Thermostatic Shower Valve Buying Guide | Pressure Balance vs. Thermostatic Shower Valves
The situation is a familiar one.
You’re enjoying a relaxing shower, charging up for the day or winding down for the night, when someone flushes a toilet. For the next 30 seconds (which feels like 30 minutes), you’re in the midst of a scalding hot flow of water as the toilet tank refills.
In other cases, someone might run hot water as they fill the washing machine, and there you stand, submerged in cold water, the relaxing shower you had envisioned ruined.
Aside from inconvenience and shock, a quick change in water temperature can lead to significant injuries, especially for children and the elderly. An extreme change in water temperature can startle the person showering, leading them to slip and fall. Scalding hot water can also cause burns, especially for those with sensitive skin.
There is a solution. Shower valves now have the capability to balance temperature and pressure, allowing you to enjoy your shower in temperature-controlled comfort — regardless of the water use in the rest of the house.
Water Temperature Regulation
In a shower, hot and cold water flow together in a ratio that is determined by turning the shower faucet handles and adjusting their respective rates. Some faucets have one handle that controls both temperatures at the same time while others have two handles, one for hot water and one for cold water.
Unfortunately, in a house with multiple people, others may need to use the water as well. So when a toilet is flushed, for instance, cold water is diverted from the shower to fill the toilet tank, creating a scalding hot shower since only hot water is available at that moment. In contrast, if someone uses hot water, to wash dishes or do a load of laundry, hot water is diverted, and the person in the shower is stuck under a stream of icy water.
Many times, in the midst of either scalding or freezing, you may have found yourself reaching for the faucet handle and adjusting either the hot or cold water to rebalance the temperature, only to have it thrown out of whack as soon as the water is no longer diverted from the shower, and the temperature must be adjusted again.
Pressure Balance vs. Thermostatic Valves
There are two types of regulating valves to ensure a consistent temperature for the duration of a shower. Each has its benefits, but one definitely comes out on top when it comes to delivering the perfect shower experience.
Pressure Balance Shower Valves
Pressure balance shower valves do just what their name implies. They balance the water pressure to compensate for a lack of hot or cold water, maintaining a stable temperature. Unfortunately, this style of shower valve only balances the pressure in order to maintain a consistent temperature.
The pressure of the water from the shower head can vary greatly as the temperature is stabilized. This is especially noticeable in low-flow shower heads or a shower setup with more than one shower head. The reduction in pressure, while not necessarily as shocking as a change in temperature, can still disrupt the shower experience.
Pressure balance shower valves are more affordable, making them appealing to those working within a set budget. It might be a bit inconvenient that it only balances the temperature and not the water flow, but not having to worry about extreme temperatures is worth it to stay safe in the shower.
Thermostatic Shower Valves
Pressure balanced shower valves utilize changes in water pressure to balance the shower temperature, but thermostatic shower valves actually control the water temperature. Thermostatic shower valves have a distinct advantage since the temperature will remain consistent throughout the duration of your shower.
Thermostatic shower valves allow you to pre-set the water temperature, ensuring that the water won’t become hotter or colder than your desired setting while still allowing each person to manually adjust the water temperature. Pre-selecting a water temperature also conserves water, making it an environmentally-friendly option. The high flow rates of a thermostatic shower valve also accommodate a variety of shower applications.
Choosing a Thermostatic Shower Valve and Trim
There are a wide variety of thermostatic shower valves and trims to choose from that can enhance a bathroom design — creating incredible functionality along with a blissful shower experience.
This two-handle system adds a sleek touch in a shower design. The easy-grip lever handle and hexagonal handle with protrusions make turning the shower on and off and adjusting the shower temperature easy.
This trim kit is compatible with four different thermostatic valves (SS-TH2000, SS-TH4000, SS-THVD2 or SS-THVD3), meaning that you can choose the thermostatic valve that is perfect for your application and needs.
The H-Line 115 wall mounted mini shower valve trim kit is compatible with three thermostatic shower valves (SS-TH60, SS-TH70, or SS-TH80). Each of these thermostatic valves includes integral stops and check valves, and you can choose from a 1-, 2- or 3-way diverter. All three choices include volume control.
The mini trim kit is the perfect fit in a smaller shower, as the faceplate is only 3 ½” wide and 6 ⅜” tall, and the handles create an edgy, streamlined design.
This Brooklyn 31 circular wall mounted thermostatic shower trim looks great with any shower design while bringing a simplistic, industrial element to the table. This trim kit requires the SS-TH1000 or SS-TH3000 thermostatic valve.
This shower kit offers an earthy feel with a sleek look. The simple look allows for easy use when changing water temperature and turning on and off the shower while remaining a great option for any shower design.
This Elan Vital 38 Mini has built-in control while appearing modern and sleek. This petite trim kit is great for small showers while still offering a modish look that never goes out of style.
Perfect for a luxury shower design, this wall-mounted thermostatic shower trim comes with two built-in controls. Easy-grip lever handles make adjusting the water volume a breeze, and the single temperature control in the center allows you to set the perfect temperature that won’t change throughout the duration of the shower.
This trim kit is compatible with the SS-TH6000 thermostatic valve with two built-in volume controls and one temperature control valve in the center. This setup allows for two outlets to run simultaneously.
This trim kit combines the classy look of a lever handle with an industrial look, making for a unique style great for showers. This style makes it effortless to start and stop your shower, along with adjusting the temperature.
This kit is compatible with the SS-TH2000, which offers built-in volume control, the SS-TH4000, which includes integral stops and check valves, or the SS-THVD2 valves, which includes volume control and a 2-way diverter.
This shower kit gives a classy, nostalgic vibe that will look elegant in any shower. This product makes working the shower a breeze, while still maintaining a polished and clean look to any shower design. This style is available in two marble colors: Ferra White or Cordoba Black Marble.
Sutton 111 Small Size
Ideal for smaller showers and those that desire a streamlined design, this simple lever handle centered in a circular plate adds a stylish element. This trim kit is compatible with the SS-TH500 thermostatic shower valve that allows you to pre-select water temperature and compensates for fluctuations in water pressure which prevents scalding (note that an additional volume control is needed).
Get the Control You Deserve
No matter your thermostatic shower valve needs, Watermark has a variety of valves and corresponding trim kits that will create the perfect, temperature-controlled shower experience.