Informational Guide

Shower Parts Names & Diagrams

Learn about shower parts & how they function with our complete guide. View diagrams & explanations on these common home plumbing devices.

by Ian Haynes

A nice long shower is the best way to unwind after a hectic day. The soothing sound of flowing water is therapeutic and an integral part of the de-stressing process.

However, this experience can become frustrating if you do not choose the right shower. The correct water flow and pressure is necessary.

According to a 2015 report, 50% of UK respondents said they spent five to ten minutes in the shower every day.

Therefore, it is essential to understand shower parts and to know how to buy the right ones. Read on as we discuss different types of showers and how they are usually set up.

A shower is directly connected to the water supply to provide an aerial water stream. There are several different types of shower setups to choose from:

  • Manual Mixer
    These are easy to install and use, mixing cold and hot water supplies manually
  • Thermostatic Mixer
    These incorporate the thermostatic valve to regulate the water temperature. They are perfectly suited for children as they prevent scalding.
  • Electric
    These are easy and quick to install with a heating element, so only a cold water supply is needed with them
  • Power
    An integral pump to promote the water pressure; these use both the cold and hot water supplies to improve your showering experience

Shower System Diagram

The following shower plumbing diagram accurately illustrates the use of integral shower parts to guide readers through the installation process.

If you set out to do the installation yourself, ensure the following:

  • Compile all the tools needed
  • Shut off the water supply
  • Clean the stopper
  • Add new thread tape
  • Follow up with the additional pieces
shower system diagram

Click here to access more information about shower parts needed for a seamless installation.


Most Common Shower Parts

Most users are aware of the visible shower pieces, but for it to function correctly, it needs properly-functioning internal shower parts that you should know about:

  • 1
    Hot & Cold Water Pipes
    Part of the water supply, these pipes are responsible for transporting water to the showerhead. Pipes can come in various materials, but galvanized steel is the most common choice, especially if you have an older home.Over time you will feel the water pressure slowly lowering because of deposits due to oxidation. At this point, it would be best to replace your pipes.Homes in the US still favor Copper pipes; however, PEX pipes are gaining popularity as they are cheap and easy to install.
  • 2
    Shower Cartridge And Handle
    The shower cartridge is an essential shower component as it controls temperature and volume upon release.Whenever you toggle the shower handle, the cartridge also moves to open or close the hot and cold-water inlets and let the water converge. The ability to open one inlet more than the other is how users adjust the shower temperature. Slide the handle more towards the cold water setting to receive colder water and vice versa.
shower cartridge and handle
  • 3
    Shower Valves
    Shower valves are responsible for controlling the water flowing from the showerhead. Additionally, brass is the most common material used to make these. The valve has a tub spout, which redirects the water from the stub to the showerhead. Furthermore, many shower valves contain a port at the bottom, allowing you to turn it into a tub valve. To prevent scalding water temperatures, ensure the valve is either thermostatic or pressure balanced.

Here are some of the various types of valves you can find:

