Can someone suggest a good shower valve and explain pressure balance vs thermostatic

Discussion in 'Shower & Bathtub Forum & Blog' started by shadysprings, May 5, 2010.

  1. shadysprings

    shadysprings New Member

    Messages:
    28
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    I finally had it with the Price Pfister 08 tract home cheapo valve. So I tore the drywall down behind the shower and now have full open access to valve. Wide open with no shower head it passes 4gpm. That's with a brand new cartridge. Without the cartridge, water flow is 30 gpm. So this valve somehow restricts the flow from 30 to 4 gpm.

    I want to replace with a good quality valve that can do a true 8-12 gpm min. I want the shower head to limit to 2.2gpm, not the valve.

    I was told to look at Grohe thermostatic valves and not pressure balanced ones. Can someone chime in and educate me please on why a thermostatic valve can do 18 gpm easy but pressure balanced are around 4-8 gpm max.

    And finally, is there a gold standard shower valve that you pro's use?

    Below is a picture of my attempt to increase flow by using both shower and tub outlets together to increase flow. Don't laugh at my skills, :) I'm a C-10 electrical contractor. Anyway, this didn't work.
    [​IMG]
  2. Thermostatics are used world wide; PB is not. Go figure.
    With only one shower head, you only need a 1/2" diameter not a 3/4" diameter thermostatic. Saves you money.

    At http://starcraftcustombuilders.com/articleslist.htm are articles that will help you get an idea which company makes products of high or low quality.
    P-Pf is medium low. Moen too.
    Delta is OK.
    Anything above Delta is good, and can get expensive.
    Nobody is giving it away. It's not a commodity and they won't make it into one.

    Hope this helps.
    It's a start.
  3. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,289
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    Geniescience,
    I haven't found the shower faucet rating yet, but I did stumble upon this nonsense.
    Where are they getting their facts from?
    Any plumber reading this paragraph is going to be laughing his work boots off.

    All new toilets come standard for a 12" rough.
    You options are 10", 12" and 14"
    I have never heard of anything else. If you were to install an eight inch rough like the article suggests, you would never find a toilet to fit.
    All one piece toilets except for a few by Toto and Caroma absolutely need the 12" rough-in. (The Toto and Caroma can use as little as 10" if you have the correct fitting)
    You won't find a Kohler, American Standard or anything else with less then a 12" rough in a one-piece.
    None of the toilets manufactured today require a 14" or 16"
    In the 1920's, they had 14" rough toilets, so unless you are installing some old antique from the 20"s, you should go with 12"

    I would love to see what they make up about faucets.
    There is no way that Star Craft Custom Builders would be allowed to work in my home.
    Last edited: May 6, 2010
  4. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,262
    Location:
    New England
    A pressure balanced valve typically (not all) is an all or nothing type of volume valve. It adjusts the mix of hot and cold supplies, and does not care what their actual temperature is - you set it. If the supply temperatures change, it doesn' care as all it is doing is mixing the ratios you set. So, in the summer, when your cold water may be quite warm, you won't need as much hot to find your 'perfect' shower temperature, and in the winter, you will need lots more hot to make it the same temperature. And, if you are the unlucky one to be second or third in taking a shower, you may need to run all hot to reach your 'perfect' temperature.

    A thermostatic vavle often has an independent volume control to turn the water on or off. It does not adjust the temperature, only the volume. There is another dial, lever, knob or something that sets the desired output temperature. On many, this can adjust fast enough (a second or less) to fulfill the anti-scald requirement of the US. The advantage is, you can set the temperature adjustment to your 'perfect' temperature, winter/summer, beginning of the WH tank/end of use, and as long as there's enough hot water to make it your 'perfect' temp, it will adjust the incoming cold from lots, to nothing to try to maintain that temperature. My first experience with those was in a hotel in London. Their plumbing wasn't the greatest, and you could tell the pressure was fluctuating all over the place, but the temperature of the output stayed the same. Those happened to be Grohe valves (which I eventually put into my home shower).
  5. shadysprings

    shadysprings New Member

    Messages:
    28
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Thanks for the insightful answer. I was looking a Grohe valves today and they all come threaded. If i use teflon tape, then solder on an L, does the heat destroy the teflon tape? I'm trying to figure out the flow of having threaded components and also sweat connections too.
  6. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,262
    Location:
    New England
    Many of those valves allow you to either screw on a fitting, or you'll find that the valve itself will act like a fitting - the valve I installed for my mother (a Grohe) was that way. See if a piece of pipe will fit inside. If so, you can remove the cartridges and solder it in. It depends on how close you need to solder, whether you'll end up with problems. If there's enough pipe sticking out before you need to solder, if you wrap a damp rag around the pipe and the valve, it will block transmission of most of the heat towards the valve. Keep in mind too, that a fitting, verses the valve, has much less mass, so it will heat up faster, allowing you to finish soldering it. This somewhat depends on the type of torch you use - MAPP is hotter than propane, and thus, you don't need it to be on the fitting as long. A small torch means you'll be on the fitting much longer, which gives that heat a chance to migrate much further.
  7. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,026
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    Re; the article on toilets. The distance the toilet projects into the room is affected by the dimension from the opening in the toilet to the front of the bowl, and these days that is usually the same regardless of whether it is a 12" or 14" dimension. In most cases a 10 bowl will project the same as a 12" one because they modify the bowl to compensate for the shorter measurement. You will NOT find a toilet that fits on less than 10" unless it has a special mounting system. As for the original question, the code requirement is EITHER pressure balancing or thermostatic, because either will minimize the possibility of scalding if there is a flow imbalance. Some valves have both features, but most use one or the other. Many manufacturers WILL reduce the flow through the valve to prevent the user from removing the shower head flow control to get a greater volume. I usually just invert the valve and use the tub opening for the shower, rather than go to the trouble of making a connection such as yours., since ALL the flow you are going to get is what comes out of the tub opening.
    Last edited: May 6, 2010
  8. JMEDGAR

    JMEDGAR New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    Nebraska
    About Toilet Rough-in Offsets

    Terry,

    In the late 19th and early 20th century rough-in offsets were not standardized. Builders settled on the 12" standard offset only after WWII when the rush to build millions of middle-class houses required that as many things be standardized as possible.

