You must have a clear idea about various types of shower valves before learning to replace them. Each of those has a unique function. Be it thermostatic or pressure balancing valves, both are important for proper functioning of water delivery system. Pressure and thermostatic ones maintain and control the temperature of water from the shower. From the showerhead, water is transferred to the tub faucet by transfer and diverter valves.
Types of shower valve
- Pressure-balancing valve
This valve maintains the temperature of the shower water by making sure that the ratio of hot to cold water is constant. A piston in the valve is respond, when the pressure of cold and hot water pipe changes.
While flushing the toilet, the pressure automatically fluctuates and in turn, the valve restricts the hot water from flowing. What happens is that, the cold water is also reduced thus lowering the overall pressure.
- Thermostatic mixing valve
This controls the temperature of the shower water. Its major advantage is that by just turning the shower knob, we can wait for the water to reach a particular desired temperature. It comes in both normal form and digital electronic form. The former uses some kind of heat-sensitive material that expands with heat to restrict hot water flow.
In the automatic balancing system, when less quantity of hot water seems to get through, the temperature automatically reduces and the heat-sensitive material cools. This in turn results in more hot water to get through.
- Diverter and Transfer valve
Water is diverted in only one direction in the diverter valve, whereas in transfer valve, it is possible to run water from more than one outlet. Few shower panels and hand-held showers make use of transfer valve.
When to change or replace your shower valve
- When there is a leak
- When it reacts slowly
When you feel that your shower reacts slowly lately, you should consider change or upgrade it.
- When you want to try one with an automatic pre-set temperature
Having such a valve, saves your time and you don’t have to waste time fidgeting with the water temperature. This is extremely useful when there are elderly people and young children around.
A leaking valve must definitely be replaced, as there may be more leaking behind the wall. This damages the walls in the bathroom.
Brief steps to change the shower valve
Remove the handle of the shower. You will find a screw on the backside of the cap. Remove the screw and then the handle. Cover the tub drain using a cloth to prevent screws from falling down the drain. Proceed by removing the trim place. In case the trim plate is surrounded by caulking, utility knife can be used to get rid of it.
Next an access hole must be cut. This hole must be concealed behind the cover plate and ensure that the hole is not too big. Determine the fittings required as every valve might require different set of adjustments. Remove the old valve and see that there is sufficient amount of copper left for the new valve. The new valve can now be installed.
Before installing the new valve, see that the copper pipes are free of solder and burs. Before starting the soldering, remove the housing and plastic cartridge from the valve. Before installing the new valve, make any necessary adjustments if required. Cap the bottom of the valve if there isn’t any attached bathtub.
Place the valve in the right position before soldering it. The space is minimal, so maintain caution and don’t set fire. It is handy to have a fire extinguisher as a precautionary measure. Pay attention to each single joint while soldering.