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Thread: pressure balanced vs thermostatic valves (1/2 inch vs 3/4 inch)

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    DIY Junior Member Shawn_T's Avatar
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    Default pressure balanced vs thermostatic valves (1/2 inch vs 3/4 inch)

    I am in the process of installing a shower which will have a rain showerhead, a hand shower unit, and 2 body sprays. I would like to be able to use the body sprays at the same time as the rain showerhead, and then be able to use all 3 components by themselves. I have 3/4 inch plumbing run from the main water line. I am thinking that it would be best to use the 3/4 inch plumbing to feed a 3 way diverter valve and then feed 3/4 inch into a transfer valve which feeds 1/2 inch plumbing to the showerhead, handshower and body sprays. I was thinking about using a 6 function, 3 port diverter for this setup but it seems to be very difficult to find the correct valves and trim for this. Is there a better way that I should be looking at configuring this? Should I step the 3/4 inch plumbing down to 1/2 inch with a bushing right before the diverter? Would there be a noticeable reduction in pressure by doing it this way? Because I have 3/4 inch plumbing I wanted to use it to feed the valves, but it may not be feasible. Would it be better to use pressure balanced and diverters, or thermostatic with volume controls? Any help is appreciated very much. Thank you.

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    FIrst thing, add up the specs on the volume each thing uses, add up any/all that you want to be able to run at once. Then, compare that max value to the max flow capabilities of the 1/2" and the 3/4" valves. If the 1/2" valve can handle the flow volume (probably not), go with it as it's cheaper. You'll probably end up with the 3/4" valve which can , depending on the design, often more than twice the flow of the same company's 1/2" valve. You shouldn't make assumptions, you need to read the specsheets as there is quite a variation between both brands and lines within a brand.

    Personally, I like to be able to set the temperature and never adjust it. This is more reliable with a thermostatically controlled valve summer/winter, full tank/near empty than a pressure balanced valve which doesn't take into account variations in cold or hot water supply temperatures - that's all up to you.

    As to how best to select a diverter and plumb it, can't help you there.
    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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    Quote Originally Posted by jadnashua View Post
    FIrst thing, add up the specs on the volume each thing uses, add up any/all that you want to be able to run at once. Then, compare that max value to the max flow capabilities of the 1/2" and the 3/4" valves. If the 1/2" valve can handle the flow volume (probably not), go with it as it's cheaper. You'll probably end up with the 3/4" valve which can , depending on the design, often more than twice the flow of the same company's 1/2" valve. You shouldn't make assumptions, you need to read the specsheets as there is quite a variation between both brands and lines within a brand.

    Personally, I like to be able to set the temperature and never adjust it. This is more reliable with a thermostatically controlled valve summer/winter, full tank/near empty than a pressure balanced valve which doesn't take into account variations in cold or hot water supply temperatures - that's all up to you.

    As to how best to select a diverter and plumb it, can't help you there.
    What thermostatic shower valve do you have? My next shower will be thermostatic and piped with independent positve cut off volume controls for each function. Rain showerhead,handshower,wall showerhead and 6 body sprays. Same thing on the other side of the shower including another rain head. Two 3" shower drains. max flow would be close to 35 gal a minute.

    Each set of 2 body sprays would have its own positive cut off volume control valve,allowing you to turn them on or off in combinations of two's for a total of 6.
    Last edited by Hackney plumbing; 01-19-2012 at 06:39 PM.

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    In my last trip to London, the hotel I stayed in had Grohe thermostatically controlled valves...the pressure was bouncing all over the place, but the temp stayed nice and consistent. So, when I remodeled, I decided to use one of theirs. I do not have any experience with others, and I'm sure other brands make some that work well, too. Mine is a weird one as it has a built-in diverter for a shower (via a hose connection), a tub spout, and the temp and volume controls all in an external mount fixture - the thing weighs about 10#. There is an air duct immediately behind this wet wall, and I wanted something that could be serviced easily without dealing with it or the granite tile on the wall. Then, throw in a pocket door, and access after the fact is almost nonexistent.
    Last edited by jadnashua; 01-19-2012 at 07:03 PM.
    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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    ACO Shower Drain Sales johnfrwhipple's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shawn_T View Post
    I am in the process of installing a shower which will have a rain showerhead, a hand shower unit, and 2 body sprays. I would like to be able to use the body sprays at the same time as the rain showerhead, and then be able to use all 3 components by themselves. I have 3/4 inch plumbing run from the main water line. I am thinking that it would be best to use the 3/4 inch plumbing to feed a 3 way diverter valve and then feed 3/4 inch into a transfer valve which feeds 1/2 inch plumbing to the showerhead, handshower and body sprays. I was thinking about using a 6 function, 3 port diverter for this setup but it seems to be very difficult to find the correct valves and trim for this. Is there a better way that I should be looking at configuring this? Should I step the 3/4 inch plumbing down to 1/2 inch with a bushing right before the diverter? Would there be a noticeable reduction in pressure by doing it this way? Because I have 3/4 inch plumbing I wanted to use it to feed the valves, but it may not be feasible. Would it be better to use pressure balanced and diverters, or thermostatic with volume controls? Any help is appreciated very much. Thank you.
    What type of hot water tank do you have?

