Shower mixers are a great way of getting the shower you want, every time. Sounds good so far, right?
In seriousness, a shower mixer is a fairly simple mechanism that allows you to control the temperature of your shower by taking both the hot and cold water flows and mixing them together before outputting them from the shower head. This means that you get to select the temperature that your water comes out of the shower. This may sound like something your shower can already do (and perhaps it is) but there are a few key differences between options such as electric showers, and a few key add-ons that can help you make the most of your shower mixer.
Bar Valve or Concealed Valve
If you're not connecting your shower to your bath taps, then you'll find that the most common form of mixer shower comes with a bar valve to control it, which allows you to control temperature at one end, and flow at the other. These usually give you a great deal of control over how you want your shower to perform, both in terms of temperature and in terms of flow.
The other common form is concealed valve, which have anything from one to three control handles depending on how they are being used. The one shown below has three handles: the top and bottom control flow to two different outlets whilst the central one controls the temperature of the water thermostatically. The two outlets can be anything you choose, perhaps a fixed overhead shower, a handshower on a riser rail, or perhaps some body jets.
One of the key problems with a mixer shower is the way in which the water is delivered to you. Unlike an electric shower, which heats water on the go, a mixer shower by definition mixes cold water with hot in order to get the right temperature. While this will give you a temperature that is easier to regulate, and flows faster, this also means that if a cold tap is turned on somewhere in the house, the cold water will stop flowing while the scalding hot water will still be delivered. Ouch.
Thermostatic cartridges are the answer, and are included with most modern mixer showers. Still, you should double check that the shower you're getting includes one. A thermostatic cartridge will measure the amount of hot and cold water it is receiving to make sure that both are equal, and if one lowers then so will the other. If the cold water supply runs low, the hot water will also slow down to maintain temperature. If the cold water shuts off completely, so will the warm.
This works in reverse, too, so that if the hot water were to fail, you wouldn't suddenly be showered with cold (a chilling thought). Thermostatic cartridges are therefore both a safety and a comfort feature, and could be considered a necessary part of any mixer shower kit.
Another key safety feature for mixer showers is the heat of the mixer valve. There is a risk that during use, especially prolonged use, of your shower, the temperature valve can heat up considerably. The Cooltouch option ensures that this doesn't happen, meaning that the valve will always be safe to use. This is especially important for children and the elderly, who may be more at risk from the higher temperatures of the valve.
Connect a Shower Head to Bath Taps or Overflow Bath Filler
If you are adding your shower to a bath tub, then a mixer shower is a perfect addition to your bath taps. Even better you can use an overflow bath filler and control the shower head or heads (if using two) as well as the bath overflow filler all from one shower valve. This saves money, space and looks very chic and modern!
How to Connect Shower Heads to Bath Taps: It's important to note that a mixer shower cannot be directly connected to your existing bath taps. In order to make this work, you will need a new shower mixer bath tap that can connect to the shower hose. As well as being able to connect to the shower, these taps will also have a lever or similar device that allows you to choose whether the water comes from the shower head or the taps themselves. Adding the shower to this set up will simply be a case of following your manufacturer's instructions.
Usually, shower mixer taps are sold as one unit, so you will get the shower head and the taps together in one package, though there are options that come without, allowing you to fit them yourself. View our full range of bath shower mixers here.
Power or Digital Mixer Showers
A basic mixer shower is a good choice for any household, and often provides a much nicer experience than an electric shower. However, there are two further steps you could take to improve your showering experience.
Power Showers: A power shower is much the same as a mixer shower, but contains a built in pump to ensure that the water pressure will remain high no matter what. Perfect if you live in a low water pressure home, or if you like a powerful shower.
View our full range of Power Showers here.
Digital Showers: Digital showers come in both electric and mixer models, but a special form of control. Digital showers are controlled by a processor box, which can be hidden from sight or even installed away from the shower, controlling the shower wirelessly or with Bluetooth. This also allows you to control the shower from a digital device such as tablet or phone, and you can program the shower to meet your specific requirements. In this case, the temperature will always be what you want it to be, and the safety features of a thermostatic valve and cooltouch technology will be automatically part of the package.
You can view our full range of Digital Showers here.
If you want any further advice about your shower or any plans for your bathroom, we're always happy to help. Just give us a call on 01524 841087 or use our helpful contact form.