If the time has come to update your bathroom, then it’s possible that you will want to change your shower too, so if you’re considering the switch to a thermostatic shower then stick around and we’ll tell you all you need to know so you can install with confidence.
What Is A Thermostatic Shower And How Does It Work?
The thermostatic shower is a clever bit of kit that is fed by your hot and cold water supply through a thermostatic valve that maintains the perfect temperature as set by you. The valve allows the system to mix both hot and cold water without the worry of any hot or cold spots, so there will be no sudden change in temperature should someone use a tap or flush the toilet elsewhere in the house!
Thermostatic Shower vs Mixer Shower - What's The Difference?
Both systems rely on a hot and cold water supply but the main difference lies in the functionality. Mixer showers are slow to react to a change in temperature, hence the noticeable difference you feel should the water pressure suddenly change, and often with little warning too! Whereas the thermostatic valve adjusts the water temperature without you even knowing, so you can enjoy your shower to the max without having to constantly adjust the controls to get the desired temperature.
Thermostatic Shower vs Electric Shower - What's The Difference?
One of the main differences is how the water is heated. Thermostatic showers require water supply and a thermostatic valve whereas an electric shower is powered by the mains, which leads us onto another noticeable difference, the appearance. Thermostatic showers are available in a range of styles such as bar valves, concealed valves or exposed valves depending on your style, whereas the electric showers are powered by mains and therefore require an electric box on the wall.
What Are The Benefits Of A Thermostatic Shower?
- A constant temperature means they are safe for all to use.
- They are far more reliable for controlling temperature.
- The thermostatic valve automatically adjusts should the water pressure change.
- You can make them a design feature of your bathroom with matching taps to complete the look.
- They are more convenient and cheaper to run too.
How To Fit A Thermostatic Shower
If you are sold on the idea of installing a thermostatic shower then you’ve made a good choice, so keep on reading for a step by step guide on how to fit a thermostatic shower.
Step 1 - Disconnect The Water
First things first, you need to locate your stopcock and cut off the water supply, allowing for time for the pipes to drain before carrying out any major work.
Step 2 - Locate The Water Supply
Next, take note of where your current hot and cold water supply is coming from as this will determine how much work needs to be done. If you are installing above a bath, then this makes the job slightly easier as the water supply is already there, but if this is a new shower fitting within a cubicle for example then you will need to tap into the nearest water pipe for your supply of water. This is usually beneath the floorboards, but always seek professional advice if you are unsure.
Step 3 - Run The Pipes In
Now you’ve located the water supply, it's time to run the pipes to the shower. The hot water pipe is usually on the left-hand side, so make sure you double-check this before installing the thermostatic valve. With modern installations, plastic pipework may be easier to work with but this is personal preference as some find copper pipe better to work with, either way, new pipework will need to be flushed before it can be used properly to remove any dirt, and of course check for leaks. To do this, turn the water back on and allow water to run through the pipes, making sure you turn the water back off again before continuing once you are happy.
Step 4 - Shut Off Valve
Insert a shut-off valve on both the hot and cold water supply as close to the shower as possible.
Step 5 - Measure, Cut, Drill and Seal
This is where it starts to take shape and precision is key. First of all, you need to measure the amount of pipe (hot and cold) you’ll need for the valve to sit flush to the wall, then cut them to size. Then markup where the valve will sit and drill the holes required to attach the valve. And finally, to ensure that it's all watertight, place a compression ring in the entrance to each valve for a snug fit.
Step 6 - Connect The Valve
This is where all your hard work pays off as it’s time to connect it all together. To do this, you’ll need to align the valve with the hot and cold pipes to ensure they fit perfectly inside, then secure the valve to the wall, then all being well you should have a fully functioning valve and shower.
Step 7 - Install The Rest Of The Shower
And to complete the installation, you can now fit the rest of your shower, so whether its a flexible shower hose or a fixed riser pipe, you’ll need to fit the showerhead or handset depending on what style you have chosen. Sometimes riser pipes need to be cut to size so bear this in mind before you put the tools away and remember always use a pipe cutter, not a saw as this will give a cleaner finish.