What Is a Shower System?
If you’re planning a shower remodel, your remodeling contractor will no doubt ask you what kind of shower system you want. There are two basic systems, and chances are you have used both at some point. Granted, their technical plumbing terms can make things a bit confusing, but here, we will explain the main differences between the two systems to give you a better understanding and allow you to proceed with a measure of confidence.
First, you should know that a typical shower system consists of valves, showerheads, water outlets, and volume controls. Many systems also feature hand showers and body sprays, and the components of a shower system will vary in the number of valves that are used. A valve is basically the engine that powers the water spray and creates the shower experience.
Pressure Balance Shower System
This system allows you to turn the shower on and off, as well as control water temperature, with one handle. A pressure balance valve controls only water temperature, not water volume. When the valve is on, it is on all the way. You cannot decrease the water volume, but you can always use an adjustable showerhead to change the pressure. Pressure balance valves are best used in basic shower configurations.
Thermostatic Shower System
With a thermostatic system, there are typically two levers. One lever controls the water temperature (thermostatic valve), and the other lever controls the water volume and the on/off function (volume control valve). There are two types of thermostatic valves:
Thermostatic manual valves
These valves automatically maintain your desired temperature setting. They are suitable for all applications, from basic showers to custom systems.
Thermostatic digital valves
These state-of-the-art options offer the ultimate in design and performance. You can use thermostatic digital valves to adjust water volume, and—depending on the shower system—music, lighting, and steam. This valve is fairly complex, so it’s the more expensive of the two thermostatic valves, but it can work well with any type of shower system.
With either a pressure balance or thermostatic system, you can add a diverter function to the shower. A diverter allows you to have more than one showerhead. Nowadays, “all-in-one” valves are available that combine the diverter, volume control, and thermostatic valve for a clean and simple look.
What Type of Shower System is Best?
In many homes, a pressure balance system is ideal for children and guest bathrooms, whereas a thermostatic system, with a handheld showerhead, is better suited for a master bathroom.
One great way to enhance both function and design is to customize your shower space to accommodate your preferred valve system. At Dreamstyle Remodeling, we offer and install high-performance shower systems that feature a bounty of options in valves and showerheads so that you can personalize your shower experience. Our custom shower systems also feature durable shower walls in a variety of appealing colors, textures, and patterns that can beautify any bathroom. Contact Dreamstyle Remodeling for more information. We will gladly schedule a free, informative consultation with one of our design professionals.