How Shower Plumbing Works

A shower plumbing system is so complicated, yet the concept is actually not so hard to understand. This part of your plumbing system actually has three primary components: the drain, mixing valve, and shower head. The shower in another home may look different from yours, but they essentially have the same parts and functions. The parts and their functions are highlighted below:

Shower head
This is the most seen part of a shower system. In essence, this is an outlet for water, generally placed six feet or higher from the floor. There are many types of shower heads available, with some that have features like massage wands, individual flow controls, and detachable heads. Water is brought to the shower head from the mixing valve, meaning that this part of your shower system is not directly connected to the water main.

Mixing valve
Many plumbers consider this as the heart of the shower system. It comes in different models, with some that allow you to control water temperature using a single valve and others having two temperature valves for hot and cold water. Regardless of configuration, the valve is composed of two copper wire loops, with one feed out and two feeds in. Cold and hot get into the valve separately where the handle(s) control the amount of water every valve allows. When cold and hot valves are open, cold and hot water mixes together and will then pass through an outlet, which is connected to the pipe which, in turn, is connected to the shower head.

This part of the shower system is the most overlooked, but is very important. Its purpose is directing wastewater away from the shower and into the primary waste line of your property. This happens through the help of a trap. A plumbing trap traps water to form a seal between the waste line and the top portion of the drain to prevent harmful sewer gas from going into the shower. When wastewater goes down the drain, it goes onto the high side and will force water away from the trap on the low portion, the side that is attached to the waste pipe. This particular force, as well as the gentle sloping of the waste pipe, will cause water to freely speed down the drain.

Shower system installation
A shower system is usually available in kits, which can be obtained in hardware stores. Once you have a kit, you should then call a plumber to have it installed for you right away.