Thermostatic shower valves

Discussion in 'Shower & Bathtub Forum & Blog' started by lifespeed, Mar 26, 2012.

  1. lifespeed

    lifespeed Member

    Messages:
    321
    Location:
    California
    I am just about to embark on a whole house repipe. I have chosen a good contractor who has done satisfactorily for some friends. I need to choose the shower valves.

    I had often thought the thermostatic units would be nice. I have looked at models by Grohe (paraffin cartridge) and Toto (bimetallic spring or memory metal) with different mechanisms. I am hoping to hear from people who have actually used their valves. Support and being able to replace the guts of the valve without re-ripping the walls are a must. I understand I may not be able to get a new valve at Home Cheapo, but I want to be able to order it and get it within a week. I think it goes without saying that a brass valve body is required also.

    For the shower/tub combo bathroom I am considering a separate pressure-balanced valve for the tub fill, with a thermostatic valve for the showerhead. I don't think I want thermostatic for the tub is it is common to add fully hot water to warm a cooling tub. Something the maximum setpoint of a thermostatic will preclude, I believe.

    Any valve experiences to share?
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,143
    Location:
    New England
    I first experienced a thermostatic valve in a hotel in London...by our standards, they had a very inadequate supply noted because the flow at the showerhead kept changing radically as toilets and other things got turned on and off. The valves they had in the shower were Grohe, thermostatically controlled valves. I ended up putting one of those in at home when I remodeled. It responded fast enough to not be a problem (as would a pressure balanced valve), but it was nice to find your perfect setting, and then only have to turn the volume on/off.

    While my thermostatically controlled valve has a safety stop that prevents you turning it up to scalding, you can, if you first press the lock button, so, at least with this design, you can get (nearly) full hot out of the thermostatically controlled Grohe valve. Mine is now about 6-years old, and still works as new. I don't know about the operation of other brands.
  3. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple Bathroom Design & Build - North Vancouver, B.C.

    Messages:
    4,433
    Location:
    North Vancouver, BC
    I have never seen any plumbing fixtures designed better than the DornBracht line. If your planning a steam shower make sure your fixture choice can be tied into the vapour management - many can't. Most can't.

    JW
  4. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,831
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    quote; If your planning a steam shower make sure your fixture choice can be tied into the vapour management

    What does that mean? Steam showers are a "stand alone" item and do not connect to the plumbing system, other than with the water supply.
  5. Killer95Stang

    Killer95Stang New Member

    Messages:
    46
    Location:
    Southern CA
    I'm in the middle of a full bathroom gut / remodel. I had the same questions you had a few months back when I started considering my shower valves. I chose to go with Hansgrohe because of the versatility of their iBox valve system. It's compatible with their thermostatic and pressure balanced valves. Most plumbing supply houses in the area carry the ibox in stock (about $85-$110), which lets you proceed with your remodel while the trim is being ordered (took me 1 week to get the trim). As a side note, I've been slowing changing out all the faucets in the house to Hangrohe units and have been very happy with the quality of heavy feel of the faucets.
  6. lifespeed

    lifespeed Member

    Messages:
    321
    Location:
    California
    Thanks for the info so far. A steam shower is not in the works for this re-pipe, although it might be a future option. Thanks for the experience with the Grohe type valve. It sounds like you have not yet tried the HansGrohe valves, 'Stang? I do like the idea of readily available cartridges for Hansgrohe, although the Grohe valves might be just as easily serviced. I'll have to do some more research.

    I would still like to hear about experiences with the Toto product. The Delta R10000 valve body is appealing, also for serviceability reasons. But I don't know what the thermostatic valve performance is like.
  7. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,143
    Location:
    New England
    Where I live, if the cartridge is not in stock, the warehouse isn't too far away, so it doesn't take long for a part to arrive. You may have (slightly) better luck finding a Delta cartridge, but they're pretty good about sending them out when needed as well. I had some issues with one Delta unit I installed at my mother's house, and they supplied the parts free, fairly fast. Hers wasn't a thermostatically controlled one, but did use the R10000 rough-in (which is nice).
  8. ben in il

    ben in il New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    Illinois
    We have had both the Toto and Grohe thermostatic valves for several years. Haven't had any problems with either one, and don't really notice a difference in operation. I will say the Toto valve is extremely well made (and the price reflects that). I have called Customer Service from both manufacturers and both were very helpful.

    I think between these two I'd go with whichever style fits you better.
  9. lifespeed

    lifespeed Member

    Messages:
    321
    Location:
    California
    Good to hear from someone that has used both. I have to admit I am somewhat partial to Toto based on my good experiences with their toilets. They do seem to make good stuff, at a commensurate price. But when you're soldering a valve into the wall, 10 years down the road you don't think about what it cost, you're glad it still works properly.

    No doubt the Grohe is an excellent option as well.
  10. johnfrwhipple

    johnfrwhipple Bathroom Design & Build - North Vancouver, B.C.

    Messages:
    4,433
    Location:
    North Vancouver, BC
    HJ. Many thermostatic and flow valves can be tied into a showers vapour management with special designed flashings and the rough in's themselves. Often they are tossed aside since the crew does not know what they are for.

    Many everyday controls do not block vapour and with the large cut outs through the tile are a good access location for vapour intrusion.

    JW
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