Need advice on good "shower system" or fixture for remodel w/lower flow rate shower

Discussion in 'Shower & Bathtub Forum & Blog' started by SliderJeff, Jul 25, 2009.

  1. SliderJeff

    SliderJeff DIY Member

    Messages:
    43
    Location:
    Houston TX
    Hey guys,

    Boy am I glad I found this place. I stumbled onto Terry's toilet review portion of the site and just noticed today that there is a plumbing forum. Glad to be here.

    Ok, so I am in the Houston, Texas area and we are having our shower and floor in the master bathroom remodeled. They will be using the kerdi system from Schluter for the shower. We still have a couple things to pick out as far as cabinets and countertops, but the real question in my mind is what to do as far as the shower fixture. I am trying to decide between a traditional shower head or one of the more trendy shower "systems". I don't want one of the $5000 jobbies, as that makes no sense to me. But I could see spending maybe $1000 on something more upscale that gave me that "spa-like feeling". Right now we have a run of the mill Moen head that I hate. No frills at all and the adjustment angle is terrible. I'm 6'3" and like to shave in the shower. I can't move the head enough side to side not to have the water pelting me when I am trying to shave.

    Two key points here.
    1.) I have a Rheem Tankless water heater located in the attic, so I will theoretically never run out of hot water.
    2.) The master bathroom is as far away as is possible from the location of the water heater. i.e. heater is in attic on far right side of two story home, master bath is on far left on first floor. The flow rate isn't horrible, but it's easily the lowest of any location in my home.

    Anyway, I'm looking for recommendations from anyone who may have installed one of these systems and is happy with it's features, looks and quality, particularly if you don't have the world's highest water pressure. We DO have city water, not well water, if that makes any difference.

    I've read on here that several people state that the Hansgrohe units really need a pretty hefty water pressure to be worthwhile, so that somewhat concerned me.

    Thanks for any advice you can throw my way.

    For what it's worth, I did search on these forums with the search engine before asking this question, but perhaps didn't use the appropriate terms to get a reasonable amount of "hits".

    Thanks again.

    Regards,
    Jeff
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,128
    Location:
    New England
    For something that won't break the bank, I've looked at (but not tried) the Grohe Freehander. It has two heads and moves up and down. You can turn one head off, and they rotate as you move it down to produce a body spray.

    Keep in mind that you can put the showerhead at any height you want.

    In my shower, I happened to use a handheld with a mounting bar. So, I can move it to nearly the ceiling, or down low, or remove it for cleaning, or just getting where you want it.

    Attached Files:

  3. SliderJeff

    SliderJeff DIY Member

    Messages:
    43
    Location:
    Houston TX
    Thanks, Jim.
  4. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    QUOTE: Two key points here.
    1.) I have a Rheem Tankless water heater located in the attic, so I will theoretically never run out of hot water.
    2.) The master bathroom is as far away as is possible from the location of the water heater. i.e. heater is in attic on far right side of two story home, master bath is on far left on first floor. The flow rate isn't horrible, but it's easily the lowest of any location in my home.



    So, two things wrong. (1)Theoretically you could run hot water continuously, but FOR SURE you can only get the gallons per minute, at the necessary rise, that the tankless is spec'd for. If you did not get big enough model, it may not support multiple shower heads. (2) You will waste a lot of water waiting for the far end to get hot. And if it is a long run through too-small pipe, you will incur pressure loss as volume increases.

    The theory of tankless is that you use mulitple units, placing them very close to the water use. i.e. one near the master, one near the laundry, etc.
  5. SliderJeff

    SliderJeff DIY Member

    Messages:
    43
    Location:
    Houston TX
    Jimbo,

    I got the largest one that Rheem makes... the one where I can theoretically have three sources using the hot water and still supply each with the appropriate pressure and amount of hot water. At most, we run two different tubs at the same time. We never tend to wash clothes or run the dishwasher when taking a shower. The dishwasher runs overnight only. So I think from that perspective, I'm covered. The tankless was a retrofit and was placed where the old tank one was. I still think it was the right move to get rid of 60 gallons of hot water sitting over my head at all times and going with a small box instead. :) Thanks for your input. I completely agree that if I was to be building from scratch, I would do exactly what you had suggested.

    Regards,
    Jeff
  6. susandoc

    susandoc New Member

    Messages:
    6
    Location:
    Katy, TX
    Unfortunately we remodelled our master bath 2 years ago, and it was my first ever project. My dear husband is not DIY so we had to hire people for the labour.
    Not understanding too much about plumbing, we went for the Grohe Aquatower 3000 which gives us a shower head, hand spray and 4 jets.
    It is just plumbed to the hot and cold outlets and everything else is internal. It works just fine, although we have hard water and after 2 years we have some water marks. Picked it up online for just over half of MSRP.

