All About the Plumbing in Your Shower
The plumbing in the shower may appear to be one of the most complicated parts of the plumbing system of the home, but the truth is, it is actually not so hard to understand. All you need to remember are these three primary components: drain, mixing valve, and shower head. They can differ depending on how the plumber or architect made the plumbing system in your home, but these three main components will be in all shower systems in all homes that have them.
The shower head is the most important part of the shower system, as this is where water comes out to wash your bodies. This is usually placed six feet or higher from the floor. There are many styles of shower heads available in the market. In fact, some have features like massage wands, individual flow controls, and detachable heads. Water goes to the shower head from the mixing valve; thus, all the water that goes to the shower head has already gone through some manual temperature mixing.
While the shower head is the most prominent part of a shower system, the drain is often overlooked. Its primary purpose is directing all waste from the shower area to the primary waste line. This is done through a trap configuration, like a sink or toilet drain, where water at the bottom portion of a pipe trap creates an airtight seal between the waste line and the top portion of the drain. This prevents any odours and gases from rising back to the shower. When water goes down the drain, it comes on the high part and forces the water on the low part, the part that has a connection to the sewage line. This force, along with a bit of sloping of the waste line, will cause the water to pass through the drain freely.
This part of the shower system, as already mentioned earlier, allows you to change the temperature of the water until the perfect mix of cold and hot can be achieved. Mixing valves often have two handles—one for the cold water and the other for the hot water—although there are others with a single handle intended for the same purpose.
Regardless of the configuration, the valve is made of two copper pipe loops, with one feed out and two feeds in. Cold and hot water each come in the valve separately where the handles control how much water every valve allows. When the cold and hot valves are open, the water that goes through them mixes together. This mixture is then fed through an outlet, which leads to a pipe which feeds the shower head and supplies it with water.
Putting these Pieces Together
To have your own shower system installed at home, get recommendations from a skilled plumber first, as each home is unique. Once recommendations have been obtained, get the parts that the plumber will install for you.