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Have you ever stepped into a shower and the water temperature suddenly shifted from very cool or hot? This is caused by a sudden drop in water pressure at either the hot or cold valves and can be caused if someone turned on the water at another fixture or a large appliance. This article will provide some insight on the different types of water pressure balance and thermostatic shower valves to use in your home.
Water Pressure Balance
Water pressure is necessary to regulate the flow and efficiency we need for household tasks such as housekeeping, bathing, and gardening. Water pressure (symbol p) is the measure of force that gets water into mains and through water pipes. The typical water inlet pressure in a home is between 40 – 45 psi (pound force per square inch) but should not exceed 60 psi. Gauges, usually installed at an exterior source, are a low-cost device which help regulate water pressure into the home. Mains water pressure should be strong enough to fill a 4.5-liter container (1 gallon) in about 30 seconds.
Maintaining pressure balance is important where you need consistent, stable water flow for example, at bathroom fixtures, an irrigation system, or to operate a large appliance. Used in shower head and bathroom fixture design, a pressure-balance valve helps regulate water temperature from cold to hot regardless of fluctuations at either supply line.
Thermostatic Shower Valves
Thermostatic valves (TSVs) generally have two handles: one to control volume and the other to maintain temperature. TSVs are designed to react to temperature, not pressure. With a TSV, you can change the volume flow without affecting the temperature, making water conservation easy and efficient. Changing the volume flow is made possible by an element inside the valve that contracts when it comes in contact with heat. When water reaches the maximum temperature setting, the element expands, reducing the flow of hot water to balance with cold water. If the supply of water should fail, the valve will close off flow from the other side.
The benefit of thermostatic valves is the direct control over the output temperature. Generally, a home water heater should be maintained at 140° F to protect against contamination from the mains to piping. The standard for water coming from your shower head can be set to a maximum output temperature of 100°F.
It is recommended to consult your plumber on the type of pressure balance kit or TSV for your needs and budget. For example, families with small children or elderly parents in the home may need a set water pressure and temperature for everyday use.
As one of the most highly experienced service providers in South Florida, Art Plumbing, AC & Electric is licensed and state-certified in commercial and residential plumbing and fixture installation. A family owned and operated business since 1983 and serving South Florida, we are known for providing the highest standard of quality plumbing services to our clients.