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81GLfoCxh-L._SL1500_Have you ever just stood in the rain? Taken the time to feel natural water fall gracefully onto your face?

It feels amazing, giving a sense of tranquility & relaxation… but it isn’t very practical. Usually we are clothed and the feeling afterwards of standing in cold and wet clothing is anything but tranquil and relaxing. How can you find the pleasure of rainfall without the disadvantages?

Introducing the rain shower head. Bring your very own raincloud to your bathroom and turn your average shower into a great shower. Imagine waking up each and every morning to your own personal hot rain shower. Let your sleepiness wash away and wake up feeling pampered and relaxed.

The best rain shower heads on the market


Moen S6320 Velocity Rainshower
8" Round$$$4.8

Waterpik Drenching Rain Fall Showerhead6" Round$4.5

Hansgrohe Raindance Downpour AIR Showerhead
10" Round$$$$4.8

Delta Touch-Clean Raincan Showerhead8 ¾" Round$$4.8

American Standard 8-Inch Rain Easy Clean Showerhead
8" Round$$4.5
Delta Touch-Clean Raincan Showerhead8" Square$$$4.5
Grohe Rainshower Shower Head8" Round$$$$$4.7
American Standard 10" Modern Rain Easy Clean Showerhead
10" Round$$4.1
Grohe Rainshower Shower Head6 ¼" Round$$$4.4

KOHLER 8-Inch Contemporary Round Rain Showerhead
8" Round$$$$$4.8

ALFI 16-Inch Solid Round Ultra Thin Rain Shower Head16" Round$$$4.9

What is a rain shower head?

Designed to give the experience of showering in the rain, rain shower heads are often engineered to deliver multiple settings from drenching rain storm to a water saving trickle.

Usually consisting of a thin square or round disk shaped head with many small holes in which water can flow out steadily and evenly. More advanced models include a pulse mechanism to force the shower spray to form into droplets. Even more advanced models allow multiple or even randomized settings. Pulsating rain massage (for spa like treatment), drenching rain storm (for a great strong shower) and water saving trickle (for a long, long hot shower without the guilt) are examples of the different settings available on different models. Randomized settings give an amazingly realistic rain shower experience.

There are many shapes and designs with multiple materials and finishes available such as steel, chrome and brass to suit any bathroom design.

Advantages of a rainfall shower head

  • You get a gentle, relaxing shower. Rain droplets versus sharp water jets? We know which one we’d prefer. Shower in luxury and comfort, your very own raincloud each morning at the temperature you desire.

  • Great style and flair. Rain shower heads look great! They’re impressive in size and unique in style. A quality rain shower head will make your bathroom and shower look like a million dollars. Give your bathroom and shower a 5-star hotel room finish.

  • More coverage in your shower. Ever feel like you had to run around in a shower to get wet? With a sparse and uneven shower head, you’ll always have an average shower, not a great one. With a large and even rain shower head you’ll always be covered and have a great shower everytime.

  • More options for you. The more advanced rain shower heads have multiple spray pattern to choose from. More choices let you pick the shower spray that fits you and your mood. Feel like a strong hot shower? Choose the drenching rainfall. Feel like a long meandering, stress melting shower? Choose the water saving trickle and never feel guilty about using too much water. Sore and stiff muscles? Choose the pulsing rain massage and wash that soreness away.

How do I find the best rain showerhead for me?

When shopping for a new rain shower head there are several things you should consider;

  • Size. Bigger is better in our opinion for a great rain shower. A lot of the best rain shower heads are between 8″ and 10″ in diameter.

  • Quality. You don’t always have to buy one of the major brands to get a good product, and vice versa. Take some time to read the user reviews from other customers that have bought the same product on Amazon, and you will be able to find the right shower head for your bathroom.

  • Spray design & settings. Some rain shower heads have multiple spray settings and more advanced spray designs. If you are simply looking for a nice and simple rain shower, then a basic design with a single setting should do you fine. If you are looking to be able to switch between rainfall, powerful massage, drenching and mist settings, then pick a head with more spray settings.

  • Shower arm fit. Is the model designed to be wall mounted or ceiling mounted? Will this fit your current shower arm? You will be able to determine this by viewing the product information and pictures. If in doubt, maybe pick up a new shower arm that best fits your new shower head.

