What Shower Valve Types Are There? How to Identify Yours – Definitive Guide

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Hey, shower fanatics we’re going to lay it all out there bare in the right type of shower valve will up-level your showering experience. No sudden water fluctuation, scalding effects, or disastrous leaks.
Shower Valve Types

This is your chance to get a peek behind the wall.

Showers have evolved into emblems of modernity, convenience, and luxury in homes over time.

There’s a range of shower valve types that are so important yet so overlooked when it comes to showering.

The showerhead is where the water comes out. But the shower valve regulates the cold water pressure and temperature for a shower.

Other than that…

Showerheads have progressed from simple rain-drop, elongated showerheads to temperature-regulating showerheads. As a result, it’s no surprise that we’re now discussing the various sorts of shower valves there are on the market.

Even though they all function the same, each type of shower valve has its distinct features. Read on if you’re looking for the ideal shower valve type for your needs today.

In this article, we will…

…make sure you have a basic understanding of the many types of shower valves, and we’ll also go over:

  • How to tell what kind of shower valve you have – for starters;
  • The advantages and disadvantages of each shower style;
  • How to stay away from the most typical blunders;
  • And a lot more!

Now scroll down and read on to see if we can help you in your search for the ideal valve for your needs.

What is a Shower Valve?

Types of Shower Valves Installation

When it comes to your showering routine, the shower valve is important. Shower valves are modifications to the traditional shower’s single rotating knob. These valves serve two purposes.

The first is to control the water pressure.

The second is to control and regulate the temperature of the shower water.

Alternatively, you could simply say…

You can find your shower valves behind your shower faucet’s handle. It regulates the water temperature and turns on and off the shower. It mixes the warm and cold sections via a blending valve to achieve the desired temperature.

Even so…

Shower valves range in size from one to three outlets. The outlets we’re referring to here are where the water is oriented when the valve rotates. A single outlet shower valve’s 180-degree cold-to-hot knob controls the water pressure.

Double outlets completely separate hot and cold water knobs. Triple outlets include hot and cold knobs and a tap or a distinct knob to manage water pressure.

Types of Shower Valves

When your shower faucet starts to leak or break, you need to fix it. You must first understand the type of valve used for the repair to be successful. This will determine the manufacturer and the function of the valve. This guide helps you make identifying shower valves a breeze.

Concealed Shower Valves

Concealed Shower Valves

Most valve styles are concealed, which means they are hidden within the shower’s wall. A concealed shower valve is a built-in valve hidden behind the tiling in a shower enclosure. This is ideal for small showers or bathrooms.

Apart from that…

This is also the best fit for minimizing clutter in the shower room for a modern visual appeal. Concealed shower valves only display the knobs.

Furthermore…

The main advantage of using this shower valve is that it conceals any pipework and fittings. It results in a more pleasing appearance.

Another one is the design flexibility it provides. Some are asking if it is hard to access a concealed shower valve if something goes wrong in the future. Fortunately, concealed valves are built with this access in mind.

You can remove the handles to reveal the cartridges hidden behind them. Then cleaning or replacing will be done if necessary.

Nowadays…

Most people prefer concealed shower valves. It’s also more popular in homes and guesthouses.

Exposed Shower Valves

Exposed Shower Valves

Exposed valves are newer but gaining popularity. Why? Because you can install them without opening the shower wall and mounted on the shower wall or tile. This makes replacing or repairing the valve and cartridge easier. Exposed valves work best in showers with enough wiggle room.

Besides that…

The outlets and connected pipes of an exposed shower valve are noticeable. You can see it above the wall panels on your bathroom wall. An exposed shower valve is generally a horizontal bar. It sits outside the wall and contains all the working parts. It doesn’t have as nice a look, but it’s usually less expensive to buy and install.

So…

Whether you have concrete block walls, exposed shower valves are a great alternative. They are easier and quicker to install. Only the cold and hot water pipe feed need to be ‘chasing in’ within the wall rather than the entire valve. This should reduce your infrastructure costs.

However…

The most significant advantage of exposed showers over concealed models is installation. As stated before, exposed showers can be more expensive to install. They can damage existing tiling, but exposed showers are not the case. Because you can add them up on top of your tiles with minimal fuss.

