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Understanding Shower Valves

Understanding What a Shower Valve Does

A shower valve is that part of the shower which controls the flow and mix of hot and cold water into the rest of your shower. It does this using a combination of diverters, flow controls and temperature controls EMBATHER Shower System B078893RCH.

How does it do it – Diverters, Flow Controls and Temperature Controls

Temperature Control

All valves usually have a single temperature control. The temperature control varies the proportion on hot and cold water that is mixed allowing the temperature of the resultant mix to be controlled. Once the water has been mixed by this part of the valve various flow controls and/or diverters then direct the mixed water to the various functions of the shower. (By function we mean any of the shower outlets, e.g. overhead shower, slider rail, body jets etc).

Flow Control

A flow control is simply a valve controlled by a handle or lever on the valve. It takes water that has already been mixed by the valve and restricts its flow from full off to full on allowing fine control of the rate of flow between these two extremes. Each flow control generally controls the rate of flow from a single valve outlet and from there to a single shower function. To control a shower with two functions such as an overhead shower and a hand-held shower one option is to use a shower with two flow controls, each flow control independently controls the rate of flow to a single outlet, this means that you can have both controls on at the same time, this is in contrast to diverters (see below).


A diverter is a switch used to direct water that has already been mixed in the valve to one of two or more valve outlets. A two-way diverter switches water between one of two outlets and a three-way diverter switches between one of three outlets. In addition a diverter has an off position which cuts the supply of water to all the showers outlets. Diverters do not supply water independently to the shower outlets, only one can be on at a time. In addition diverters do not allow fine control over the rate of flow, although there may be some control each outlet is basically full on or full off. Note that in many shower configurations especially those with an exposed valve (see below) there may be another separate diverter on another part of the shower, (usually on the riser which takes the water up the wall) which switches water from the valve between two shower outlets, for example an overhead shower and a hand-held one on a slide rail or wall mount.

Sequential Shower Valve Controls

Most showers have at least two controls, a temperature control and one or more flow control and/or diverters however a sequential shower valve has a single lever control combining temperature and flow control regulation, As soon as a sequential control is turned the flow to the shower is turned full on cold as the handle is turned to its full extent the flow remains on full flow but the temperature is increased to its maximum. With a sequential valve the temperature con be controlled finely but not the flow.


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