  • Style & finish. Match your new shower head to your existing bathroom fittings and fixtures. For example, if you have chrome taps etc in your shower, then choose a chrome finish for your new shower head. That being said, you shower head can become more of a bathroom centerpiece so don’t be afraid to be bold and make your shower great!

Reviews of the top 5 rainfall showerheads

1. Moen S6320 Velocity Rainshower

As the only rainfall shower head that has been recommended by Consumer Reports, you know that the Moen S6320 Velocity rainshower is going to be a solid performer. Taking a quick look at the reviews on Amazon confirms this – there are almost 100 five star reviews for this product, with many people commenting on the excellent build quality and ultra-realistic feel to the water spray.

With two modes, you can easily switch between a high pressure shower from the middle 30 nozzles or a relaxing rainfall experience from the full 100 nozzles on this shower head. And, it comes with Moen’s lifetime warranty that it will be leak-free and drip-free.

Click here to see user reviews and prices on Amazon.

2. American Standard 10″ Easy Clean Rain Showerhead

Coming in at less than $100 online as a result of some steep discounting by Amazon, this American Standard 10″ rain shower head represents excellent value for money. Like most rainfall shower heads, the water flow from this model is gentle and soothing – and it is likely to encourage you to have a longer shower to because it is so enjoyable to be under.

Because it’s a cheaper model, there are no adjustable settings or spray patterns on this shower head, but don’t let that distract you from getting an absolute bargain on this shower head. This shower head is perfect for ceiling mounting – we recommend that you have it installed about 7 feet above the floor in your shower.

Click here to see user reviews and prices on Amazon.

3. Hansgrohe Raindance Downpour AIR Showerhead

The biggest thing that makes the Hansgrohe Raindance stand out from its competitors is the Air-Jet system, which helps to make this 2.5 gallon per minute shower head feel like you’re actually standing under a shower head that is using 6 gallons per minute or more. You can see how much difference the Air-Jet system makes by putting your finger over the air inlet while showering.

As a result of mixing air with the water, this shower head feel like more like a drenching downpour of rain than the gentle spray of some of the other rain showers featured on this site. This is the perfect shower head for you if you dislike the feeling of the modern low flow showers.

Click here to see user reviews and prices on Amazon.

4. Grohe Rainshower Shower Head

Unlike the other products in our top five list, this rain shower head from Grohe is a much smaller 6.25″ – which is perfect if you’ve got a small shower area, or you’re looking to fit this to an existing wall shower arm if you’re renting and want to improve your shower experience.

It has four different spray patterns – rain shower, power jet, spray and champagne spray – which you can see in action in this YouTube video. Don’t let it’s small size discourage you – it has a great spray coverage that will ensure that you have an amazing shower every morning.

Click here to see user reviews and prices on Amazon.

5. Delta Touch Clean Raincan Showerhead

Delta’s Touch Clean Raincan is another single function rainfall shower head, that can be had for less than $60 if you buy it online. It is the cheapest of top five rain shower heads, but don’t let that put you off. It has good water flow and a wide, even spray pattern.

The Delta Raincan has strong user reviews on Amazon and is rated 4.8 out of 5 with many satisfied customers.

Click here to see user reviews and prices on Amazon.

Popular Posts, Ultimate Guides

6841679294_a05ba3e54aHand held shower heads offer complete flexibility to help you create a great shower area in your home. They’re great for the young and old, but work well for people of all ages in between too. Washing and cleaning become a breeze with a detachable shower head, because they allow you to easily direct the water flow to any area you need to.

Keeping the whole family happy is easy too, as most hand held shower heads can function just like a fixed wall mounted shower head.

The top 15 hand held shower heads

Ana Bath 5" 5 Function Handheld Shower and Showerhead Combo
Combo System$$4.6
Delta Seven-Spray Hand ShowerHandheld - Arm Mount$4.3
Delta In2ition Two-In-One Shower Arm Mounted HandheldHandheld - Arm Mount$$4.3

Peerless 3-Spray/Massage Combo ShowerCombo System$4.4
Hansgrohe Croma C 100 3-Jet Hand ShowerHandheld Head Only$4.7
Rejuvenator Micro Bubble Hand Held ShowerheadHandheld with Mount$$4.7
Grohe Relexa Top 4 Hand Shower in StarLight Chrome
Handheld Head Only$$4.5
Delta Slide Bar Hand Shower SystemHandheld with Slide Bar$$$$$4.7