If you’re satisfied with the existing bathroom and just want a new shower…

An exposed shower is the most cost-effective option.

Thermostatic Shower Valve

Thermostatic Shower Valves

A thermostatic shower valve keeps the water temperature within a +/- 2°C range. So that there is no noticeable temperature change while showering. If the incoming water flow reduces, the valve will compensate and maintain a constant temp.

To prevent scalding, thermostatic valves will shut off if either hot or cold water fails. Thermostatic valves are also anti-scald valves.

Besides that…

You can control the thermostatic shower valve for greater precision. You can install a remote control panel within or outside your shower enclosure. This will cut the need to step into a running shower to achieve the ideal temperature before stepping in.

A thermostatic shower valve’s design allows you always to maintain a comfortable temperature. The main advantage of this valve is that it prevents the water temp from surpassing a preset value. And if keeping a child-friendly thermostat is important to you…

…this feature is helpful.

Furthermore…

A thermostatic shower valve has two or three handles depending on the number of outlets. One of the handles will serve as the individual temperature control.

Once you’ve found the perfect temperature position, you can save it. This will allow you to have your perfect temp shower every day of the week. Because there’s no longer a need to fiddle with the levers, you can save time, water, and energy.

Manual Shower Valves

Manual Shower Valve

Manual shower valves are inexpensive and simple to install. Consider them like a basin mono tap, in which you turn and tilt a lever to adjust the flow and temperature. Because of its simpleness of use, a manual shower valve is popular. This valve has a single lever that controls water flow and temperature.

Likewise…

Using the control lever, you can achieve a reasonable moisture pressure. This valve is suitable for most secondary bathrooms. They are usually suitable for both low and high pressure.

However…

Be sure to check the pressure rating. Some of them have a diverter that can cause them to need high pressure to function.

It’s not just that…

Manual shower valves are fine if you live alone…

…or enjoy the thrill of not knowing when a blast of freezing water is on its way. But, they are not ideal for most showering applications.

Diverter Shower Valve

Shower Diverter Valve

If your bathroom has a shower-tub combination…

The shower diverter valve lets you divert water back and forth through the shower faucet. Shower diverters can fail, and you need to replace them from time to time.

Diverter Shower Valves are handy little devices. Depending on how many outlets are active, this appealing valve operates as you wish. A single-handle shower faucet controls water flow to the desired outlet. Whether it’s the shower handset, slide rail kit, or a deck-mounted bath tap.

In practice…

A 3-way diverter shower valve lets you direct water to the desired outlet. You can adjust the water temperature by turning on the cold and hot water shower faucets. Then, using the diverter valve, you can allow the pre-mixed water to flow out of any outlet you want.

This feature is especially useful when you want to bathe your dog. Diverter valves are available in four configurations: two-way, three-way, four-way, and five-way.

Digital Shower Valves

Digital Shower Valve

Digital showers improve over traditional mixer showers. They use the most up-to-date shower technology. It gives you the most exhilarating shower imaginable. It works the same as mixer showers. And, It draws hot and cold water and mixes them inside the valve to achieve the desired temperature.

Due to technological improvements…

You can move the digital control unit outside of the shower. This will allow greater space in the enclosure. This also has the advantage of allowing you to adjust the shower’s temp before entering. Many showers will notify you when it has reached your desired temperature.

This makes it much safer to enter once you establish the temperature. Because no shocks from cold or scorching hot water are present. Showers with digital mixers are the ultimate showering luxury.

Pressure Balancing Shower Valve 

Pressure Balancing Shower Valve

Shower valves with pressure balance do exactly what their name suggests. They keep a constant temperature by balancing the water pressure. This is to compensate for the lack of hot or cold water.

Unfortunately…

This shower valve type only works to maintain a temp by balancing the pressure.

How does it work?

Pressure balancing valves also called shower pressure valves, maintain an equal water temperature. This is on both the valve’s hot and cold water slides. Water flows from the showerhead reduce if the water pressure changes. Yet, the temperature will remain constant.

