Tempering valve or Anti-Scald device?

Discussion in 'Water Heater Forum, Tanks' started by Backglass, Feb 9, 2010.

  1. Backglass

    Backglass New Member

    Messages:
    75
    Location:
    New York
    Hi all,

    My youngest daughter (6) is autistic and her "thing" is water. Recently, unbeknownst to us she will disrobe and jump in our downstairs shower when the spirit moves her. It's a older standalone jacuzzi brand shower stall with one handle control and diverter knob for body jets.

    Now, obviously we don't want her doing this unattended, but she can be rather sneaky and we often don't catch her until she's already been in a for a minute or two. I want to make doubly sure there isn't a risk of scalding. In the short term after discovering the behavior I have just turned the water heater (indirect via my boiler) down to 115.

    Short of padlocking the shower, I was thinking I could install a Watts tempering valve at the heater on the hotlines to the two bathrooms, but after reading the instructions on the Watts site, they all say "These Watts valves should never be used to provide “anti-scald†or “anti-chill†service." Why is that? Should I instead be replacing the entire shower control with an anti-scald model? I guess that would be preferable, but would require some extensive work as the common wall is shared with our kitchen and the previous owners left us no access.

    What about those anti-scald shower heads (hotstop)? Are they any good?

    Now, if I could just get my 10 year old boy to TAKE a shower. :D

    Any advice is appreciated...thanks!
  2. Cookie

    Cookie .

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    Please take a pic of your valve and post it and we will tell you if you are able to adjust the temperature on the shower valve you have.

    You may have a shower valve that is adjustable please post the picture and we can tell you if it is.
  3. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

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    Location:
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    Full hot (if you can achieve that at your shower valve) at 115-degrees can damage skin. Normally, a tempering valve on a WH is set to about 120, but it is adjustable (in most cases). AN anti-scald technology shower valve usually has two components - first, the part that prevents it from getting a momentary hot shot of water if the pressure drops, like when someone flushes a toilet (it depends on how your plumbing is hooked up how serious this is), and the second part is a limit stop. The first is automatic, and would do nothing to prevent excessively high constant water temperatures if you could turn the control up high enough. The second is where you can set the limit on how hot it can go. Depending on the brand, this could be a screw, lever, clip, or some other thing that will limit how far you can turn the handle. Note, if your incoming water temperature changes a lot between summer and winter, if you set it so you can't scald yourself in the summer, it might be too cool in the winter, and vice versa.
  4. Cookie

    Cookie .

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    I can offer you something about autism if is is okay, water play is an autistic feature because of its sensory satisfaction. If you haven't already introduced a water play table, swimming lessons or more than enough time in a pool it would be welcomed by her. Some autistic children hate water on their faces or heads but I am sure, you probably noticed this at bath time if so, she will let you know. I lean to believing this is actually an Autistic characteristic. This is very common more than most know or realize.

    If you have an outside pool or your neighbor does extra care is a real must. I can't stress this enough to you.

    If your child has a problem with gross motor, swimming using the basic strokes or even just water play in the pool, will enable her to have fun, and learn to use the large muscles; and, in time she would learn social skills, and interacting with being part of a team yet, competing individually. Swimming is perfect for her in all aspects. If she has trouble with water being on her face or head, she could be introduced to it much the same way it would be introduced to a much younger child. The Y's are perfect for this. They will first teach her bubbling gradually with the water. Very slowly as not to frighten and make it feel good and be fun.
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2010
  5. Cookie

    Cookie .

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    by the way, all 10 year old boys are smelly, ;)
  6. Backglass

    Backglass New Member

    Messages:
    75
    Location:
    New York
    jadnashua:

    Thanks for the explanation. Unlike an infant who would be helpless, she does know how to work the handle...quite well in fact. I am confident that she would not put it at full hot for long periods of time. If the water was 140 instead of 115 however, her reaction time probably wouldn't be fast enough and that could be very dangerous. I would like to have the water heater hotter for laundry and dishwasher, not to mention the whole boiler/condensation issue (it is an indirect water heater attached to my oil-fired boiler). Hotter is better from what I have read as far as that is concerned.

    Cookie:

    I completely understand. We do have a outdoor pool that she is in constantly during the summer months (with us of course) and believe me, we have the same concerns as she is drawn to water like a moth to a flame. An auto-locking gate and perimeter fence were the first things that went up when we moved to this house three years ago. During the winters in here in NY however, she will take a bath and play for what seems like hours. The shower is something new, and yes...it's totally sensory. She will turn the temp from hot to bone-chilling cold and back again, just for the "rush" of the extremes. Much in the way I love the rush of blistering Habanero peppers, she likes to shock herself with a blast of cold water! I always say she is our "riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma" as the old saying goes. The thing most people don't see is that she is smart as a whip...she just cant seem to communicate through "normal" means. But I digress!



    Here are pics of the valve:

    [​IMG][​IMG]
  7. Cookie

    Cookie .

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    Responsive teaching is a great way to teach your daughter. If you haven't heard of it I can't suggest it enough, it is strategies for parents to help their autistic children develop and use pivotal developmental behaviors.
    It is easy and fun, and successful.

    It is your anti-scald valve in all things for her and the answer to your riddle.
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2010
  8. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,896
    Location:
    New England
    That valve probably has an (internal) adjustment to limit how hot you can make it. Normally, you have to take the handle off to access it and sometimes, you have to remove the trim. Maybe one of the pros will know for sure, or you could try to search the manufacturer's website for instructions.
  9. Backglass

    Backglass New Member

    Messages:
    75
    Location:
    New York
    I dont know why I didnt think if that. D'oh! I just ass-u-me'd since it was older it wouldnt have anti-scald technology. It doesnt, but I didnt even think of it having "stops" to limit the handle rotation, which according to the manufacturer it does! Problem solved!

    I will turn the heater back up and adjust the handle to a safe temp at full hot.

    Thanks so much everyone!
  10. Cookie

    Cookie .

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    That's why always post a pic. :) Glad you got it resolved.
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