Getting confused about temp/pressure balancers

Discussion in 'Shower & Bathtub Forum & Blog' started by hans_idle, Mar 19, 2008.

  1. hans_idle

    hans_idle New Member

    Messages:
    51
    Location:
    Princeton Junction, NJ
    Here's the quick summary of what I'm doing. I'm remodeling a master bath that has BOTH a shower and a separate tub. According to the plumbing inspector here in central NJ, I need to have a thermostatic (not pressure) balancer on BOTH the shower and the tub.

    1) Problem #1 - A requirement of a thermostatic balancer on the tub eliminates or severly reduces the majority of high-end designer tub fillers on the market. I had thought that a balancer was required for showers or tub/shower combos but not stand-alone tubs. How/where can I clarify this? I'll ask another local township guy, but I'd like to know where I can look it up.

    2) Problem #2 - It was my impression that either pressure or temperature balancers were allowed to meet the codes, but that appears to not the be the case. No pressure balancers allowed, or so I'm told by the inspector. To me, this doesn't sound quite right. If that were the case then 95% of the fixtures on sale at the big box stores, supply places, and other stores would not be allowed by code. Does this sound correct?

    I'm going to look into whether I can add a tempering valve rather than a faucet-vender specific unit, which would free me up to use a 2-handle tub filler that I already have on hand. But I wanted to see what the general consensus was on the requirements for a stand-alone tub and not allowing pressure balancers.

    Thanks!
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,129
    Location:
    New England
    Ask the inspector what national code they adhere to, and what local ammendments have been made. It's possible the local ammendments require the thermostatically controlled valve. I dont' think it is in any of the national codes. Local ammendments override the national ones. Ask him where you can read a copy and have him either show it to you or give you the reference so you can look it up. If it is just his preference, without it being adopted in local codes, he's blowing smoke.
  3. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    You need to clear up what he is asking for. Seems I heard that NJ required WH temps to be set high ( 140º) and a tempering valve installed. Is he talking about something like that?
  4. hans_idle

    hans_idle New Member

    Messages:
    51
    Location:
    Princeton Junction, NJ
    Yea, I checked out some more info today. I checked with the actual office staff and found out that the water heater is "supposed" to be set between 120 and 140 deg. Not sure why. I have mine set to approx 123deg (young kids in the house) and don't see a point to setting higher. They will then check that even if the sink goes over 120deg, the shower and tub are less than 120deg.

    Further discussions yielded that I CAN use pressure balance as long as there is an anti-scald setting (which my shower has with the manual stop-adjust). This makes sense to me. It was also verified that the tub does need it, but that a tempering valve can be used.

    So for the tub, I'm going to end up using something like a Watts tempering valve under the tub deck. It seems Watts make one with a temperature range of 80-120 and another from 90-160. The concern that the supply-store guy brought up was that the standard 80-120 valve will never allow the tub to go over 120deg, ever, and in some cases I may want it hotter. But it still allows for lower temperatures. So I may purchase that one.

    Crisis averted, for now. I'll pickup the valve this weekend and install. Shouldnt be too hard.
  5. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,129
    Location:
    New England
    Okay, that makes more sense. The tempering valve only under the tub probably won't cut it. The reason they want the WH set higher is that it can grow nasties in it. Higher temperatures will kill most of them. To make it safe, a tempering valve is used on the output of the tank, so NO excessively hot water is sent anywhere in the house (thus, you'd not need one by the tub).

    The requirement for a tempering valve on the WH is the code in the city where I live, too. It gives you a side benefit in that it means you'll have more hot water from the same sized tank. They don't mandate that you actually run the WH at the suggested 140-degrees, but it is a good idea.
  6. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,815
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    faucets

    The new ADA code does require thermostatic, not pressure balancing, valves on bathtubs, AND thermostatic valves on lavatories. It is unclear how much of that will affect normal usage plumbing, but some of it will trickle down into non-ADA usage eventually.
Similar Threads: Getting confused
Forum Title Date
Shower & Bathtub Forum & Blog getting the right paint color for bathtub repair Jun 8, 2014
Shower & Bathtub Forum & Blog Hot Showers - Getting the temperature just right, Top Five Tips from the pros Apr 28, 2014
Shower & Bathtub Forum & Blog Getting a standard 5" tub through RO Oct 23, 2011
Shower & Bathtub Forum & Blog Getting strainer off Oatey shower drain Jun 2, 2010
Shower & Bathtub Forum & Blog Getting ready to install new tub-questions Feb 20, 2010

Share This Page