mixing valves compensate for variations in both the temperature and pressure of the incoming water supplies to maintain a temperature that is within 1 degree Celsius of the selected temperature.
Along with providing immediate response to temperature fluctuation, thermostatic mixing valves also allow high temperature storage, thereby reducing bacteria growth. The constant temperature regulation also greatly reduces the risk of thermal shock to the fixtures, increasing the lifespan of the faucet.
Some thermostatic valves have built-in diverters to switch between your hand shower, body sprays, etc., or even run two features at the same time. Other types of thermostatic valves use a separate diverter valve that is installed above the thermostatic valve that also allows dual operation of features. The number of features on your shower system, such as the addition of a hand shower or body sprays, will determine which type of diverter you need.
A thermostatic valve may also require the use of a volume control valve to function properly.
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Simple Select Shower Systems
A simple select shower system contains a simple select shower valve. This valve is a variation of the pressure balance valve; however, it offers built-in dual function of the features on the system. For example, if the system consists of a hand shower and overhead shower, the buttons can be selected at the same time, therefore operating both features simultaneously. Since the system is also pressure balanced, the water temperature will be balanced despite fluctuations in the hot and cold water supply. Due to their minimalistic design and dual function, these systems are growing in popularity. They do not require a separate diverter valve or a separate volume control valve
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Shower panels are a great alternative to a built-in shower system. They offer ease of installation, as they simply connect to a hot and cold water supply which eliminates the need for an in-wall valve. Due to their design, they offer an “all in one” experience with built in shower head, hand shower and body sprays. This is a very modern, desirable look for any bathroom.
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Exposed Showers provide a unique design option. These showers are offered in both modern and traditional designs to fit any décor. The exposed showers do not require an in-wall valve installation, as they connect directly to the bathroom wall and the hot and cold water lines. They are offered in pressure balanced as well as thermostatic options and can also include a tub spout. The ease of installation, function and style makes exposed showers a great option.
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