Delta Arm Mount Massage Handshower System
Handheld - Arm Mount$4.5

Waterpik 6-Mode Massage Handheld ShowerHandheld with Mount$3.9

KOHLER Flipside Handshower
Handheld Head Only$$4.0

Moen 4" Five Function Hand Shower with 59" Hose and Bracket
Handheld - Arm Mount$4.1
American Standard Traditional 5-Function Complete Hand ShowerHandheld with Slide Bar$$$4.9
Speakman Caspian Anystream High Pressure Handheld ShowerHandheld - Arm Mount$4.0

For those with young children, it is easier to wash them in the shower with a hand held shower head, moving the head around the young child rather than moving the child around in the shower. Also, for older persons with mobility issues, it is much easier and safer to wash (avoid slips in the shower). Rather than turning around in the shower, or lifting arms up high, the shower head can simply be brought around to the front, back and under the arms. This means less moving around within the shower, which lowers your chances of slipping and falling.

What is a hand held shower head?

Designed to detach from the fixed or adjustable wall mount, hand held shower heads are very versatile.

The head is attached to a flexible hose which is connected to the water outlet. The head then rests in a clip mount on the shower wall or attaches to a fixed shower arm.

In some cases the head can be a little loose or flimsy in the wall mount with the water turned on high. To combat this there are newer ‘combo’ designs that incorporate both a hand held shower head and a fixed wall shower head. With the twist of a knob or press of a button you can switch between the best of both worlds, or have both heads activated at once for total immersion.

The hand held shower design is becoming very popular due to its flexibility and additional style they can add to a bathroom. Many material finishes are available such as chrome, nickel and brass.

Advantages of a hand held shower heads

  • Wash where you need it. No more performing acrobatics to wash in those hard to reach places. Simply unhook the shower head and move the shower to you.

  • Great with small children. Washing kids in the bath or shower is so much easier when you can gently direct the water spray onto your children. Washing and rinsing soap away effectively whilst keeping yourself dry (well, as much as possible).

  • Best of both worlds, fixed and unfixed. With a sturdy wall mount fitting or a combo system, you can have the best of a fixed wall mounted shower head and a flexible unfixed hand held shower.

  • Helps with low water pressure. If you have low water pressure from the mains pipes or tank, then being able to bring the shower head closer to your body will help you have a much better shower. Being able to move the water flow to the relevant area of your body to rinse, even with lower water pressure you can still have a great shower.

  • Gentle on sensitive skin. As you can hold the shower closer the body, you can use a weaker stream with less water. This can help people with sensitive skin (think sunburn or younger/older people) as there is less of the ‘piercing hard needles’ sensation of strong water jets.

  • Great for older people. As we get older, we lose flexibility and muscle strength. This makes it harder and more uncomfortable to shower with a fixed wall mounted shower head. Also, a fall in the shower is much more dangerous for an older person. Twisting and turning in the shower can be greatly reduced by using a hand held shower. This will reduce discomfort and reduce the chances of slips and falls.

  • Great for washing pets. Save time and money by using your shower instead of a dog washer. Also, washing your dog at home might help with any anxiety they might have about being washed. Sometimes, the outside wash just is not possible due to weather or space – but the hand held shower gives you an inside option. Just give your shower a good clean once you’re done.

  • Easy to clean your shower. Simply spray your shower walls and glass with your ordinary bathroom tile and glass cleaner then rinse off – one of the most dreaded chores becomes almost too easy with the unfixed head.

How do I find the best hand held shower head for me?

When looking to purchase a new hand held shower head, there are a few things you should take into account;

  • Size of the head & length of hose. You don’t want the head to be too big as to be difficult to handle, but you still need some size to ensure a good rinse. Nearly all come with sufficient hose length – but it pays to check.

  • Quality. Check out the user reviews and stay with the good brands. At the end of the day, you often get what you pay for.

  • Wall mounting & fit. Will the hand held shower fit your current shower setup? You will be able to determine this by viewing the product information and pictures. If in doubt, maybe pick up a new mountings to make sure you have the best fit (if not already included).

  • Style & finish. Choose a style and finish that compliments your existing bathroom fittings and features.

