If you have to install a new shower mixer tap, you might not be sure how to do so, exactly.
Luckily, this is not something you need a lot of DIY experience in order to do, although that certainly does help.
Wait – what is a shower mixer? This is a type of shower that mixes hot and cold water in a valve to send it to the showerhead so you can get a stronger water pressure and the water temperature you want.
Ready to install a shower mixer tap? Here’s your step-by-step guide so you can start enjoying better showers.
How a Shower Mixer Tap Works
Before you go ahead and install a shower mixer in your bathroom, you’ll need to ensure that you know how a shower mixer tap works.
For starters, as its name implies, a mixer shower is a blend of hot and cold water in a shower valve so that the water is the right temperature before you step into your shower and turn on the tap.
These mixer showers are therefore very convenient, and they can be used in the home with low or high-pressure water.
Some shower mixer designs are exposed, meaning that the unit is placed on the wall, or hidden from view – in this design, the valve of the unit will be visible but the pipework is hidden inside the wall.
A mixer shower needs hot and cold water in the home to be directed into the system at the same pressure.
The problem some people might experience with this system is that the shower relies on the external water supply in the home, the same one that you obviously use for other appliances and tasks around the home.
This means that the water supply can sometimes get interrupted. However, some of the benefits of a shower mixer can make up for that. These include the following.
- You’ll have an automatic stream of hot and cold water. You won’t have to keep adjusting the hot and cold water because a shower mixer tap will do that for you.
- These types of showers are much more powerful than others, such as electric showers.
- They come in modern designs that avoid complicated units which also look bulky or unattractive. They’re therefore perfect if you want to upgrade the appearance of your bathroom.
- They’re really easy to use.
What’s The Difference Between Shower Mixers And Thermostatic Mixers?
Earlier, we mentioned that a shower mixer is more powerful than an electric shower.
But what about shower mixers and thermostatic shower mixers? Are they the same thing?
No, although they’re both mixers, they do have some important differences you should know about. A manual mixer shower blends hot and cold water together so that you’ll get the right temperature you want for your shower.
However, a thermostatic shower does that but also goes one step further: it reacts to any spikes in the temperature and adjusts the water so that it will go back to the temperature you’ve set for it to be.
You can learn more about thermostatic shower mixers and if they’re worth purchasing by reading, “Should You Get A Thermostatic Mixer Shower?”
How To Install A Shower Mixer Tap Easily, Without Any Stress
Now that we’ve looked at some important things you need to know about how shower mixers work, here are the steps you need to follow to install a shower mixer tap.
- Start by switching off your water supply. If you’re replacing a shower mixer tap, you’ll have to dismantle the old shower mixer unit and remove it.
- Figure out what water supply in your home you’re going to use. If you’ve never done this before, try to trace back the pipes all the way to the nearest cold and hot water sources.
- Now, you have to isolate your water supply so that you can install the tap.
- Remember to open your hot and cold water taps to drain any excess water that’s in the pipes before you start working on them.
- Consult the user manual that came with the shower valve so you can direct the hot and cold water to the correct sides. What’s usually the case is that the hot water tap is on the left and the cold is on the right.
- Put a shut-off valve on both the hot and cold water. Make sure this is close to the shower. A section of the copper pipe should be slotted into the end of the plastic pipe. This is a good tip to help you find it much easier to tighten the compression joints on the pipe.
- Place plastic stop ends on the pipes.
- Turn the stopcock on and make sure that the pipe isn’t leaking.
- You’ll need to flush the new pipe so that there’s no debris in the water. This is essential so that you don’t damage the valve.
- Turn off the stopcock once you’ve flushed the water.
- Put the shower valve on the wall where you’re going to install it so that you can see how much of the pipe you’ll need.
- Once you’ve cut the outlet pipes, drill holes in the wall for the valve.
- Place a collapsible olive in each valve outlet. Keep it in place by screwing the nut onto it. In case you don’t know, an olive is also known as a ferrule and it’s used in compression fittings to make a seal watertight. It’s basically placed on the pipe between the main fitting and compression nut.
- Now you’re ready to ensure that the thermostatic valve is aligned with the supply pipes. They need to slide smoothly into the inlet pipes.
- Screw the shower valve onto the wall. Make sure the nuts are tightened with the use of an adjustable spanner.
- Turn on the stopcock and make sure there are no leaks at the inlet pipes.
- After you’ve done that, you’ll simply have to fit the rest of the shower mixer kit. If the kit has a flexible hose, you must connect it to the bracket that keeps it secure. On the other hand, if the kit has a riser pipe, you must cut it to ensure that it’s the right length.
- Put double-sided tape on the top bracket. Make sure it’s at the correct height above the shower valve. You’ll have to cut your riser pipe to the right length. To do that, measure from the bottom of the bracket to the top mounting nut that’s on the valve. Combine this measurement with the one you previously took and use it to cut your pipe.
- You should make sure that the riser pipe fits well between the bracket and valve. It needs to be in a vertical position, so check that it is with the use of a spirit level. After you’ve marked bracket mounting holes, you’ll want to drill them and fit the riser.
- If your shower kit has an extension piece included that connects to the top bracket of the riser and it’s useful for the showerhead. You want to fit this piece and screw the shower head into place.
- Run your shower to check for any leaks. Put on both taps to make sure that the water temperature is constant.
There you go! That’s how you install a shower mixer tap. If you find yourself battling to install a shower mixer tap in your bathroom, you should stop and call a professional plumber who can help you.
How long do shower mixers last?
Once you’ve installed your shower mixer, it should last you for several years before you need to repair it.
What are some common shower mixer problems that you might have to repair?
Some common problems that you might encounter include a damaged shower hose, a blocked shower head, or a clogged inlet filter.
Why is your mixer tap leaking?
This is usually a result of the ceramic cartridge inside the tap. This cartridge can be replaced by a local plumber merchant.
If you want to make your showers more comfortable and enjoyable, a shower mixer is a good choice.
In this article, we’ve looked at what you need to know about shower mixers and how to install shower mixer taps, for a better temperature-controlled shower every day.
While it might not be difficult for you to install a shower mixer tap with a little DIY experience, it’s worth consulting with a plumber if you battle.