A thermostatic mixing valve is very easy to use – you just set the valve to the desired temperature and the water will remain at the right temperature for your entire shower. If there is a fault in the hot water supply line, the sensor in the valve will shut the cold water off so that you’re not left with a downpour of ice water and thus prevents thermal shock. Conversely, if the cold water line should ever fault, the sensor will shut off the hot water supply so as not to cause scalding and burns. Any spike in temperature will be addressed almost instantly.
A pressure balance valve, although cheaper and somewhat effective at preventing burns does have it’s limitations. Pressure balance valves are generally single-control valves. You turn the single lever or knob and essentially get full flow out of the shower head or tub faucet. How far you rotate the valve sets the temperature of the water. For the most part, there is no true volume or flow control. Each time you turn the valve “on” you’re getting full flow, rotating the valve simply sets the temperature.
There is a “maximum temperature limit” on Pressure valves, but in general, it’s more of a mechanical limit that restricts how far you can rotate the lever versus a true limit on the maximum water temperature that can come out of the valve. You set the water to as hot as you’d like it to be, then you adjust a set screw built into the valve. The set screw limits the valve from being rotated beyond that setting. It essentially limits the maximum “hot water” to “cold water” mix ratio coming out of the valve. If the water temperature on the hot water heater were to ever increase, without changing the set screw, you are at risk for burns.
Major plumbing supply manufacturers like Hansgrohe, Kohler, and Grohe make very stylish trim kits to go with their thermostatic mixing valves. Better yet, their valves typically ship factory set to prevent temperatures above 100-105 degrees. Safety should always be a primary concern especially if you have little ones at home, and a thermostatic mixer valve will protect you and your family them from getting burnt by hot water.
If you are looking to do a bathroom makeover or just replace your shower system, come by Classic Kitchen and Bath Center in Roslyn Heights, Long Island. Our design experts will help you identify the right style and design. We have a large selection of manufacturers of thermostatic mixing valves as well as trim kits. We will work within a price range that works for you to meet ensure that you are satisfied and that you meet your needs.