    Before standardization, however, manufacturers used whatever rough-in offset they pleased. We frequently find 8", 9" 11", 15" and 16" offsets in old houses, and old time plumbers here still remember when 18" offsets were required for some early one-piece toilets.

    You statement that

    is incorrect, or at least incomplete.

    New 8" (20cm) rough-in offsets are available from Duravit and a number of other manufacturers that originate in Europe where the 20cm offset is fairly common. Further, any number of salvagers of vintage toilets have units that fit an 8" offset. So getting a toilet to fit an 8" offset is no problem.

    Keep the article in context. The site is about remodeling, not building new, and we often have a call for non-standard offsets -- especially in high end houses that often used European plumbing in the late 19th and early 20th century. High-tank toilets, weird fittings and salvaged plumbing are our plumbers' daily fair, as is rebuilding fixtures that have not worked for decades. In fact, we just finished rebuilding and relining an oak cistern that is at least 100 years old. If our plumbers had only to deal with modern residential plumbing, they would probably be bored out of their mind.

    Not to worry about your home. It's probably not old enough for us to work in. And, we would would not have time to work in it. We are quite busy restoring heritage and historic homes around here.

    Regards,

    Jim Edgar
    Managing Partner
    StarCraft Custom Builders
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2013
  9. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,262
    Location:
    New England
    While you can purchase metric sized plumbing and other things (that may just be great products), in the USA, the current standard for a toilet IS 12". Your choice gets much more limited should you have something else for whatever reason. Older toilets, when the time comes to replace them, may have something other than the 12". WHen updating, you're required to bring things up to current codes, and large, non-standard rough-in toilets just aren't readily available (higher than 14", and even at 14", the choice is fairly small). While someone may fall in love with something not readily available in the USA, and it certainly might be able to be installed, it tends to fall into a very custom install, and also tends to be a lot of money if the mood of the designer changes, or the client should change their mind in mid-stream and is likely to be a major pain at the next remodel. Now, there certainly are people that can afford that, but for the vast majority of people, they'll have the highest quantity of choice (in the USA) if they choose a stock 12" rough-in. Depending on where you live, you can only install products that have been approved by the state (MA is one of these), so the odds of getting a toilet with a non-standard rough-in approved for installation adds another layer of pain to it. Again, there are people that are prepared to spend the time and money to do this, the vast majority don't. It should also be noted that because of the federal rules, on new construction you CANNOT legally install an old, high volume flush toilet, which means recycling older ones isn't a (legal) option there. You may be allowed to repair an old one, but if you have any concern for the ecology, you wouldn't. It's my opinion that this site is geared towards the vast majority of people, not the upper 1% where they can afford whatever they want.
  10. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple Bathroom Design & Build - North Vancouver, B.C.

    Messages:
    4,689
    Location:
    North Vancouver, BC
    Best Shower Fixture = Dornbracht

    Post(s) deleted by John Whipple
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2014
  11. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,289
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    Like I mentioned before, Standard is 12"
    Some 10" toilets use a standard 12" bowl and use a thin tank
    Some 14" toilets use a standard 12" bowl and use a thick tank

    That's here in the US

    If you import from Europe you can find most any thing.
    In India, we had to deal with camels pulling carts on the freeways.

    So where is your list for 8" and 16" toilets, and can I find them at a home center?

    Moving a drain back closer to the wall doesn't nessasarily give more room. Most of the time, the length of the bowl and tank stays constant.
    In the case of most 14's, they get longer in total length
    Some 10"'s can take less space if they are the thin tank types, but a lot depends on brand and how long their original 12" was,
    Most bowls that would have an 8" rough would remain just as long as the 12" rough. They just move the outlet back, not the front of the bowl.

    [​IMG]

    This bowl still takes up space in the bathroom.
    Kinda doesn't matter where the drain is.
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2013
  12. jch

    jch New Member

    I've been using a Delta Thermostatic valve for a few months now (coupled with a Drainwater Heat Recovery System). This is what I've noticed so far:
    - It runs straight hot when when you first turn the shower on (until the hot water supply reaches the desired shower temperature), and only then starts mixing in the cold. Shaves about 5 seconds off the time to wait for the shower to come up to temperature.

    - As the cold supply's temperature increases (due to the DWHR system), there is no noticable change in shower temperature. A pressure balanced valve would need to be readjusted as the system warms up -- typically under 30 seconds.

    - There is no sudden surges/drops in water pressure when other fixtures in the house are used. Quick but smooth pressure changes in the shower, unlike some pressure-balanced showers I've used.

    - There is a slight bit of temperature variation when someone runs another fixture full-out on full-hot. Maybe a degree or two.

    - If you use Delta, then the pressure-balanced and thermostatic cartridges are interchangeable -- they all use the identical hardware in the wall.
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