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What is a Thermostatic Shower and How Does it Work? 101 UK Guide

What is a thermostatic shower and How does it Work - 101 UK Guide

When living with young children or elderly folks, it can be difficult choosing a new shower. Is your shower prone to constantly running too hot or cold no matter where you turn the handle? Does your shower like to torment you with intermittent temperature changes or unusually low water pressure? 

If the answer is yes, then thermostatic showers may be a safer alternative for your home. Their internal valves ensure that hot and cold water is mixed together before exiting the shower head to provide a safe and pleasant showering experience. 

To give you a clearer idea, let me take you on a journey to show you what thermostatic showers are, how they work, and how you can take care of them. 

What Is A Thermostatic Shower? 

A thermostatic shower seems like a regular shower, but it has something very unique inside; a thermostatic valve. Thermostatic valves mix both hot and cold water together to a consistent predetermined temperature, preventing scalding and thermic shock.

These thermostatic showers are an excellent choice for families with young children or older relatives as they provide safety and convenience.  

How Does A Thermostatic Shower Work? 

Thermostatic showers store water at a high temperature before mixing it with cold water to a pre-set temperature, rather than having an internal heating system like electric showers do. The valve also reacts instantly to changes in water temperature and immediately adjusts the mixed water to get it back to the pre-set temperature.

Thermostatic showers will also instantly shut down if the cold-water supply fails in order to avoid injury. It is these functions that make thermostatic showers stand out from others. 

Is a Thermostatic Shower Electric?  

Thermostatic showers are not electric as they rely on the mains water supply to function. A combination of water pressure and water temperature is what allows the shower to work.

Electric showers have their own heating element, so they use only cold water, whereas thermostatic showers use both hot and cold water. Electric showers are an excellent choice for Ensuite bathrooms and shower rooms, and can be rather economical as their temperature is not affected by other water use in the home.  

Thermostatic Valve Problems  

While thermostatic showers seem high-tech, they can have problems like other showers. Common issues that are reported include intermittent hot and cold water or constant hot or cold water.

Sometimes water can drip from the shower head when the shower is not on and running. Another common issue is a reduced water flow rate during showers.

All of these issues are easily fixed with regular adjustments and maintenance. If you are having trouble with your thermostatic valve, consider contacting a professional for support. 

Further Reading: Best High Pressure Shower Heads

What are Thermostatic Shower Valves?  

As we briefly mentioned in the first paragraph, thermostatic shower valves mix hot and cold water from your supply together. This premixed water then comes out of the shower head and can sometimes be set to a predetermined temperature.

Thermostatic shower valves are often made of metals such as brass or chrome to increase their life span. These valves are what make the thermostatic showers function safely and seamlessly to give you the ultimate shower experience.  

Can You Repair a Thermostatic Shower Valve?  

Repairing a thermostatic shower valve is easy enough with the right tools. Perhaps the handle is jammed, or the water is not mixing to the correct temperature? Taking the handle apart and having a look at the valve may show you what the problem is. Depending on the issue, you can even do it yourself without the expense of hiring a professional.

However, some valves cannot be replaced, so please do proper maintenance to prevent a nasty shock. If you are unsure how to fix the valve, I would advise contacting a local professional for advice and conducting thorough research before attempting repairs yourself. 

How to Adjust a Thermostatic Shower Valve 

Is your thermostatic shower valve not quite working as it used to?  To adjust your thermostatic valve, you must follow these steps; 

  1. Unscrew the handle or lever. Once removed, this will expose the grub screw.

  2. Loosen the grub screw with an Allen Key. This will allow you to pull the handle off of the valve. 

  3. Take off the brass temperature stop lug by removing the retaining screw on the end. 

  4. Turn the flow control back on. If the water is too cold, turn the brass spindle anti-clockwise until it reaches your preferred temperature. Turn the brass spindle clockwise if the shower is too hot. Once you are satisfied with the temperature, turn off the water flow with the handle and reassemble the parts. 

How to Clean a Thermostatic Shower Cartridge 

To clean a thermostatic shower cartridge, you will need a pair of channel lock pliers and some white vinegar. Once you are ready, complete the following steps; 

  1. Remove the handle and trim piece from the valve. 

  2. Using the channel lock pliers, unthread the cartridge and remove completely from the valve body.

  3. Soak the entire cartridge in a bowl of white vinegar, ensuring it is completely submerged for one hour. 

  4. While the cartridge is soaking, turn on your shower to flush the opening until the water runs clear. 

  5. Once the hour is up, rinse the cartridge thoroughly with water. 

  6. Reattach the valve, trim and handle.

How to Descale a Thermostatic Shower Valve  

To descale your thermostatic shower valve, simply remove it from the body and soak it in a white vinegar and water solution for at least half an hour before rinsing it off and reassembling the handle. A good ratio for this cleaning technique is one-part vinegar to one part water.

If this is not quite strong enough, soaking it in pure vinegar as described above is another good solution. Soaking the shower valve in shower descaling products from your local supermarket may also do the trick if the vinegar solution is not quite working or you fancy something stronger 

Why is My Thermostatic Shower Running Cold?  

If your thermostatic shower is running cold intermittently, it may be down to a blocked shower head, damaged shower hose, or blocked inlet filters in the shower itself. Another option is faulty non-return valves. If it is running consistently cold, it may be caused by blocked inlet filters or faulty non-return valves.

If adjusting any of these issues does not work, you may need a new thermostatic cartridge. However, replacing thermostatic cartridges is often more expensive than buying a new shower, so bear this in mind when making your decision. 

Thermostatic Shower for Bath 

It is indeed possible to find a range of thermostatic valves that work for both baths and showers. Often, they appear similar to normal combination taps but just have the thermostatic valve inside them. Thermostatic taps for baths work in the same way as thermostatic showers; water just comes out of a tap rather than a shower head.

There are also thermostatic taps designed for baths alone for people who do not have showers in their home. Places such as your local Screwfix will usually supply these, or you can buy online from websites like Amazon.  

Best Thermostatic Shower for Combi Boiler  

Having a combi boiler in your house may seem like an issue when buying a thermostatic shower, but it is not. There are plenty of excellent thermostatic shower choices that work with a combi boiler. One such option is the Mira Element Thermostatic Mixer Shower; it is a little expensive, but it has an elegant design made of complete chrome. 

It has Magni-flo technology which is capable of delivering three times more flow than other models. All this paired with a five-year guarantee make this is fantastic choice for your bathroom.  

Thermostatic Shower Valve for Camper Van  

Travelling on road trips does not mean sacrificing your creature comforts. Camper van showers have slightly different requirements to other showers, but it is possible to bring a thermostatic shower into your camper van. You can get shower valves for showers only, or a combination bath and shower tap for your convenience.

There are plenty of choices for every need and budget, so you are sure to find the right shower valve for you. Thermostatic shower valves for camper vans can be a little pricey, but the safety and convenience are worth it. Having a thermostatic shower valve in your camper van means that you can take amazing showers even while on the go.  

To Conclude  

Now you know everything there is to know about thermostatic showers. From what they are, to maintenance and how they work; this guide has covered the essential information you need about thermostatic showers.

We even included some recommendations to get you started. Whether you wanted to buy a thermostatic shower, fix a thermostatic shower, or were simply curious about them, we hope you found what you were looking for. 

What do you think about thermostatic showers? Do you have one? Are you now considering buying one? We love hearing from you, so please leave your thoughts in the comment section below.


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