Reviews of the best hand held showers

1.  Delta In2ition R Two-in-One Shower Arm Mounted Handheld

The Delta In2ition is a rather unique beast – it’s not quite the same as the fixed/handheld combo shower heads that are becoming increasingly popular, and it’s not just a regular handheld that mounts to the shower arm. Instead, it takes the best elements from both of those different types of hand held showers, to create an entirely new type of shower head.

The handheld section of this shower head continues up those diagonal lines from the handle, and lifts out to convert into a handheld shower. Depending on which spray pattern you set, this means you can still have some water falling on you from the two side pieces while you use the handheld, so that you don’t get cold. This unique design is why we’ve put this as number one on our list.

Click here to read user reviews and compare prices on Amazon.

2. Ana Bath 5″ 5 Function Handheld and Shower head combo

This combination unit from Ana Bath has two shower heads – one that is fixed at the end of the shower arm, and a second handheld head that clips into the side. There’s also a three way diverter, which allows you to select between the fixed or handheld shower heads, or activate both at the same time for total immersion.

Both of the heads feature the same 5 function sprayers on them, which allow you to choose between five different combinations of the three spray functions – saturating spray, massage spray, bubbling spray, saturating with massage or saturating with bubbling – allowing you to create a shower that suits your personal preference.

Click here to read user reviews and compare prices on Amazon.

3. Grohe Relexa Top 4 Hand Shower

Unlike the first two products, this one is a more traditional hand shower head. The Grohe Relexa features four different spray patterns, including Wide spray, Needle jet, Champagne (which mixes air with the water stream) and Pulsator. It’s a component system, which means you will need to select a hose and holster to combine with this head to complete your shower.

This is a great hand shower, which has been used on board luxury cruise liners, including the penthouse cabins on the Crystal Cruises Crystal Symphony – so if you’re looking to add a touch of luxury to your bathroom, then you should seriously consider this model.

Click here to read user reviews and compare prices on Amazon.

4. American Standard 5 Function Complete Hand Shower Kit

The slide rail hand shower is a popular design, because it allows for an adjustable shower height, that can easily be changed for different members of the household – perhaps you’d like to start introducing your children to the shower? Easy – just drop the height of the spray head and the shower becomes a lot less intimidating.

This item is a complete kit – giving you everything you need to upgrade your shower. It has five different spray patterns, allowing you to easily select from a full spray, full/massage combination, pulsating massage, massage/mist combination, or power mist setting – depending on your preferences.

Click here to read user reviews and compare prices on Amazon.

5. Speakman Caspian Anystream Handheld Shower

Speakman’s Anystream range of shower heads are renowned for their high pressure and are a common fixture in many luxury hotel rooms. Now you can bring that same experience to your bathroom with this handheld shower head. It allows you to dial in your own unique combination of water flow between the therapeutic center pulsating massage spray and the needling full-flood coverage, just by twisting the head.

Like all Speakman shower heads, this one features their famous lifetime warranty, which means if you ever run into an issue – support and a replacement is just a phone call away.

Click here to read user reviews and compare prices on Amazon.

Popular Posts, Ultimate Guides

Features of a shower panelWow… this is it! The cutting edge, the top of the line and best in the world. The shower panel is here!

Bring your shower into the 21st century with a great looking, modern style. A shower panel is a centerpiece to any great bathroom. With stunning design and effortless style, a shower panel will make your shower the envy of everyone.

Though the shower panel is not just a pretty face. The multi-functionality of this shower innovation will blow you away as well. Shower panels can offer rain showers, hand held, waterfall and even horizontal massage!

9 of the Best Shower Panels on the Market


Blue Ocean Stainless Steel Shower Panel59"$$$5.0

Blue Ocean Stainless Steel Shower Panel52"$$$4.8
Blue Ocean Stainless Steel Thermostatic Shower Panel52"$$$$$4.9

AKDY Tempered Glass Shower Panel51"$$$4.5
Blue Ocean Stainless Steel Shower Panel48"$$4.7
AKDY Stainless Steel Shower Panel57"$$$4.6

Blue Ocean Aluminum Shower Panel52"$$$4.7
Fresca Verona Stainless Steel Shower Panel60"$$$$$4.9

Decor Star Stainless Steel Shower Panel68"$$$4.4

What is a shower panel?

A shower panel is an all-in-one showering system. The panel combines the shower head, taps, hand held, waterfall and horizontal sprayers. The result is a stunning piece of design giving you everything you could desire in a shower.

