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Shower Valve Height and Types

A shower valve controls and regulates your water when showering. There are many valves inside a home, such as a bath or a washing machine valve. A new shower valve supplies you with a better experience when getting nice and clean. Aside from the features a shower valve provides, there are mandatory shower valve height guidelines to abide by.

Appropriate Heights for Your Shower Valve

You must install your show fixtures correctly to reduce complications. A shower stall and bathtub have different height measurements. A bathtub has a shower valve installed lower than a shower stall for ease of access.

Plumbing codes in your local area determine your shower valve height. The code on bathtubs is an average of 28 inches in height, which is 2.4 feet. Shower stall valves are almost double bathtubs with a height of 45-48 inches. Remember to check your local codes as some vary from the standard, and others don’t have any regulations at all.

There are plenty of reasons why shower valve heights have regulations. The main reason is due to comfort. If you live with other people, then the chances are that not everyone is the same type of build. The shower valve height ensures comfortability for anyone showering.

What if you or a family member are disabled? You’re in luck! According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the law provides leeway for the disabled in shower height valve placement. Disabled individuals have an extended 10-inch gap for the placement of fixtures. This means you can install the shower valve between 38-48 inches from the shower floor.

Types of Shower Valves

There are many types of shower valves to choose from when building or upgrading your home. You should base these valve types on your personal preference. Also, on whether you are seeking to install a valve for a shower stall or bathtub.

Mixing Valves

A mixing valve is often seen in older construction. These valves are based on hot and cold taps to provide the shower head water. This could be a valve that brings forth an unsettling shower experience. Mixing valves are unable to handle changes in water pressure.

If you run a busy household that tends to use water while someone is showering, this valve won’t be a perfect choice. A different type of valve can be beneficial for your household if you suspect having a mixing valve from sudden temperature changes. You can also lower the water heater to roughly 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Most codes added anti-scalding features in an attempt to drop sudden water changes.

Pressure Balancing Valves

A pressure balancing valve is one of the most common types of valves installed in new homes. These valves are also called an anti-scald valve. They rebalance water pressure and prevent the shower water from becoming too hot.  Older homes may not have plumbing that can handle pressure balancing valves.

Diverter Valves

A diverter valve has three types that allow you to have a combination of a shower and bathtub. When dealing with a diverter valve, it is best to become accustomed to how it works outside of the shower.

A tee diverter is a fixture that runs the bathwater and has a handle, knob, or arm on the spout. These features will pull outward to trigger the water toward the shower head. A 2-valve diverter is in the shape of an L and can supply water to two outlets – in this case, a bathtub and a shower head. A 2-valve diverter cannot provide water to both outlets at the same time. A 3-valve diverter is best used for showers that have many attachments.

Thermostatic Valves

These valves are keen on regulating temperature. They also control normal water pressure that others help balance. These valves have two handles. The handles control both the temperature and pressure of the water.

Thermostatic valves are common, like pressure balancing valves, but also more costly. Most thermostatic valves let you preset water temperatures with a dial.

Transfer Valves

A transfer valve is like a diverter valve but with one key difference of the water supply not being limited. A transfer valve is an excellent resource for running many outlets at one time. This can be essential for multiple shower heads.

Common Shower Valve Issues

Have you ever had your water fluctuate in temperature mid-shower? This would be due to the shower valve. A new valve eliminates drastic fluctuations. This provides accurate heating and cooling preferences based on your preferred settings. Changing your valve also eliminates lime or dirt build-up and aging issues.

Another issue with shower valves is a leak. If you notice a leak, it is an urgent matter. You must change the shower valve immediately. A noticeable leak means that there could be a much more severe leak behind the wall.

A shower valve height that is installed too high or too low can create issues for the user. For example, if you are a shorter individual with a too-tall shower valve, it could be uncomfortable to take a shower. It is best to remember that a shower head must be placed according to code from the shower valve.

Installing Your Shower Valve

Now, you might be wondering how to clean, replace, or install your shower valve. There are many steps to installing a new shower valve. Be sure to keep in mind your state’s regulations for shower valve height.

A shower valve is much harder to replace than a shower head. You could always call your local plumber for a quicker and easier installation. Installing a shower valve is a challenging DIY task.

Here’s a simple guide on installing a brand-new shower valve in preparation for a shower handle:

The first step is to cut off the water to your bathroom to avoid damage or flooding. Then, you’ll need to have tools to cut through the shower and drywall. You need to make an opening to access the piping behind the fixture.

Once you have access to the wall behind the shower, take a tape measure and mark the shower valve height. I recommend measuring the shower head at the same time to ensure everything is correctly installed.

Take a screwdriver and drill a stud into the wall. This should be placed between the other two studs currently in place.

You’ll need to make the piping and adapters are firm. You can wrap these with Teflon tape at the ends. Then, connect the hot and cold water adapters with a wrench. Double-check that these water adapters are correct and not mixed up. Take the Teflon tape and connect a PEX tube on top of the valve. There should be an elbow sleeve that you’ll attach to another PEX tube.

Now, it is time to drill holes with high precision for your fixture’s placement. Once you are done drilling, you can install the shower handle with the instruction manual.

Use the information from this guide to change out a shower valve with the removal of a few steps. Instead of installing, you’ll mainly be dealing with disconnecting pipes and reassembling a new shower valve with a kit from your local handy store.

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