Shower valve requires?

Discussion in 'Plumbing Code Questions' started by ditttohead, Jan 9, 2012.

  1. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

    Messages:
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    Location:
    Ontario California
    I am planning a major remodel of my bathroom and I am unable to find the code requirements for this one.

    I want to remove my shower valve and have my shower heads turn on from a light switch that will activate a slow closing solenoid valve. The temperature is adjusted by a remote control from the tankless water heater in the bathroom shower area.

    For the past 2 years, we have never adjusted our temperature above 106 degrees and have always simply turned on the shower to full hot. On a hot day, I will set the temperature on the keypad to 100 degrees for a cooler shower.

    Any thoughts?
  2. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

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    14,775
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    We're required to use balancing valves for the shower.
    It's been that way for about twenty years.

    However, since your's is set at a low temperature, then you might talk to your plumbing inspector about that.

    Moen makes a digital valve with a remote, and Kohler may too.
  3. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

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    Location:
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    The kohler unit is great. The codes are really written well for the US market when it comes to tanked water heaters. I had a technical review done on an article I wrote about water treatment for houses and we all struggled on finding adequate code requirements for lower temperatures when using tankless water heaters. I run my house on a maximum water temperature of 106, this has eliminated the potential of buring my kids with hot water, the dishwasher has its own heater, and I never use hot water in my laundry. Our showers are taken with hot water only. By using the Rinnai wall mounted remote we are basically doing the same thing as the kohler unit, but without the need for the complex mixing controls. I am wanting to run a direct line from the tankless to the shower for maximum efficiency and so the shower will not have a valve inside. I am still debating on how to turn on the solenoid. I dont think wet hands and a light switch is ideal. Maybe a remote sensor pad.

    Thanks!
  4. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

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    14,775
    Location:
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    Or you could use a valve and run the hot to both sides of the valve.
  5. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

    Messages:
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    Location:
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    The Kohler unit is great but I am designing my shower to be as minimalistic as possible. I am using the shower head tiles by Kohler, the walls will be single pieces of granite, the ceiling will be a single piece of onyx and will be backlit. I am trying to convince the wife to let me install a one way mirror with a LED screen behind it, but I will rpobably lose that battle. The lack of a valve will really add to the aesthetic of this design. The tankless remote is mounted just outside the shower. I am hoping to find something in the code that says this is an ok installation but the code books do not appear to be written very well for tankless water heaters in residential applications.

    The way I read the code, the electronic controls would not be to code since "a valve with a maximum handle rotation limit/stop, adjusted to a maximum setting of one hundred fifteen degrees F," is required. I am sure they are to code but...

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  6. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

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    While this may work well for you, the codes are written for those 'what-if' situations. What-if you turn the tankless up to say 140-degrees to do something and then forget to turn it back down, for instance? A dedicated shower control, whether electronic, or mechanical, would have both hot and cold water going to it and a means of tempering the water, if required. There's no way that will happen when the tankless isn't an integral part of the shower system, rather than just the supply.
  7. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    14,775
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    That would be interesting if you ever sell the home and the new homeowner tries to bump the heat setting up.
  8. ditttohead

    ditttohead Water systems designer, R&D

    Messages:
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    Location:
    Ontario California
    True. I had planned on routing the new plumbing in a way so a standard shower valve could be added easily if necessary if I sell the house.

    The only thing I dont like about my idea is that the lowest water temperature is either 98 F or off. On a rare occasion, a cool, not cold shower is nice.
  9. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
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    Location:
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    I don't think you'd ever get this by a building inspector. A shower valve is required to have a built-in high temp limiter. Now, often, especially when installed by someone who doesn't understand or care, it may not have been adjusted to provide that upper limit but that's not the point. You have no way with your plan to provide that upper limit control in the shower. I'd probably use a thermostatic valve and get both that safety and separate volume and temperature control in the shower. A high-end electronic panel control would provide that.
  10. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
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    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    If you can get past the temperature control requirement, all you need is a "volume control valve" to turn the water on and off. A light switch using "line voltage" to control a valve might not be the best idea in a bathroom, where everything, including you, will be wet or at least damp.


    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 21, 2012
  11. Hackney plumbing

    Hackney plumbing Homeowner

    Messages:
    1,174
    Location:
    Alabama

    A light switch is a light switch no matter if it controls a solenoid or a light fixture. Most people have light switchs in their bathrooms that I know. Just do not install it where you can reach it from standing in the shower.
  12. vespinosa

    vespinosa New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Location:
    sacramento
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