Shower panels come in many makes and designs, being made of stainless steel, tempered glass and aluminum alloys. The shower panel is strong and stylish.

As a shower panels come in many great looking designs and because they are so versatile, they are becoming very popular in elite bathroom designs. Many of the best (and sexiest) upmarket 5-star hotels are installing shower panels for the comfort and convenience of their guests.

Advantages of a shower panel

  • Style & luxury! Shower panels have got the looks. New and modern, they just look epic in your bathroom. Something to really boast about for your new bathroom or renovation.

  • Modern. Get the on the cutting edge of shower technology and design.

  • They’re big! And bigger is better! A great shower panel is very impressive. Get a stunning centrepiece for your shower and bathroom. Make your bathroom stand out with a ‘wow factor’ that really pops.

  • Every shower option. The panel combines every available shower spray option. Monday, rainfall. Tuesday, waterfall. Wednesday, hand-held, Thursday, massage. Friday, horizontal spray. Saturday & Sunday, combine all five! Please everyone in the family whatever their mood.

How do I find the best shower panel for me?

  • Size. Measure your shower wall dimensions against the product description dimensions to give yourself a feel for how the shower panel will fit and feel. You don’t want either too small or too big.

  • Functions. Does the shower panel have all the functions you desire? Review the product description to ensure the panel you’re shopping for has all the bells and whistles you need. Also check how many of the functions can be used at any one time. Some products will only support limited functions at the same time due to water pressure constraints.

  • Design & finish. Does the shower panel suit and enhance your existing bathroom. Or if you’re remodelling, does the rest of the bathroom suit the shower panel as a centerpiece? Should the shower panel be a silver steel finish, glass or colored glass?

  • Budget and quality. Read the product reviews to find a quality shower panel that will last and fit within your budget. A cheaper model might not give that ‘wow factor’ or last as long, so buy wisely.

Reviews of the Top 5 Shower Panels

1. Decor Star 004-SS Stainless Steel Rainfall Shower Panel

When I think of what a shower panel should look like, the Decor Star is very close to the what I’d imagined. A nice big, beautiful piece of brushed stainless steel that bends into a shower head, and features an assortment of shiny knobs on the front to control everything and horizontal sprayers to ensure total shower immersion – plus a hand shower on the side as well.

It has a single knob for setting the water temperature for the unit, and then individual flow rates controls to turn on/off each of the water outlets. That way, you’re always getting the perfect water temperature from all of the sprayers.

Read user reviews and compare prices at Amazon.

2. Blue Ocean 52″ Stainless Steel Shower Panel

With almost fifty 5 star reviews for this shower panel on Amazon, it seems like there are a lot of happy people who are enjoying having this unit in their bathrooms. That’s probably because the guys at Blue Ocean have thought of absolutely everything you could require from a shower panel and made sure that this unit includes the lot.

It’s got a digital temperature gauge to show the water temperature, standard overhead shower plus handheld shower, 8 adjustable water jets and a tub faucet at the bottom if your bathroom has a shower over bath configuration.

Read user reviews and compare prices at Amazon.

3. AKDY Tempered Glass Rain Style Shower Panel

If you’re not a fan of the blue tempered glass on the Blue Ocean unit above, then AKDY’s version of the same shower panel with a black tempered glass front panel might be better suited to your bathroom remodelling project.

There’s not much more to say about this unit that I didn’t say about the Blue Ocean one – it’s well built, affordable and has many happy customers who have left positive reviews for it on Amazon.

Read user reviews and compare prices at Amazon.

4. Blue Ocean Stainless Steel Thermostatic Shower Panel

Like the last two shower panels, this one also has every feature you could ever want in a shower. There’s an LED panel that displays the current water temperature, 8 adjustable nozzles for a whole body water massage, a rainfall shower head, handheld shower and even a tub faucet at the bottom, if you’ve got a shower-over-bath configuration or would like to warm up the water before switching to shower mode.

There are fewer reviews for this model on Amazon at the time of writing, but they are all very positive about the unit, so it sounds like it would be a good investment for your bathroom upgrade.

Read user reviews and compare prices at Amazon.

5. AKDY Stainless Steel Shower Panel

This great looking shower panel from AKDY is sure to look the place in your bathroom renovation. It is constructed from high quality 304 stainless steel and has stunning zinc alloy knobs.

