AZ BathMasters

How Do You Know Which Tub and Shower Valve to Use in a Replacement?


AZ BathMasters is a locally owned and operated bathroom remodeling company specializing in Cast stone Tyvarian slabs shower and tub conversions, walk-in-showers, and tub and shower side-by-sides. Our conversions produce a fresh, clean, and beautiful atmosphere.

Your bathroom remodel is exciting. You’re getting the shower (or tub) you always wanted. You’re going to be able to enjoy bathing more than ever, and just looking at the finished product will make you smile. But, before you get there, you have a lot of decisions to make, and some of them feel pretty technical. For instance, what kind of valve are you going to pick for the tub and shower? The answer to this question matters for the performance of your plumbing, so if you don’t already know how to answer it, keep reading.

Do You Have a Shower/Tub Combo?

The first thing to consider is the setup of your tub and shower. Combos have hot and cold water run from a single faucet valve to two outlets. In other words, you control the temperature of the shower and the bath from the same handle (or pair of handles). This setup is different from solo tubs or solo showers, and it requires a specialized valve known as a diverter valve. Diverter valves still come in different sizes and shapes, but tub/shower combos always need one. This is the plumbing hardware that actually switches the flow of water between the shower or the tub outlet. When you pull that little handle to get water to come out of the shower head, you’re engaging the diverter valve.

If you don’t have a shower/tub combo, then you can consider other valves.

Controlling Water Pressure

Have you ever showered in an old home and had the shower get really hot when someone in a different bathroom flushed the toilet? This has to do with pressure regulation. The flushed toilet pulls cold water from the main line. That leaves a temporary shortage of cold water coming out of the shower. Since the hot water flows at the same rate, the person showering suddenly gets a blast of heat that can be very uncomfortable.

You can solve this problem with modern valves. The old mixing valves simply connect hot and cold water pipes. There is no pressure regulation. These days, there are two kinds of valves that regulate water pressure and prevent this issue. The first is a pressure-balancing valve. It’s the most common tub and/or shower valve used today, and it will only allow your shower temperature to vary by about three degrees Fahrenheit. The valve has pistons or diaphragms inside of it, and these regulate pressure through the valve. When a different plumbing device pulls on one type of water, the valve compensates, and you don’t get a jump in hot or cold water flow. The other common choice is a thermostatic valve. This type of valve is even more advanced, and consequently more expensive. These valves contain a thermostatic element that is designed to adjust the flow of hot or cold water in order to maintain a consistent temperature. They are more consistent than pressure balancing valves. Whether or not that consistency is worth the price is up to you.

Get Professional Help

There are tons of specialty valves out there, and covering them all could fill a few books. If you want to be able to explore all of your options and be sure that you’re making the best choice for what you want, ask a pro. Contractors and plumbers have seen it all, and they can help you make informed decisions.

When you’re in the Phoenix area, AZ Bathmasters are the experts you want on your side.

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