Need to replace Shower mixing valve with separate cutoff valve for inputs.

Discussion in 'Shower & Bathtub Forum & Blog' started by OfficeLinebacker, Nov 25, 2006.

  1. OfficeLinebacker

    OfficeLinebacker New Member

    Messages:
    25
    Hi.

    I livein a ~20 year old townhouse. My old shower valve leaked behind the wall with no symptoms in the part visible during normal use. Lots of damage to the drywall around it and a 2x6 support for the valve before we discovered it. After taking down the tile and drywall we saw the mixing valve itself was leaking, and that it had shutoff valves for both hot and cold input. I immediately turned off both shutoff valves, only to find that the left side shutoff valve itself leaked. Luckily, it seemed to fix itself after a draining maybe 50ml into an improvised catch-can. I think maybe it was just backward drainage of the water column in the part above the valve (?).

    So now I have to put in a new valve and a couple of these shutoffs, I suppose. I understand most valves these days come with threaded interfaces? So this usually means sweating together an adaptor of some type, then screwing that into the valve properly, then sweating the other end of the adaptor onto an approprately disassembled/cut supply line.

    Is this correct? Except that in my case, I will sweat in these cutoff valves after the adaptors or as part of them. I like them. I will install them facing backwards, though, since if this ever needs to be accessed once the shower is assembled, it'll be from behind.
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2006
  2. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    You have a tough situation here because of the other pipes.

    Valves sold at home stores tend to have threaded connections, because it is supposedly DIY friendly. All brands are availavle from a good plumbing supply, or special order at the home store, with (a) sweat connections and (b) integral screwdriver stops. These stops are located so the are accessible when the round escutcheon flange is removed. No need open the wall to get to the stops. If you are in a single family home, stops are nice to have , but not essential. If it is a multifamily building, stops are important.
    Delta ( a brand much favored by plumbers ) will come with male threads, but the fittings are machined internally to accept a 1/2" copper sweat.

    I don't see where that existing valve was secured by anything except the pipes. It really should be supported more securely.

    Flame protectors are readily available so you will not have to further "toast" the plastic pipes while sweating the copper.
  3. I like the melted pvc plastic

    Thats really not that big a deal....

    If you just go out and buy yourself a DELTA 1700 faucet
    with the stops already brazed into the valve all you have to
    is sloder it all up.... they come ready to go...


    they are available at any plumbing supply
    house for only about 10 bucks more than the
    normal valve without stops....

    and you certanly have a football field of room to work with


    yes it might be a good idea to flatten a coffe
    can or something to use as a heat sheild....

    although the plastic is only singed a little bit,
    you might as well not make it any worse...


    have fun .....
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2006
  4. OfficeLinebacker

    OfficeLinebacker New Member

    Messages:
    25
    jimbo--

    Thanks for the tips. I do like the idea of integral stops, just for safety. This is the second floor of a townhouse so single family as far as vertical dimension (nobody's house but mine will get water leaking in if the thing leaks). If it's available, I'd still like to go for the shutoffs. Good to know they have 'em built-in AND that they're designed to be close enough to access without having to get behind the thing (there is really no way to get to this chase area right now other than the plumbing wall of the shower enclosure itself (which is in an alcove--I was thinking of cutting a hole in the side of the alcove the vanity is in so maybe a smaller plumber (and I could barely do it now at 5'11" 180#) would be able to crawl through). I'm glad you guys noticed the singeing. I thought it was pretty comical. There's some on the wood, too. As far as support, there was a 2x6 much like the one for the shower elbow that had all but rotted away so I took it out. I'll be replacing it. Luckily the studs to each side and the one on the bottom weren't too bad. Also I will post a pic shortly that shows a copper support for the tube that goes up.

    mark--

    Thanks, would simple aluminum foil work? I know I've seen suggestions for other things from this dielectric sandwiched between foil for old capacitors to a soaked towel. I know air is one of the best insulators ever, so would aluminum foil loosely folded a few times (and maybe a rag soaked with cold water in there somewhere) work OK? Also, should I need anything stronger than a pen torch to heat the solder enough?

    Finally, what grit of sandpaper do I use to roughen up the ends about to be sweated?

    Thanks,

    Terrence
  5. OfficeLinebacker

    OfficeLinebacker New Member

    Messages:
    25
    Hi. Here are two more pics. The first shows another view of the valve with just a hint of the copper support bar at the top. The second shows the part above the support bar and the shower elbow at top. I cropped these pics to try to show great detail of the important parts and little else. I'll find another version that shows more of the "big picture."

    Note: the picture will likely indeed be big.
  6. OfficeLinebacker

    OfficeLinebacker New Member

    Messages:
    25
    My apologies for the crookedness. The alcove is only 42" deep and my camera doesn't have the widest zoom so I wasn't looking in the viewfinder. Also, not sure what you guys' screen resolutions are like but since the first pic is wider I put the two in the previous post next to each other. Anyway here is a view that shows the one support. There was also a 2x6, which I will replace, below the valve. I can't remember exactly where it was but I'll be able to tell by the nail holes.



    Thanks to all for their comments!

    Terrence
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 5, 2009
  7. OfficeLinebacker

    OfficeLinebacker New Member

    Messages:
    25
    Oh, one last thing, if you'll indulge me:

    Is it worth a try to fix the existing valve? It's an idea that's been kind of lingering in the back of my head and the advantages are pretty obvious.