  • Thermostatic Valves
    A thermostatic valve regulates the water temperature with the help of a thermostat. Before running the shower, turn the dial on the valve faceplate to alter the temperature.More contemporary designs come with anti-scald technology to prevent sudden heat spikes. Other than that, these valves also control the water volume from outlets.
  • Pressure Balancing Valves
    Commonly found in modern bathrooms, these valves control the water pressure and direct its movement along the pipes. A spring gasket helps achieve this by functioning as a stopper to manage water flow. The valves also have a shower cartridge connected to the primary handle, which helps it mix water to regulate temperature. It is important to get pipes pressure-tested before installing pressure valves because older ones suffer from corrosion and reduce efficiency.
  • Diverter Valves
    These valves shift the water flow between a shower and a tub. They have three different types.
  • Tee diverter: These have a pull arm on the tap that redirects water towards the showerhead once it has reached an appropriate temperature
  • Three-valve diverter: This lets you prepare the hot and cold water separately and then redirect the water between the tap and shower using a knob
  • Two-valve diverter: Uses a rotating control for cold and hot water and another control to switch water between the tub and shower.
  • Transfer Valves
    These valves let the water flow through multiple outlets simultaneously and are well suited for handheld showerheads or shower walls. Generally, they let you use one or both outlets simultaneously with a combination that can run them together.
  • 4
    Shower Head
    Connected to the water pipes with a steel hose, it is the most visible shower component. The showerhead is also very easily replaceable if broken.It is perforated to direct water through a focused point and uses less water than a full bathtub. Also, showerheads come in various shapes and can be adjusted to a gentle spray mode, massage mode, or intense spray mode. If you are confused about which one to buy, check out our top showerhead reviews to make a well-informed decision.
shower head
  • 5
    Shower Drain Strainer
    A typical shower drain plumbing system's primary component is the drain strainer. It is part of the drain cover on the shower floor that prevents unwanted debris like hair, soap pieces, or dirt from entering the drain. These pesky pollutants can cause a buildup on pipe walls, eventually leading to a clogging issue. Most shower drains are made of aluminum or steel and are available in various designs and styles. 
  • 6
    Shower Pan
    A shower pan is an essential part of a shower. It is necessary to prevent leakages and stop the floor from rotting over time. Shower pans come n various materials. In the past, most plumbers used lead; however, a new material called Chloraloy has become popular over the last few decades.It is durable and robust rubber held together by sturdy PVC like cement.
  • 7
    Enclosure
    Enclosures are one of the most visible parts of a shower stall. Typically, they are constructed using economical tiles. However, other materials, like glass tiles, glass blocks, manufactured stones, and natural stones, are also used. Most of these have a tray at the bottom, but some also use floor tiles. Even though most shower enclosures restrict the area with panels, there are also some without doors. Furthermore, various types are available to choose from: quadrant, square, rectangle, framed, and frameless, among a host of others. 
  • 8
    Trap And Drain Pipes
    A trap or an 'S-Bend' is a type of pipe designed in a sideways S shape. If properly installed in the piping system, they help trap water. Trapping water will prevent the flow of harmful gases and substances from entering your house while also expelling waste from your system. On the other hand, a drain pipe is attached to the base of the shower tray. It is purposed to direct sewage and wastewater away from the house. Traps typically come in copper, PVC, or ABS builds. 
bathtub and shower p-trap drain

How To Find The Perfect Shower For Your Bathroom

Here are a few factors you should consider when looking for the perfect shower for your bathroom:

1. Bathroom Size And Layout

Since showers are available in many shapes and sizes, it is essential to measure the space to find the appropriate size.

The aim is to ensure that the shower you buy fits comfortably and doesn't impede functionality.

2. Water Pressure Type

The water pressure in your house determines the kind of shower you should install. For instance, a high-pressure system employing a combi boiler would fit well with a mixer shower.

On the other hand, a low-pressure system is best with an electric shower. Additionally, this one also provides hot water immediately and consistently.

3. Plumbing And Water Heating Systems

People have different water systems in their homes:

  • Gravity-fed (with a cold water tank and a water cylinder): Meant to supply water simultaneously to multiple showers
  • Combi boiler (with a boiler excluding tanks or water cylinders): To heat water as you use it
  • Unvented system (with a water cylinder heated by an immersion heater): To heat a lot of water

4. Types Of Shower Heads

Showerheads have an essential role in providing the control you want over your shower quality. There are three types you can choose from:

  • Fixed shower: Permanently attached to the wall or ceiling
  • Riser kit: very versatile in water usage and has adjustable height
  • Combination shower head: Can be detached or fixed

5. Type Of Shower Valves

A pressure valve has one handle that controls both the water volume and temperature. In contrast, a thermostatic one has two handles: one for temperature adjustments and the other to control the volume.

Check out the best shower valves here if you want to install or replace them.


People also Ask (FAQs)

What plumbing requirements are needed for a shower?

Ensure that the shower system you choose works with the pipes in your home, as well as vent and drain pipes.

What is the minimum height for a shower?

It is approximately 80 inches above the shower floor.

Why does my shower head drip after i turn it off?

The diverter is pulled back towards the faucet through gravity; the left-over water in the pipes or showerhead drips out of it.

How do i stop my shower faucet from dripping?

Replace the old cartridge in the shower with a new one to stop it from dripping.

Is there a shut-off valve for showers?

Yes, you can either find it underneath the sink or in the crawlspace, under your bathroom.

Can you replace the showerhead without turning off the water?

Yes, you can; unscrew the old one in a counterclockwise orientation. Even though most are not screwed to the wall, you need to remove the screws first if yours is.


Conclusion

As simple as a shower system may seem, some shower plumbing parts are essential for the entire system to run smoothly.

Hence, it is vital to consider the different factors that affect its quality. Therefore, pick the right shower for your bathroom to enhance your experience.

Ian Haynes is an expert writer who has successfully deployed over 500 plumbing pages and other related content. He has an excellent understanding of home plumbing issues and translates his experiences via Plumbing Lab so readers can have a better understanding of common household problems. Outside of his work, Ian likes exploring Brooklyn with his Labrador.

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