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The Complete Buyer's Guide to Shower Heads

There’s never been a better time to be in the market for a showerhead. While this might strike some of you as a fairly boring fixture, the truth is that showerheads these days can do amazing things that will both keep you clean and make your regular shower all the more enjoyable.

Before purchasing the first one that catches your eye, however, be sure you’re aware of all your options by reading the following buyer’s guide.

Materials

Having more options than ever before when selecting your showerhead means having more materials to choose from, as well. Nowadays, that means nickel, silver, chrome, stainless steel and antique finishes, among other options.

Largely, the type of showerhead you choose will determine what kinds of materials are used. However, to get the look you want, finding the right finish shouldn’t be much of an issue.

Single-Head Spray

These are probably the most common types out there and the ones with which most people are familiar. They have a simple, bulbous head that protrudes from the wall.

The head itself usually has at least four individual spouts that provide the water in some sort of pattern. Many single-head models have knobs for ratcheting the spray pattern wider or thinner.

Single-Head Spray with an Arm

A spin on the above option is a single-spray showerhead that is attached not to the wall, but to an arm that attaches to the wall. A hinge provides the connection, allowing you to adjust the height of the showerhead and even the angle at which the water hits you (thanks to a second hinge at the actual head).

This is a great choice for households that have that one or more tall family members.

Handheld Showerheads

Just like the option above, handheld showerheads operate with a single head that provides some type of spray pattern you may be able to adjust.

The difference, however, is that it’s not permanently mounted to the wall, meaning you can take a hold of it. Thanks to a flexible hose, the water is supplied as strongly as with other models.

Handheld showerheads are another great option if you have a tall family member who otherwise has to struggle with a typical setup. They’re also great for people who struggle with a full range of motion, as they make it easier to clean yourself with less movement.

Rain Showers

Rain showerheads have caught on in popularity over the last decade. They are made with one large, flat showerhead that is suspended from the shower’s ceiling, almost where a light might go.

When activated, these showerheads provide water right on top of you, as if it was raining.

Body Spray Showers

You can implant showerheads right into the walls of the shower itself. These will either sit flush or are compact nozzles.

They can be configured just about any way you wish. Keep in mind, though, you’ll need 45 pounds per square inch of water available and supply lines that are three-quarter inches around to get the desired effect.

Multiple Showerheads

Another popular option is having more than one showerhead. You can have a different lever for each, allowing you to choose which one turns on when and at what pressure and temperature.

Often people elect to combine a single-head spray option with a handheld showerhead. Of course, you can always combine the above options into your shower.

Shower Valves

Although you can often buy them in tandem with a showerhead, you’ll need a specific valve to truly take advantage of your new fixture. The shower valve is the unit primarily responsible for regulating the pressure and temperature of the water.

Mixing Valve

The most basic kind is just a simple mixing valve or two, that allow you to increase the pressure and temperature of your shower’s water.

Pressure-Balance Valve

If you’ve ever had the unpleasant experience of being hit by suddenly freezing or scalding water because of another fixture being used in the house, you may be interested in a pressure-balance valve.

This option ensures that the temperature of your water stays constant by regulating the pressure of your cold and hot water’s flow.

While everyone can appreciate this luxury, it’s especially helpful for young children or senior citizens who could face serious injury from a sudden change in water temperature.

Note that in new homes, anti-scald pressure balance valves are required. In older homes, however, their use can be problematic.

That’s because older homes often have pipes that are corroded and clogged. This can reduce the pressure to such a degree that these devices can’t do their job properly.

Thermostatic Valve

Lastly, your most sophisticated option is a thermostatic valve. This option will maintain the temperature of your water consistently.

It can do this without ever sacrificing water pressure. That being said, this option will cost you about twice as much as a basic pressure-balance valve.

If this buyer’s guide has you thinking about new shower heads, let Deer Valley Plumbing Contractors, Inc. help fill in any gaps. We’ll not only answer your questions and help you find the right showerhead for your home; we can even help install it.

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