    We are now remodelling the secondary bathrooms and putting in a walk in shower (kerdi) in one of them. So in the same position of what to buy that would also be stylish, practical and help sell the home in the future.

    Probably going with delta thermostatic valve for durability and reliability. Don't want to be tearing out tile anytime. Would need a diverter as a hand shower on rail is practical, and a ceiling rain shower is stylish. Wondering if I want jets as they also have the 18XO series.
    When all the components are added up, it can become quite pricing, as the cost of plumbing has to be considered too.

    I've sent you a personal message about kerdi shower installation.
  7. SliderJeff

    SliderJeff DIY Member

    Messages:
    43
    Location:
    Houston TX
    Given the numerous bad things I've read about the Grohe stuff (not yours, obviously), it sounds like as far as bang for the buck, I should stick to Delta or someone along those lines. The Captains Quarters seems like a pretty good pick, though the styling is very utilitarian to my eyes. In the grand scheme of things, how many people other than my family will see the shower head once it's installed... few if any. So I guess it's less of a deal to me. I haven't shown it to my wife yet, so we'll see what she says. A hand unit plus at least one head is the minimum I am looking for. Plus I want the thermostatic with volume control valve. Sure wish Delta had more stylish stuff, though, when it comes to heads and trims.

    Regards,
    Jeff
  8. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,128
    Location:
    New England
    I find the handheld perfectly satisfactory as the only showerhead. You have to like the showerbar, though. I haven't looked, there may be a holder for it you could use, but then you have little flexibility that you'd have with a bar.
  9. SliderJeff

    SliderJeff DIY Member

    Messages:
    43
    Location:
    Houston TX
    Jim,

    Sorry, I think my A.D.D. is kicking in... which unit were you talking about with your comments above? :)

    Thanks,
    Jeff
  10. SliderJeff

    SliderJeff DIY Member

    Messages:
    43
    Location:
    Houston TX
    FWIW,

    The Rheem Tankless I have is shown here:
    [​IMG]

    RTGL-74PVN

    Rheem Tankless Water Heater RTG-74PVN-1, Indoor Use Specifications:
    • Uses Natural Gas
    • Type - Indoor
    • Gas Input BTU/HR - 19,000 - 199,900
    • Temp. Range - 100° to 140°
    • GPM @ 77° Rise MAX - 4.3
    • GPM @ 45° Rise MAX - 7.4
    • Connection - Water 3/4", Gas 3/4"
    • Height - 25-3/8"
    • Width - 14-7/8"
    • Depth - 11-1/8"
    • Vent Diameter - 4"

    Regards,
    Jeff
  11. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,128
    Location:
    New England
    Instead of a shower arm, most handhelds can be installed to a nipple, then a hose, then the handheld. They make holders for the handheld. It is more common to use an adjustable holder connected to a bar so you can move it up and down. Most also rotate to adjust the angle. This is just one example...

    Attached Files:

  12. SliderJeff

    SliderJeff DIY Member

    Messages:
    43
    Location:
    Houston TX
    Jim,

    I understand. Yes, we have one of the hand showers that fit into a socket/mount like a normal shower head with the coil hose that ran down from there. I hated it, but it was a cheapo model that was installed in our condo. I've never really used a "nice" one before, but I always hated how I never could get the sucker to sit right in the mount when on the wall. Bad memories, maaaaan. :)

    Thanks,
    Jeff
  13. Dana

    Dana In the trades

    Messages:
    2,915
    Location:
    01609
    In Texas you'll likely never run short on flow with a dual head shower with a 199KBTU mid-efficiency burner backing it up, but in northern Minnesota in January you might begin to push the envelope.

    I lived for well over a decade with a 125KBTU lower-efficiency tankless in cool-water MA, and the only times it felt underpowered with multiple simultaneous draws was mid-winter. (I only decommissioned it when I went to an indirect-fired tank coupled into the new heating system.) It kept up with non-low-flow head standard shower heads just fine. You have nearly twice the heat output, and warmer incoming water temps. In most of TX the mid-winter incoming water temps are probably closer to what my MA summertime peak is (low 50s F.) I wouldn't sweat the burner capacity- it's enough.
  14. SliderJeff

    SliderJeff DIY Member

    Messages:
    43
    Location:
    Houston TX
    Thanks for the feedback, Dana. I believe you are correct... and with the ground water coming out now at like 79-degrees... I'm thinking I could run a whole lot of things and not lose hot water any time soon. 105-degree temps for weeks on end will do that for you. :)

    Regards,
    Jeff
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