If you’re looking for ways to upgrade or remodel your bathroom, one easy solution is changing out the little things that make a difference in everyday comforts.
A new coat of paint and different shower curtain change the visual impact of the room immediately. New, shiny bathroom fixtures also help make things brighter and add better flow to a busy routine.
When selecting new bathroom fixtures, there are a lot of options to consider, especially when changing the shower head. There are many types available with different water flow patterns, and some have specific water usage requirements to be aware of.
Mounting a Shower System
How the shower is mounted in the bathroom varies. Most common is the standard wall mount, which is a stationary location at one end of the bathtub enclosure or one wall of the shower stall.
Top mount showers hang from the ceiling or an extension arm.
A sliding bar shower head offers slight height adjustments, as these can be moved vertically, but are still stationary on the wall. A handheld unit detaches from its mounting and can be used freely within the reach of the hose.
Finally, a shower panel system is made with several different shower heads configured in certain locations and heights.
Types of Shower Heads Available
Rain shower heads – are typically larger sized, with a spread-out hole pattern and lower pressure that mimics a light rainfall. These often help save water as they offer a soothing, relaxing shower experience.
Aerating heads – these create a mixture of air and water, which often feels as if there is higher water pressure. These units typically cost more initially, but usually use less water during normal shower times.
Low-flow shower heads – help to conserve up to half the amount of water used, compared to regular shower heads.
Adjustable heads – are available in many mounting systems. These include dials that can be turned to configure different spray patterns. Common ones include the rain flow, massage, full shower, and jet pulsing.
Water usage and requirements
Have you ever measured how much water flows through a shower head? Some areas of the country limit water usage, especially during hot, dry seasons.
For decades, the Environmental Protection Agency has publicized a required flow rate of 2.5 gallons per minute for shower heads. Some energy-efficient models use less than two gallons per unit.
What is the normal water pressure for your home? Adding a wall of extra shower heads will affect how much water pressure is sent to the bathroom. If water is being used at the same time elsewhere in the home, with a washing machine or dishwasher, this may affect the shower pressure.
Hot Water Heater Usage
Additional showers in a bathroom will obviously require more water, but homeowners should be aware of the limitations of their current water heater.
If your home has an older tank-type of water heater, then the reservoir holds a certain amount of water that is heated and ready to disburse. Once this is used, then additional water needs to heat to the required temperature.
Tankless water heaters provide hot water as it is needed, so the supply can typically keep up with the demand for hot water in a shower. The energy to make the water hot is only required as the hot water is needed. Once the shower head is shut off, the tankless heater doesn’t need to produce more hot water until another appliance or faucet requires it.
Get a Plumber to Install a New Shower Head
A shower head replacement might sound easy. Adding an entirely new shower configuration requires proper piping connections and sometimes a changeover in the size of piping to the bathroom.
The standard diameter of water pipes is one inch; but some custom showers can require pipes that are a larger diameter. A professional plumber should switch out feed lines and other piping to ensure a proper fit.
Know the requirements for the new plumbing in the shower. Your plumber may need to install a pressure balance valve or a thermostatic valve to help control the water volume and temperature.
A pressure balance valve has one handle that controls both the volume, but the temperature is usually as hot as whatever comes out of the water heater.
A thermostatic valve has two handles; one to control the volume and a second to control the temperature. This valve allows for changing the flow volume independently from changing the temperature. These are often installed to help reduce energy costs.
When you are ready to make some changes to your bathroom, call Naugle Plumbing and Heating to consult about the right fixtures, piping, and system changes that might be needed for your new shower experience.