    Is your 3/4" lines run in copper or pex?

    What size is your drain?

    What is the flow rate of your fixtures? Most are 2.5 gallons per minute but many people have their restrictors removed when installed.

    If you like long showers you might consider one of these heat recovery systems the men have been talking about lately.

    If you like lots of pressure you should make sure your shower drain is a high flow capicity like a linear drain or 3" point drain.


    3/4" is ideal and will supply your valve with all the water it can handle. From there some proper layout is needed for an even balance.

    Where do you want your body jets to hit your body? Where is your glass going?

    Why not post a room layout and your wish list.

    The more information you can provide the better advice you will get here.

    JW


    jfrwhipple@gmail.com - www-no-curb.com - 604 506 6792

    Always get construction advice double checked by your local city hall. Flood Test Every Shower - Every Time.

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    DIY Junior Member Shawn_T's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnfrwhipple View Post
    What type of hot water tank do you have?

    Is your 3/4" lines run in copper or pex?

    What size is your drain?

    What is the flow rate of your fixtures? Most are 2.5 gallons per minute but many people have their restrictors removed when installed.

    If you like long showers you might consider one of these heat recovery systems the men have been talking about lately.

    If you like lots of pressure you should make sure your shower drain is a high flow capicity like a linear drain or 3" point drain.


    3/4" is ideal and will supply your valve with all the water it can handle. From there some proper layout is needed for an even balance.

    Where do you want your body jets to hit your body? Where is your glass going?

    Why not post a room layout and your wish list.

    The more information you can provide the better advice you will get here.

    JW
    I have a tankless hot water heater so losing hot water is not an issue.
    The 3/4 lines are pex.
    The drain is 3".
    Each fixture will most likely be 2.5 gpm. I haven't bought them yet but everything I have looked at has been 2.5 gpm.

    The one thing I am not sure about is whether I want to use a pressure balanced system with diverters, or thermostatic system with volume controls? Any advice on this would help make my decision easier. Thank you.

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    I'd used a thermostatic valve and independent positive shut off volume controls for each function or group of functions.

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Some thermostatically controlled valves want shutoffs before them, some can use them after them, so depending on the control you select, make sure it can work the way you want.

    Note that 3/4" pex has a smaller ID than copper, and bigger than 1/2" copper, it's still not the same as 3/4" copper and you will likely see a lowered volume than you would with copper...you probably won't see the full volume available if you had copper there, so keep that in mind when selecting the devices you wish to use. As long as the pipe can deliver more than you're using, you should maintain pressure, but try to use more, and it will drop, maybe to a value that would degrade your pleasure and expectations.
    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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    ACO Shower Drain Sales johnfrwhipple's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shawn_T View Post
    I have a tankless hot water heater so losing hot water is not an issue.
    The 3/4 lines are pex.
    The drain is 3".
    Each fixture will most likely be 2.5 gpm. I haven't bought them yet but everything I have looked at has been 2.5 gpm.

    The one thing I am not sure about is whether I want to use a pressure balanced system with diverters, or thermostatic system with volume controls? Any advice on this would help make my decision easier. Thank you.

    I like the thermostatic control feature and individual control valves.

    A 3" drain is great if your working with some large water volume.

    Often my clients complain about water pressure. If your expecting big things from your new fixtures you might be a little disappointed. Lately we are dealing with clients removing the restrictors so size the drain and flow rates to handle this if you should happen to ask the plumber to remove them.

    What make of fixtures?









    This DornBracht line is outstanding if it's in the budget!


    Any steam?

    JW
    Last edited by johnfrwhipple; 01-22-2012 at 11:03 PM.


    jfrwhipple@gmail.com - www-no-curb.com - 604 506 6792

    Always get construction advice double checked by your local city hall. Flood Test Every Shower - Every Time.

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    DIY Junior Member Shawn_T's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnfrwhipple View Post
    I like the thermostatic control feature and individual control valves.

    A 3" drain is great if your working with some large water volume.

    Often my clients complain about water pressure. If your expecting big things from your new fixtures you might be a little disappointed. Lately we are dealing with clients removing the restrictors so size the drain and flow rates to handle this if you should happen to ask the plumber to remove them.

    What make of fixtures?









    This DornBracht line is outstanding if it's in the budget!


    Any steam?

    JW
    Thanks for the info. I am currently looking at the following lines:

    Kohler Purist
    Brizo Euro
    Delta Arzo

    Is there one that is recommended over another, or one that I should stay away from?
    I have not heard of Dornbracht before but they do look very nice. I will look into their prices.
    I do have a Relax-a-mist steam generator that will be installed.

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    ACO Shower Drain Sales johnfrwhipple's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shawn_T View Post
    Thanks for the info. I am currently looking at the following lines:

    Kohler Purist
    Brizo Euro
    Delta Arzo

    Is there one that is recommended over another, or one that I should stay away from?
    I have not heard of Dornbracht before but they do look very nice. I will look into their prices.
    I do have a Relax-a-mist steam generator that will be installed.
    The relax a mist generators have two steam outlets so plan your fixtures and benches away from these. Often you see them grouped somewhat close together.

