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Thread: Use a pressure balancing valve and ball valves for shower controls

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    DIY Junior Member ceiiinosssttuu's Avatar
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    Default Use a pressure balancing valve and ball valves for shower controls

    I am building my own house and finishing up my rough-in. For my stand-up shower (no tub), instead of buying a brand-name shower kit (Moen, American Standard, etc) I want to install a pressure balancing valve, stub out with ball valves that turn hot and cold on/off, and use a T to go up to the shower head. The finish look will be very simple and industrial-looking. Can someone describe how to plumb this? Or is there a schematic/diagram somewhere that would explain it?

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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    The pressure balancing valve has to "sense" the incoming pressure so it goes first. Ball, or gate, valves would be very "imprescise" for a volume control, "globe" valves would be better. I am not sure how "simple" it would look, but it would definitely be "industrial", or rather "factory rest room".
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

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    DIY Junior Member ceiiinosssttuu's Avatar
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    Yes, a globe valve is what I was thinking - not a ball valve. So I would run the hot and cold supply through the pressure balancer, then a globe valve on each, then a tee connecting them and up to the shower-head?

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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    That's about it. I can't say it would be the most attractive shower I had ever seen, however.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

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    DIY Junior Member ceiiinosssttuu's Avatar
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    Thank you, hj! Now here's another question: I have another shower I want to do dual shower heads on - I roughed in 2 1/2" pex for hot and 2 1/2" pex for cold to the general area. I would like 1 set of globe valve controls for hot/cold and a ball valve to turn the second shower head on/off. How would I plumb this using the same pressure balancing valve scenario above?

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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    I assume you mean two 1/2" hot and cold lines, rather than a 2 1/2" hot and cold line, but why I cannot fathom why you would need two. A "three way ball valve" would keep your industrial look and change from one head to the other, (half way would operate both of them).
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

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    DIY Junior Member ceiiinosssttuu's Avatar
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    The 3-way ball valve makes sense. I ran two of each because I thought one each of 1/2" would not be enough flow for a dual-head shower. Is there a pressure balancing valve that would take four 1/2" pex lines (2 hot, 2 cold), or do I need to tee them together and make two 3/4 lines first? Or use 2 pressure balancing valves and then join the hots/colds after they leave the valve? Thank you for your help!

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    If you stay with Federally approved showerheads, they can't provide more than 2.5gpm each. So, it then comes down to the valves ahead of it. 1/2" pex likely wouldn't provide full flow for two, but certainly would for one. I doubt you'd find a PB valve that had multiple outputs...but, adding a T should work if the supply is big enough. As to the valves, you'd have to read their specifications carefully to determine their maximum flow rates. 1/2" pex should be able to provide 4-5gpm, copper about 20% more. 1/2" pex has the approximate ID of 3/8" copper.
    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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