Advice for new construction bath/shower thermostatic valves & handles

Discussion in 'Shower & Bathtub Forum & Blog' started by monty, May 10, 2011.

  1. monty

    monty New Member

    Messages:
    41
    Location:
    San Francisco
    We are working on our final design for a new home and need help picking out good quality shower thermostatic valves etc...

    I want to make sure we pick something that is #1 easy to service, #2 will still have parts available 10 years from now, #3 doesn't require ripping the tile out to fix anything other than a cartridge.

    I had many problems with Hans-Grohe thermostatic mixing valves in our last home and got pretty good at fixing them. However, they didn't have service stops, had a flimsy cover held on by velcro, and IF we didn't fix them with new cartridges and such we would have had to tear out tile and walls to replace the units (fortunately we never did).

    I don't mind a larger cover plate on the wall if it allows better access (even replacement) of the entire assembly in the future.

    I know nothing is perfect - but I wanted some expert opinions from people here. Thanks in advance!

    We will have 2 stand alone showers, 1 tub/shower combo, 1 tub only.
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,325
    Location:
    New England
    I have a Grohe unit that has been holding up well. Not sure which company is older, but they are (I think) related.

    Delta R10000 rough-in valve supports three different cartridges/trim types: standard single handle pressure balanced, two handle with volume and temp, and a thermostatically controlled valve. How it works depends on which trim/cartridge set you buy for it. The bigger plumbing supply stores sell them separately...the big box stores usually package the rough-in and a trim set in one box (limiting your choices). The R10000 valve body can be purchased with or without stops.

    On any (that I know of) shower valves, if you follow the manufacturers guidelines for the size of the hole in the wall, you can service that valve. It would be a strange valve that could be replaced in its entirety without making the hole larger. For that, they make a remodel plate to cover the larger hole.
  3. Delta 1700

    Delta would be my first choice over all the rest...

    The rest of their product lines have gone to hell with this
    diamond seal technology... but the stardard tub and shower valves are still top of the line...
  4. monty

    monty New Member

    Messages:
    41
    Location:
    San Francisco
    Thanks for the information - kind of surprised at Delta, but that is why I asked!
  5. monty

    monty New Member

    Messages:
    41
    Location:
    San Francisco
    Thanks to the advice above we are now looking at the Delta 1700 lineup.

    However, another question has come up - We are doing a very large walk-in shower for our Master Bath, so of course we want more than one shower head. We are looking at doing 1 or 2 standard wall mount heads, and an centered ceiling mounted overhead rain head.

    As I understand it Local and California code requires that each hand controlled shower valve can only provide a max 2.5gpm output (so all body sprays, shower heads etc. must total 2.5gpm max). We will need 2 or 3 handles - For 2 handles we would need 1.25 gpm shower heads on the walls controlled by one handle, and a handle to control the 2.5gpm on the ceiling. If all shower heads are 2.5gpm we would need 3 separate handles which of course gets expensive...

    The Delta 3 way diverters I have seen do 1 on, 1+2 on and 3 on. etc...so no 1, 2, or 3 individually.

    Our local inspectors are pretty strict on what can go on a valve - so stacking or doing a manifold apparently won't fly here, and they insist on every outlet having individual thermostatic and pressure balance...
  6. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,325
    Location:
    New England
    I may be wrong, and CA is often different, but there are national requirements on how much each showerhead can flow, but not (yet?) how many you can have. A typical 1/2" supply valve can flow probably in the order of 6-7 gpm. A 3/4" valve can flow probably twice that. So, the limiting factor on a shower is more how much flow is required...if the valve can't support it, you'll have a marginal to unsatisfactory result. Now, a diverter is designed to supply multiple devices with one main valve feeding it (pressure balanced, or thermostatically controlled). Each head must have those features, but it would be strange that CA would require each to have an individual valve (maybe they do).
  7. monty

    monty New Member

    Messages:
    41
    Location:
    San Francisco
    From what I have found the new (Jan 1, 2011) California Title 24 Requirements are as follows:

    Indoor Water Use: A 20% reduction in potable water use shall be demonstrated. Also, when
    more than one shower head serves a shower, the combined flow rate of all the showerheads
    shall not exceed 2.5 gallons per minute.

    EDIT: Further Clarification found...

    4.303.2 Multiple showerheads serving one shower. When single shower fixtures are served by more than one showerhead, the combined flow rate of all the showerheads shall not exceed the maximum flow rates specified in the 20 percent reduction column contained in Table 4.303.2 or the shower shall be designed to only allow one showerhead to be in operation at a time.

    Exception: The maximum flow rate for showerheads when using the calculation method specified in Section 4.303.1, Item 2, is 2.5 gpm @ 80 psi.
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2011
  8. monty

    monty New Member

    Messages:
    41
    Location:
    San Francisco
    Are there diverters that exist to control 3 heads independently and exclusively?

    I am now re-thinking my use of 3 heads - seems like It would be nice to have 2 wall shower heads on at one time. Now they would have to be 1.2 gpm each - I guess I could change them in the future, after inspection and CO, if they don't provide enough water. The diverter/switch would then turn on the overhead 2.2 gpm rain head unit...

    Need a diverter that turns on 1, 2 or 1+2, then 3 for the rain head...delta 3 way diverter wont work...it does 1,2 or 1+2

    Our shower is designed for 2 people to shower at the same time (frequently done in our old home)...so 2 heads are needed.
  9. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    Not all construction in CA has to comply with Title 24. It would come into play for public housing, subsidized housing, possibly if you were looking for LEED or energy rebates.
  10. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,267
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    I cannot find the Delta diverter by itself right now, but the integral ones are six function, usually; 1, 1&2, 2, 2&3, 3, 3&1.
  11. monty

    monty New Member

    Messages:
    41
    Location:
    San Francisco
    I was mistaken calling it Title 24 - it is actually CalGreen and it does apply to us - our city code already had something pretty close to this in place as well, so they are will enforce it. My only hope is that the shower can be deemed a 2 person shower and can then have 2 separately controlled and valved 2.2 gpm heads on each. A third overhead could be used but it would need to be on only with the other 2 off.

    If we can get the 2 wall showers on, with a dedicated control valve for each one, then a diverter to turn both of those off - turning on the overhead rain head that would work - don't know if we can make that fly...
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