    The Dornbracht fixtures tie into steam shower waterproofing wonderfully as do many others.

    Make sure your tile setter gets the proper water/vapour flashing details from the plumbing fixtures. These details so often get missed. Or the fixtures do not provide them.



    The Dornbracht features come with Kerdi Flashing details but Noble Seal TS ones are easy to make in replacement.



    Check with your plumbing retailer and ask which of your selection works best with a steam shower.



    Are you adding any lighting?

    JW


    jfrwhipple@gmail.com - www-no-curb.com - 604 506 6792

    Always get construction advice double checked by your local city hall. Flood Test Every Shower - Every Time.

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    DIY Junior Member Shawn_T's Avatar
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    Thanks for the tip about the water/vapour flashing. I had not thought about that yet. Does it make sense that I will be using hardie tile backer, mesh tape in the corners, thinset in the seams and then a rubber compund rolled over everything? Am I missing anything?

    I am not planning on adding lighting because there already will be adequate lighting in the room.

    I have just received a quote for American Standard (Boulevard line) that includes a 3/4 inch thermostatic valve and 3 - 3/4" volume controls. The quote for this system is about $450 less than the same quote for the Brizo (Euro line). Do you think I will be satisfied with the performance and the durability of the American Standard Boulevard product line?

    I have not decided on the brand of body sprays that I want to use yet. I was thinking the Delta T1817 body spray looks good becuase it has 2 spray jets in one unit that are 5 inches apart. The unit runs at 2.4 gpm. This would hopefully give a satifactory width of spray so that I wouldn't need to go with 2 separate sprays beside each other. I may go with 3 of these body sprays because the rough-in valve (R530) can generate 16 gpm and this should be enough pressure to run the rainshowerhead (2.5 gpm) as well as 3 bodysprays (2.5 gpm each). Any thoughts? I am also considering the Moen TS1320 body sprays because they would match the showerhead I am planning on using. Any recommendations on a different body spray that has great performance without breaking the bank? The Dornbracht looks like it may be a little pricey.

    Here is a picture of the delta body spray I referred to:Name:  t1817.jpg
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    Dornbracht only promises to have replacement parts for like 10 years after a fixture is discontinued. IMO thats not acceptable. Buy the Delta.

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    ACO Shower Drain Sales johnfrwhipple's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shawn_T View Post
    Thanks for the tip about the water/vapour flashing. I had not thought about that yet. Does it make sense that I will be using hardie tile backer, mesh tape in the corners, thinset in the seams and then a rubber compund rolled over everything? Am I missing anything?

    I am not planning on adding lighting because there already will be adequate lighting in the room.

    I have just received a quote for American Standard (Boulevard line) that includes a 3/4 inch thermostatic valve and 3 - 3/4" volume controls. The quote for this system is about $450 less than the same quote for the Brizo (Euro line). Do you think I will be satisfied with the performance and the durability of the American Standard Boulevard product line?

    I have not decided on the brand of body sprays that I want to use yet. I was thinking the Delta T1817 body spray looks good becuase it has 2 spray jets in one unit that are 5 inches apart. The unit runs at 2.4 gpm. This would hopefully give a satifactory width of spray so that I wouldn't need to go with 2 separate sprays beside each other. I may go with 3 of these body sprays because the rough-in valve (R530) can generate 16 gpm and this should be enough pressure to run the rainshowerhead (2.5 gpm) as well as 3 bodysprays (2.5 gpm each). Any thoughts? I am also considering the Moen TS1320 body sprays because they would match the showerhead I am planning on using. Any recommendations on a different body spray that has great performance without breaking the bank? The Dornbracht looks like it may be a little pricey.

    Here is a picture of the delta body spray I referred to:Name:  t1817.jpg
Views: 1897
Size:  6.1 KB

    For steam showers we like installing Noble Seal TS - you can use a liquid membrane like Hydro Ban or Red Guard but you need to follow the install spec's to a T. Kerdi works as well but choose a tile that is acceptable with non-modified thinset. The steamer above is my last Kerdi project.

    Steamers with liquid membranes on the walls need a poly behind your hardie lapping over your linear.

    Look up "Hydro Ban Steam Shower" online - they have a very good install description online.

    You can get hydro Ban at Centanni Tile in Burnaby - use my account if you like to get a better price. Tell Gloria John says it's OK.

    That said if you where my client I would be pushing for a sheet membrane like Noble Seal TS.

    Any exterior walls?

    Are you going for a sloped ceiling or flat? Sloped is the correct way but often hard to achieve and maintain some style at the same time.

    What are your ceiling heights?



    JW
    Last edited by johnfrwhipple; 01-24-2012 at 11:13 PM.


    jfrwhipple@gmail.com - www-no-curb.com - 604 506 6792

    Always get construction advice double checked by your local city hall. Flood Test Every Shower - Every Time.

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    A flat shower ceiling tends to drip all over onto you when you've got the steam up. Sloping it causes the condensation to mostly flow to the low side and flow down the wall rather than drip.
    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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