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With proper planning and plumbing, you can design the shower of your dreams.
By Susan Winner
You can customize every feature of your shower right down to the valve functions. Here’s how:
Do the math
To decide how many sprays you can run at once, you have to do some basic math.
Plumbing codes mandate that standard heads and body sprays be fitted with flow restrictions allowing 2.2 gallons of water per minute (about half of this is hot water).
Depending on your PSI, or water pressure, a three-quarter-inch thermostatic valve can handle about 13 to 16 gallons of water per minute.
You can operate up to five fixtures on one three-quarter-inch thermostatic mixer at once. Most valves this size will set the temperature only and will require separate volume controls in the form of wall valves. A thermostatic mixing valve allows you to control the volume and temperature separately. Similar to thermostatic valves, volume controls can also be found in half- and three-quarter-inch valve sizes. How you organize the volume controls is up to you. You might run three body sprays on one volume control, or you might choose to run one shower head on one volume control.
Ensure adequate hot-water supply and analyze plumbing
If you’re planning on running many heads or sprays at once or you like to take long showers, you’ll need to consider your water-heater capacity and how quickly it recovers. It might be advisable to upgrade to a larger water heater.
You’ll also want to note the size of your piping to the shower. If you have standard half-inch supply lines, your water volume will be greatly restricted. The ideal is to have three-quarter-inch supply lines. Note that it’s not advisable to run plumbing on outside walls, especially in cold areas where pipes might freeze.
And will your drain size be adequate to handle as much water as you’ll be running?
Most plumbers can answer all these questions for you.
Design it for comfort
Consider the room placement and space of your shower. Allow at least a 3-by-3-foot standing area per person. Most people stand from 24 to 30 inches from the wall when showering.
HGTV. Designing a Custom Shower, [Online]. Web address: https://www.hgtv.com/bathrooms/designing-a-custom-shower/index.html (Page consulted on June 14 2011)