Shoppers who decide to change the fixtures in their shower need to consider the valve as well as their gorgeous new fixture. Without the right valve working behind the scenes, all that beautiful new trim won’t release a single drop of water.
The shower valve is, perhaps, the most important piece of plumbing homeowners never see, and most have no idea that it even exists or why it matters so much. In short, a valve is the brass component in the wall that makes everything work; it directs hot and cold water to the correct handle and pulls water from the spout to the shower head.
Valves are brand-specific; only Kohler faucets will fit a Kohler valve and only Moen trims fit Moen valves, and most faucets do not include the valve. Only about 50 percent of eFaucets shoppers know the brand of the faucet they’re replacing, which can result in unexpected and expensive work inside bathroom walls if their home lacks access panels.
“This is where a call to customer service can really save our customers time and money,” said Mike Jovanovic, sales manager at eFaucets. “Our representatives won’t let a customer off the phone without talking to them about valves.”
Jovanovic stressed a call to eFaucets while a replacement/remodel is still in the planning stages can alleviate unnecessary headaches and expenses.
“Trims are typically the last pieces installed, and it’s better to know whether or not the new pieces will match the existing valve and to plan for the possibility that they don’t,” he explained. “Imagine having all this beautiful tile as the shower surround and then the homeowner discovers the new faucet won’t fit. That’s not a good situation.”
Service stops should also be considered when shopping for a new faucet and/or valve. Having stops as part of the valve’s construction can also save time and money because the stops allow homeowners to shut off water to address repairs to the faucet without shutting off the water to the shower.
“Service stops are a great convenience,” Jovanovic confirmed.
Valves are sold separately and are available in a variety of configurations designed to match entire collections of tub and shower trims.
Thermstats and pressure balance valves blend the hot and cold water supplies and control the water flow to the showerhead. Thermostatic valves are more expensive, however they offer a number of beneficial safety features in return for the additional cost.