It features an integrated rainfall shower head at the top of the unit, two sections of massage jets on the front face that sit above & below the main controls and a handheld shower head that mounts independently on your shower wall. It’s a rather new product, so there aren’t many reviews on Amazon yet – but the ones that have been left are all positive so far.

Read user reviews and compare prices at Amazon.

"How To" Guides, Popular Posts

Shower valveLet’s take a look into some of the usually unseen parts of a great shower. In this post we’re going to look at the shower valve and why you might replace it.

Maybe you’ve heard your friend or a plumber talk about a leaking shower valve or that one was required when building a new shower. Ever wondered what the heck are they actually talking about?

When people are talking about a ‘shower valve’ they are usually talking about one of the following;

  • a pressure balancing valve

  • a thermostatic valve / thermostatic mixing valve

  • a diverter valve or a transfer valve

Pressure balancing valves and thermostatic valves are involved in controlling and maintaining the water temperature of your shower. While diverter valves and transfer valves are involved in directing or re-directing the flow of your shower water from the shower head to the tub faucet (or to the hand-held shower head, etc).

Pressure-balancing valve

The most common type of temperature control valves in the household shower. The valve maintains shower temperature by ensuring that the ratio of hot water to cold water stays constant. The valve (more info) utilizes a piston or diaphragm with ball-bearings that responds to changes in the pressure of the hot and cold water pipes. Even when pressure fluctuates, say when the toilet is flushed, the valve will restrict the flow of hot water so you don’t suddenly get scalded in the shower. Instead, the cold water is a reduced as well so overall pressure is lowered, but your shower water temperature remains the same.

Thermostatic mixing valve

This valve acts to control the water temperature specifically and to a pre-set temperature. The big advantage of the valve is that you can turn the shower on and simply wait for the shower water to reach your desired and pre-set temperature. No more fiddling around with the shower taps, acting like a bank robber trying to crack a bank safe!

Thermostatic valves can come in digital electronic form or in the more common manual form. The manual form uses a heat-sensitive material, usually wax, which expands with heat and restricts the flow of hot water. In an automatic balancing act, as less hot water gets through, the temperature reduces and the wax cools and shrinks letting more hot water through. This balancing act gives you a steady temperature controlled shower.

Diverter & transfer valve

As mentioned above, diverter and transfer valves change the flow of your shower water. Diverter valves only divert water in one direction. So with a diverter you can run water from either the shower head or the bath faucet for example. With a transfer valve, you can run water from multiple outlets. Some hand-held showers or shower panels will use a transfer valve to run water from both the fixed shower head and the hand held head or horizontal sprayers.

Why change or replace your shower valve?

  • It leaks. Obvious right? You should replace a leaking shower valve as soon as possible as it might be leaking more behind the wall where you can’t see. This could do a lot of water damage to your bathroom walls.

  • It’s slow to react. Your shower used to be great. Now every time someone turns on another tap in the house whilst you’re showering you shriek in terror! Suddenly scalding hot then the next moment chillingly cold, it’s time to change or upgrade your shower valve.

  • You want the benefits of a pre-set automatic temperature. Having a preset and controlled temperature can save you time and hassle fiddling around with water temperature. Also, having a preset shower temperature can be a good safeguard for young children and the elderly.

A selection of popular shower valves


Delta R11000 3/6 Setting Diverter Rough
Diverter Valve$$3.8

Moen 3510 IPS Pressure-Balancing Valve with Volume Control
Pressure Balancing Valve$$$4.4
KOHLER Rite-Temp Pressure Balancing ValvePressure Balancing Valve$$4.2

Moen 2510 PosiTemp 1/2-Inch IPS ValvePressure Balancing & Temperature Valve$$3.9
Moen 2570 Posi-Temp Pressure Balancing Cycling ValvePressure Balancing & Temperature Valve$$4.2

Moen S3600 3/4-Inch ExactTemp Volume Control ValveTemperature Control Valve$$5.0

Problems with shower valves

  • Lime build up. Lime and dirt can build up over time in the shower valve causing problems like hot/cold temperature changes.

  • Wear and tear. As shower valves age and suffer wear from everyday use, eventually you’ll get some problems that need a repair. Valve seals may eventually fail and start to leak water. Also as ball bearings wear, the reaction speed of pressure and thermostatic valves may slow. This means your shower temperature might start to fluctuate wildly as your valve becomes too slow to react to sudden changes in water pressure.