The pressure balancing valve is less expensive. Making them a good choice for individuals on a tight budget. Although it just balances the temperature and not the water flow is annoying…

….not having to worry about excessive temperatures in the shower is worth it.

Temperature regulating valves

Temperature Regulating Shower Valve

The temperature regulator is a self-sensing and self-actuated temperature regulating valve (TRV). It regulates liquid or steam flow in response to temperature variations.

This valve doesn’t need external power to operate or detect temperature changes.

Like any other control valve, the temperature control valve works simultaneously. The only difference is that it aids in maintaining a set temperature for the desired process.

Nevertheless…

The temperature regulating valve allows cold process fluid to mix with the hot. This controls the hot process fluid’s temperature. It’s important to remember that mixing in this form of temperature is physical. It shouldn’t result in a chemical reaction for smooth and predictable control.

Mixing valve

Mixing Shower Valves

The mixing valve combines hot and cold water to provide a consistent and safe exit temp. 

Furthermore…

The phrase “mixing valve” refers to regulating the mixture of hot and cold to maintain a suitable temp. Before it reaches the shower faucet, the mixing valve controls the water temp from the heater. They mix the amount of hot water from the heater with cold to help keep the water temp safe for showering.

Transfer valves

Transfer Shower Valves

Transfer valves allow water to pass to different outlets without stopping the main. Many components are used at the same time with some transfer valves.

Thanks for transferring valves!

You may use more than one component without turning off the main showerhead.

In the majority of cases…

Transfer valves can only have two outlets open simultaneously, but modern types can have up to four. It has a computerized control with various programs and capabilities. This eliminates the need to twist knobs and regulate temperature and pressure.

On the other hand…

They are also less susceptible to corrosion. It’s because metal shower handles are no longer included. The finest thing is that you can precisely control the temperature and pressure you want. You might also use a timer to run your bath and pause the water flow if you hear someone calling you out of the bathroom.

How does a shower valve work?

The shower valve allows you to turn the water on and off while adjusting the temperature. You may have a single valve that controls both the pressure and the temperature.

You may have many valves that give you more control over the temperature and pressure. You most likely have two or more handles that allow you to adjust hot and cold water independently.

How to identify shower valve brands?

Shower Valve Brand Identification

Search for the manufacturer’s logo or name for the quickest solution. Because a brand’s name or model can be found almost anywhere, cleaning your faucet handles, decorative rings, and so on can be beneficial.

Check-in behind shower grip at the center of the trim plate for the manufacturer’s symbol or brand name.  You can also find the Information on the inside of a handle. So inspect all parts thoroughly under bright light (or flashlight).

Also…

Some faucet manufacturers may include a model number. Yet,  this can be difficult to interpret without a logo. It will always depend on the naming convention. Luckily, there are many methods for determining faucet brands.

Depending on the state of your original faucet…

…you may need to use several techniques to locate the correct parts, such as:

The logo of the shower valve manufacturer or the model number;
Using a brush to count striae (teeth);
Length of the stem;
Cartridge size and shape;

Standardization of faucets is normal, with comparable internal parts. Yet with distinct external appearances and styles. Replacement parts can be obtained from various sources, allowing for a quick fix. Today, almost every brand has its own set of specs and parts.

Stems (cartridges), valves, and splines are now all different. As a result, before you can fix your faucet, you’ll need to know how to identify its brand. It’s easier to disassemble and repair if you know what you’re working with.

How to Identify the Type of Shower Valve?

Old Shower Valve Identification

1. Count the Number of Shower Faucet Handles

Examine the faucet to see how many handles it has. It’s a double-handle faucet with two handles. It means the hot and cold water pipes connect to separate handles. A single-handle faucet has only one handle. It is a rare three-handle model if the faucet has three handles. The third shower handle functions as a diverter. It directs the water flow to the showerhead or the bathtub faucet.

Furthermore…

A panel shower faucet lacks handles and instead consists of a series of buttons on a large panel. The single-handle faucet is currently the most popular type of shower faucet.

