Controls for new shower?

Discussion in 'Shower & Bathtub Forum & Blog' started by rayden, Nov 23, 2009.

  1. rayden

    rayden New Member

    Nov 23, 2009

    I am in the process of putting in a new shower. The house is on a well, and the pressure I get in existing showers is around 50psi.
    Ideally, I want to put in at least a couple shower heads (or maybe a fixed and a handheld) that could operate simultaneously.
    I visited a couple local showrooms, and the gist of the advice I got is that I must use a thermostatic valve with separate volume control for each head. That quickly gets pricey, though. The alternative suggested is to use a pressure-balanced valve with a diverter instead of volume controls. While the cost is much more palatable, this setup allows for only one of the heads to work at any given time. In addition, pressure-balanced valves seem to exist in only 1/2" versions, which makes me more concerned about pressure.

    Is there a way to run multiple heads from a pressure-balanced valve? What is the correct way to plumb that?
    Given a well with 50psi (give or take), is it reasonable to want two or more showerheads, or should I forget about it?

    Finally, what manufacturers should I look at? Local showrooms recommend Grohe, Moen, and Kohler...

    Many thanks,
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Sep 2, 2004
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
    New England
    They make more complex divertors that can run one, the other, or both. They cost more. A typical showerhead should be less than 2.5gpm. A 1/2" valve should support two, more is unlikely. Pressure balanced verses thermostatic should not make any difference. Personally, I prefer the thermostatic...set it once, and then just adjust the volume. Winter/summer, it stays the same. But, with a well, your water temp may not vary that much. But, as the pressure tank empties after sitting for overnight, the well water could drop it a lot, and with a thermostatic valve, it would adjust the flow to maintain the temp...nice.

    The pros here like Delta. For my own home, I chose Grohe. who knows for how long.
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  4. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Aug 31, 2004
    Cave Creek, Arizona

    UNless you are trying to run a "car wash shower", 1/2" will be more than adequate, especially with flow restricted shower heads and devices. There are multiport diverters which give you more selection options, but they have to be installed exactly the way the specifications call for.
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