  • Hot water service change. If you change the temperature of your hot water service or the unit entirely, this might cause problems. You might need to adjust the stop in your pressure balancing valve or the temperature setting in your thermostatic valve to accommodate any change.

Fixing problems with shower valves

  • Clean it. Remove the cartridge and anything else that is simple to disassemble and soak in CLR or other lime remover product (check CLR is safe to use, it might damage some plastics – try white vinegar for plastics). Lubricate with silicone grease and reassemble.

  • Replace it. Not totally simple, but should fix any issues. You’ve probably had the valve for a very long time, it’s time to install a new one.

How to change or replace a shower valve

If you need to repair a shower valve or are looking to upgrade to a thermostatic one you’ll need some quite good DIY know how. Replacing a shower valve is a lot more work than replacing a shower head as you need to get into, cut and refix plumbing pipework.

As a broad overview here are the steps you’ll need to tackle;

  • shutting off the water

  • remove shower mixer trim and handle

  • remove caulking and trim plate

  • cutting a larger access hole

  • disconnecting pipe fittings – both threaded screw and soldered that’ll require cutting

  • cutting out the old valve

  • cleaning and sanding new copper pipe

  • soldering copper pipe

  • disassembling plastic parts from your new shower valve before soldering

  • reassembling plastic parts from your new valve after soldering

  • maneuvering the valve within the wall cavity

  • testing for leaks & fixing leaks

For a detailed how-to guide, we like about.com’s plumbing guide here: http://plumbing.about.com/od/shower_and_tub/ss/Replace-A-Shower-Valve.htm

If you don’t have basic plumbing equipment, good to advanced DIY skills or the time, we’d recommend getting a plumber in. A plumber will be able to fit your new valve quickly, test for leaks for you and give you peace of mind.

Fun Facts, Popular Posts

wrinklesWe’ve all had a long swim, bath or shower sometime in our lives and come out looking like a prune. Wrinkly hands, feet, fingers and toes – but why? Have you ever wondered how this happens? Have you ever wondered why it happens? After all, it doesn’t look or feel that good.

Up until the early 2000’s, the main theory of how fingers and toes wrinkled in water was that you simply were filling up with water. The dead skin (keratin) cells, which are thickest on your hands and feet, was meant to absorb water causing you fingers and toes to swell and thus to wrinkle.

However, there were a few holes in this theory. Firstly, your hands and feet have less volume when wrinkled in the bath. So they’ve actually shunk, not increased with the water. Secondly, researchers observed way back in 1936 that fingers with damaged or severed nerves did not wrinkle, no matter how long they stayed in water. So how could it simply be a matter of your fingers and toes filling up with water?

In 2003, a more robust theory was offered. Vasoconstriction. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/mus.10323/abstract As your hands and feet have a very high concentration of sweat glands, water passes through the skin of your hands and feet more easily. The water moving into your fingers and toes dilutes the levels of salt in your skin, which is highly regulated by your body. This dilution weakens the tissue cells in your hands and feet which triggers nerves to close down blood vessels. As the blood vessels are now somewhat closed down, the volume of your hands and feet shrinks. The shrinking occurs unevenly due the structure of the tough work areas on your hands and feet. So on a micro level, some areas of your hands and feet will shrink more than others, this unevenness is what causes the wrinkles.

Further research has suggested there is an advantage to water wrinkly skin for us humans. If you think about racing tyres, and you’ll start to understand what I’m talking about. Race cars use slick flat tyres in dry conditions for the best grip, but then change to wet weather tyres with grooves for the best grip in wet, rainy conditions. The grooves help channel water away allowing the flat surface to grip. In 2013, an experiment (http://rsbl.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/9/2/20120999.full) tested this theory via moving wet marbles and fishing sinkers to and from different containers while timing the results. In the experiment, people who wrinkled their hands for 30min in water prior to the test managed to complete the slippery tasks, on average, 12% faster than those with unwrinkled hands. There seemed to be no advantage or disadvantage for moving dry objects with wrinkled hands which might explain why we don’t have wrinkled hands all the time. Outside the experiment, it is suggested that wrinkled hands are less sensitive and damage easier which also could explain why our bodies don’t wrinkle all the time.

It is thought that wrinkled hands and feet might have given our human ancestors an advantage when it came to hunting and gathering in wet environments. Some interesting thoughts for when you are next pruning up.