So you’re sick of your shower? You’ve seen some of the new gizmos at the home centers and you’d like to get in on the fun. This is going to be our first article in our new Plumbing 101 series. In this article we’ll talk about some of the latest features in shower plumbing and we’ll show you several piping diagrams that should help you decide what you want in your new bathroom apparatus and even how to pipe it yourself.
Shower Rain Dome
This is a pretty easy upgrade. Basically it’s a huge shower head that makes you feel like you’re getting deluged with water. They come in different shapes like square and round and have a variety of sizes. The only thing you have to worry about is the height of the shower. Sometimes these rain domes sit lower in the shower. If the shower doesn’t have enough head room you’ll whack your noggin on it.
Slide Bar with a Hand Held Shower
This can be done a couple different ways. Most commonly a slide bar is installed and the slide bar has an adjustable bracket that holds a snap in hand held shower. The slide bar and hand held can also be installed next to a stationary spray head. The shower arm is usually installed with a small diverter valve that directs the water from the stationary shower head to the hand held.
Body sprays can be mounted just about anywhere but they are usually mounted in pairs or even more commonly in threes. Most times when body sprays are installed a diverter valve must also be installed to divert the water from the fixed shower head to the body sprays.
Quite a few manufacturers are beginning to manufacture all-in-one shower towers combining a rain dome shower head, body sprays and a hand held in one convenient space saving panel. Jacuzzi’s J-shower (shower panel), Kohler’s DVT or Waterhaven and Grohe’s Aquatower are a few examples. These can be as simple as three body sprays and a shower rain dome and as complex as body sprays, shower rain dome, slide bar with hand held, sound system with IPod dock and LCD complete with Internet connection.
These are pretty expensive but quite a few are plug and play. As long as the opening is correct and the pipe sizing is correct you’re good to go. Just a word of caution, if you do happen to choose a Kohler DVT, have a plumbing technician that knows his stuff, these need special attention.
More and more people are choosing to install steam generator units in their shower. A steam unit is installed behind a wall or inside a shower seat. Water is piped to the unit and it is heated to steam, the steam releases through a head or heads in the shower. As with most of the above, these can become quite complex, having custom controls and aroma therapy.
Just as an FYI, all of the above piping diagrams were provided to me by Hansgrohe, I loved the spatial concept of the piping diagrams they showed. Oh and I love the IBox valve which is the rough-in valve shown in all the diagrams. Because this is a plug and play valve giving you different showering options by installing different trim kits some of the diagrams don’t translate well with other brands. However you do get a good idea of the different piping configurations and how they are piped. We hope you enjoy and happy showering.