The old-fashioned separate hot and cold valves are like driving a manual transmission.
You have to be constantly attentive and tinker with the knobs every minute or so.
But with a thermostatic shower mixer, the process of getting the right water temperature is easy. And you’re more likely to have an even temperature experience.
If you’re experiencing water temperature fluctuations during your shower, you definitely need one of these.
Before we discuss the mixer itself, we should discuss why your water temperature fluctuates.
When water pressure drops in one feed or another, hot or cold, the balance of water coming out of each pipe changes.
If the toilet flushes, water pressure might drop in the cold pipe. When water diverts to the toilet, the hot water is suddenly stronger and more prominent.
You suddenly have a scalding hot shower.
The opposite can happen if someone opens a hot water tap in another part of your house.
1. Thermostatic Shower Mixer Can Give You More Than One Shower Head
Have you ever dreamed of having both a handheld shower head and a wall mounted one?
Well, with a thermostatic shower mixer, you can have both.
Without a shower mixer installed, two shower heads, a fixed and a handset would have varying degrees of water temperature.
A thermostatic shower mixer has two valves.
One valve controls the temperature and another controls the volume of water being delivered.
With a typical temperature mixing valve, you can’t change the water pressure without changing the temperature. And you are still at risk of getting scalded by a sudden change in pressure.
But with a thermostatic shower mixer, you can keep the temperature the same while giving yourself some relief from high pressure.
2. Anti-Scald Feature Of Thermostatic Shower Mixer
There is a wax element inside every thermostatic shower mixer.
It expands according to the heat of the water moving a piston across the entry portals of the hot or cold flows. And if the water temperature rises too high, then the element expands and shuts off the hot water and increases the cold water flow preventing scalding.
Similarly a return spring mechanism helps to push the piston back as the wax element contracts with a decrease in heat. Reversing the above process and maintaining an even temperature.
This is ideal for anyone with sensitive skin, children and the elderly and more to the point anyone who doesn’t want to be scalded.
It can also allow you to keep your water heater safely at a high temperature should you prefer.
3. Why would you want to keep your water heater at a high temperature?
If you don’t have your water temperature high enough, certain bacteria can live in your hot water heater.
These bacteria are harmful. And if you don’t have your water temperature above 50 degrees, you are at risk of bacterial infection.
Legionella pneumophila is the most common bacteria found in a household water heaters.
This bacteria can cause a possibly fatal lung disease. And many doctors might misdiagnose this disease as pneumonia. The symptoms are nearly identical.
The disease takes hold when you breathe in infected water molecules in shower steam.
Only trace amounts of the bacteria are present in your water supply ever. But a hot water heater with a water temperature below 50 degrees is a ripe breeding ground.
The bacteria will cease to multiply at 50 degrees, but won’t be destroyed. This is why it’s important to have a higher temperature in your immersion heater if you have one.
Thermal shock is another reason to both keep your temperatures high and use a shower mixer.
If you get blasted with sudden cold water, you can rush out the shower and slip.
If you’re planning on having other people in your home, especially, get a thermostatic shower mixer.
4. What To Look For In A Thermostatic Shower Mixer
As with many appliances and fixtures in your home, there will be options.
Knowing what you need and what to look for will save you time and money.
Let’s take a quick look at the various factors you need to consider when buying a thermostatic shower mixer.
Price on shower mixers does not vary more than a few £100. And really, when it comes to a permanent fixture, the price should not be the first thing you consider.
But knowing that, the price is not too steep. Most mixers only set a plumber back £100-300.
But there are many more factors you should consider first.
While under the hood all shower mixers do the same thing, the design can be vastly different on the outside.
You want to consider your shower design. How are the tiles laid out?
How much room do you have in your shower?
How many shower heads are you wanting to install?
Some mixers come with the knobs side by side, others one above the other.
Some look almost like a traditional shower valve with two knobs on either side of a longer tube.
The design you choose, of course, is subjective to your desires.
Water Flow Controls:
Not all come with water flow or pressure controls. But most do.
This might tie into your price point as most valves without pressure control will be a little bit cheaper.
Is this a DIY project? If not, this category is kind of moot.
But if you’re doing this project on your own, this is a category to consider.
Some shower mixers are easier to install than others.
If you’re the installer, look at reviews by other DIYers. You’ll want to make sure that you can do the installation before purchasing.
The more you save on your energy bill, the more you’ll have to spend elsewhere.
But can you save on your energy bill by installing a shower mixer?
You certainly can!
If you have too many temperature fluctuations, then you might be losing out on energy savings. Your heater and your shower valve will have to work harder the more hot water you use.
Some models even have an eco setting. This can monitor your hot water and make sure you don’t use too much.
If you’re installing shower mixers in a hotel or bed and breakfast, this could save your company thousands of gallons of hot water a year.
As you can see, a shower mixer isn’t just a luxury.
It will keep you safe and keep your energy bill at an acceptable level.
Are you looking to buy a thermostatic shower mixer? Let us know what you’ve considered in the comments below.