2. Determine How the Shower Faucet is Connected

Examine the connections. Examine the shower head above the handle and connect it to the plumbing. You have a handset shower head if a hose runs from the shower head to the shower pipe behind it. A fixed or mounted shower head is attached to the shower pipe that extends from the wall. Fixed showerheads can turn 180 degrees. At the same time, handheld showerheads are more adaptable and simple to use.

3. Identify the Manufacturer

Look for a brand name or symbol in the center of the shower trim plate behind the shower handle. If you see a “K,” the faucet is a Kohler; if you see an “M,” it is a Moen. American Standard, Delta, and Pfister print their full names on the shower faucet. Knowing the brand is essential for taking it apart to repair or replace it.

4. Check the Shower Cartridge

You can also save cash by identifying the brand of cartridge. Measure the length and number of splines to accomplish this. Once you’ve gathered this data, you can compare it to a reference.

Old shower valve types

Old Shower Valve Types

The Hot & Cold Shower Valve works the same way as a regular hot and cold water faucet. This valve has separate handles for the two temperatures. Hence, you can mix them up by calibrating each handle to your preferred position. 

Hot and cold water mixing occurs at the faucet control level rather than at the regulating valves. There is no system in place to control the shower’s temperature output.

While this provides complete control…

The main disadvantage is that external factors can alter the pressure of the water.

As a result…

This sort of shower valve does not protect against scalding. This is one of the main reasons you never encounter these valves in the wild. Most states have made it illegal to install new valves of this sort. They’re still popular in historic cities with older structures.

In addition…

Compression valves are the most common form of faucet valve. It is simple and inexpensive. A compression valve has a screw stem that raises and lowers as it rotates. As well as a rubber compression washer at the bottom.

Compression valves’ main advantage is their low cost. This makes fixtures with these valves less expensive than other varieties. Compression valves are more prone to leaking than other valve types. After repeated use, the rubber washer can get distorted, break, and fall apart.

Shower Stem Identification

Shower Cartridge Identification Chart

Measures your stem from the left, where the washer fastens, to the right, where the handle goes on the knurled end.  It makes it easier to identify your stem or handle needs. Shower stems vary by manufacturer. It is important to remember when identifying your stem or cartridge.

Today…

Almost every brand has its own set of specs and parts. Stems (cartridges), valves, and splines are now all different. So make sure you’re familiar with your brand.

How to Use a Faucet (Valve/Stem) – Shower Cartridge Identification Chart

Identifying the cartridge brand might also help you save money. Measure the length and number of splines to do so. You can compare them to a reference once you have this information.

Another technique to know your type is using a cartridge identification chart. See the steps below:

  1. Measure the cartridge with a caliper or ruler. This is done by measuring from the bottom to the tip (from seat to splines).
  2. Take note of the cartridge’s length tier (lengths range from 1–12).
  3. Then, using the broach chart, identify the broach pattern (see page B-5).
  4. Find the length tier of your stem (highlighted on the right/left side of each page).
  5. Look for the matching brooch pattern (alongside the cartridge photos). Check that it is correct.
  6. Next, make a list of the part numbers that you will require.

A cartridge identification chart will help you figure out the part numbers, so you can identify the manufacturer of your cartridge. 

Conclusion: Shower Valve Types And Their Identification

Old Shower Valve Identification

Shower valves are useful additions to the ever-changing showerheads. They come in various styles, each with features to make showering more convenient. Shower valves are not universal. Thus, you cannot mix the shower trim and rough-in valves from different manufacturers.

Aside from that…

Different valve sizes and kinds may exist from one manufacturer to the next. They may not be universal or interchangeable. Fortunately, shower sets are always marketed in a set.

Furthermore…

Continuous reinvention shows the importance and the convenience it gives to us.

Here’s a tip:

Keep an eye out for warranties. Keep all your faucet’s paperwork and documentation. If it’s still under warranty, you might be eligible for free replacement components. You just need to contact the manufacturer.

Also, keep in mind!

Contact your plumber for ideas and answers to any questions you may have. May it be about selecting the right shower valve or shower trim kit for your bathroom makeover. These 10 Best Shower Valves In 2022 can help you choose the correct shower valve for your space. You will, without a doubt, get what you desire.