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Thread: Installing pressure balance valve/system

  1. #1

    Default Installing pressure balance valve/system

    Help, I can't maintain a consistent water temp in my condo shower. Think a pressure balance valve/system might solve the problem?

    If so, what would be involved in changing from a three handle (hot, cold, and diverter) system to a pressure balance one? Am I gonna have to get rid of old handles, tear out tiled wall, etc.?

    Is it even possible with my current configuration?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    First, unless you could get at the back side of the wall, it would involve some tile work.

    Second, if yours is a newer place and was built with balancing valves, it would violate code to regress to a non-anti-scald type.

  3. #3
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    A pressure balance valve is designed for preventing scalding when there is a pressure drop in one side of the supply (somebody flushes a toilet for example) - if you are getting that, then a pressure balance valve will help. If it is that the temp more slowly drifts one way then the other, then a thermostatic valve may help. These also have a pressure balance feature, but allow you to set the desired temp, and as long as there is enough hot, then it will adjust the cold to keep the temp stable. You probably would have to tear out some tile to get to the old valves to install new ones.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  4. #4

    Question Thanks, further question

    Thanks for your response. There is access to tub/shower pipes from 2 ft x 3 ft door at floor level in next room. Maybe would need access higher than that? Building was constructed in 50s, so doubt that there was much pressure balancing code??

    Assuming it doesn't violate code, this sounds doable and worthwhile then?

    Just trying to get some sense of issues before calling plumber. The view of the guy who checked out a number of units in the building that seemed to have the problem was that nothing building wide seemed amiss, and perhaps installing the newer pressure balance kind of system might help - but "you'd have to rip out a bunch of pipes etc."

    No one seemed to know much about it beyond that though.

  5. #5
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Code for any new construction requires a pressure balance valve for showers. Some (most) places require them on replacements, too (assuming you get a permit). If you install one, you shouldn't have any problems with the inspector based on the type of valve you choose, but you might if you didn't put in a pressure balance one. Can you see the back of the existing valve through that access door? If so, then other than maybe messing up the tile work (and you could be lucky) you should be able to have one installed without major problems. My unprofessional opinion.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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