    Thanks,

    T.
  8. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    Can't tell for sure. The stem looks like a PP Avante. Is this a valve that pulls out to turn on, then left/right for hot or cold. If so, it is not my favorite, but parts are available, and it can be serviced fairly easiily. If this is not it, post a picture of the handle so we can have a look.
  9. OfficeLinebacker

    OfficeLinebacker New Member

    Messages:
    25
    Yep, the handle is a cheap plastic dealie made to look like crystal. Pulls out to regulate pressure (basically you just use it full blast--pulled all the way out--99% of the time, but you can regulate it, it's got maybe 3/4" of travel). Twists left for hotter, right for colder. Sweep is about 180 degrees; tick mark straight up is in the middle (and slightly too cold for showering), straight left is full hot, straight right is full cold. Funny thing, if you twist it all the way over to full hot it's not really full hot; you can get it hottest in about the 20 degree position or so (3/4 of the way to full hot).

    Still need pics of the trim?

    Either way, if I could change the guts of it out, I think that'd be worth a try, no? Is it possible to fit an upgraded valve (say with anti-scalding) in the same housing? However a) it's not your favorite and b) this model has leaked on us once already c) the left shutoff valve seems to have an issue, albeit seemingly only in the "off" position.

    Open to comments.

    T.
  10. Randyj

    Randyj Master Plumber

    Messages:
    1,047
    Location:
    Alabama
    OLB... the sandpaper grit isn't terribly important. I generally prefer a somewhat fine sanding material 80 to 120 grit (80 is pretty rough 220 may be too fine and take too long to clean the pipe) About any DIY or supply house will have emery cloth specifically for plumbers. The idea is to remove any oxidation to make it shine like a new penny before soldering. You will need a good torch... I don't know what you refer to as a pencil torch but basically a cheap propane or Mapp gas torch will do the trick. If you've got much use for one at all they're worth the investment. As for insulation while soldering... ALWAYS a good idea to be safe, save your wood and plastic and be safe. I've used an old car tag, drink cans cut for the flat metal, whatever is available. I'd assume that aluminum foil will not take the heat. Keep a wet rag nearby is a good idea just for putting out fires and cooling as well as cleaning a completed solder joint. The pipe and fittings must be totally clean, free of water. An old plumber's trick I'll pass on to you... if you have a pipe that the water just won't quit coming out of but the water is turned off you can try to reduce pressure or drain the line by opening other valves on the circuit (preferably one at a lower elevation such as a lawn or basement spigot) then take a slice of sandwich bread an pack up in the pipe to hold the water back while you solder. When you turn the water back on it will wash the bread out and you're back in business with a pipe that was dry and easy to solder.

    [​IMG]
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 5, 2009
  11. OfficeLinebacker

    OfficeLinebacker New Member

    Messages:
    25
    Hi. So after trips to Lowe's, The Great Indoors, and Home Depot, I left even more confused about faucets and somewhat poorer.

    I couldn't find a Delta 1700, though I surmised that you may have meant 1700 series, and there were several models that started with '17' such as 1755 to name one.

    However, the salesperson at The Great Indoors recommended against that type of valve, which she said only controlled the temperature, not the volume. So she recommended a kind that has two handles, one large for volume and one short for temp. At this point I was ready to settle for just about anything as long as it had integral shut-offs. So we got ready to place the order but the warehouse was closed, yadda yadda. HD was still open so I walked in and just picked something out of the catalog that looked good (and had scald protection).

    And of course, here I sit at home, typing this out and the papers are at my office as I intended to do some research from there. Darn.

    Anyway, it's a Delta, and it has integral shutoffs. I'm psyched.
  12. Randyj

    Randyj Master Plumber

    Messages:
    1,047
    Location:
    Alabama
    OLB... stuff like this gives me a headache. If it's pretty and does the job and the price is right.. go for it... being particular just adds to the frustration of these projects. Basically they all do the same thing. Just depends on the bells and whistles you want.
  13. OfficeLinebacker

    OfficeLinebacker New Member

    Messages:
    25
    Wow, that's pretty powerful stuff to give YOU a headache remotely over the internet. But to call the people with which I dealt "clueless" would be an insult to Alicia Silverstone's character in the epinonymous film. For the incompetence to be that universal across all three stores was disheartening to say the least.

    Anyway looks like I ended up with a T19540 and a T19500. Don't know which is which (valve vs. trim/handle) but the former was ~$70 and the latter was much more.

    Keeping fingers crossed, knocking on wood, etc.

    Thanks,

    Terrence
  14. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,153
    Location:
    New England
    There are two basic types of shower valve controls - pressure balance and thermostatic controlled. The goal of both is to keep the outlet temperature close to where you set it. They both should be adjusted to limit the max possible delivery temp during installation. While operating, a pressure-balance system will reduce the hot level if the cold pressure drops like when someone flushes the toilet. A temperature controlled valve will adjust the temperature as either the cold or hot temperature or volume changes. While more expensive, the temperature controlled valve keeps the temp nearly constant as you start to use up all of the hot water, too. Pressure balance shower valves rarely have a separate volume control, although it is possible. A temperature controlled valve usually does, but not necessarily. A pressure-balance valve doesn't care what the incoming temperatures are on the hot and cold, it is trying to maintain the balance you set between the two. This means that as you run out of hot water, the shower will get colder and colder. Either one will prevent you from getting scalded accidentally only if you adjust them properly upon installation to limit the max available temp. The both work to try to limit quick excursions in temperature.
  15. Randyj

    Randyj Master Plumber

    Messages:
    1,047
    Location:
    Alabama
    OLB... maybe if they really knew about plumbing they would have plumbing jobs rather than under the same roof every day.
  16. OfficeLinebacker

    OfficeLinebacker New Member

    Messages:
    25
    jad--thanks for the explanation. I was searching on here last night for precisely that info.

    randy--yep, I tend to get upset sometimes and my wife is even worse. But I sometimes tell her that if the (cashier/Home Depolt Employee/customer service rep/whatever) were as smart, talented, and friendly as you, they wouldn't be doing that job--they'd be doing something much more satisfying and lucrative!
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