Here’s a great idea that may add a bit of safety to an older home in Boston. Plumbing in newer homes is usually designed to help prevent hot water scalding. Often, newer plumbing designs include a pressure balance (to prevent the cold water from dropping out) or an anti-scalding device to regulate the flow of hot water. Single control shower fixtures also can also balance the hot and cold water feeds to help prevent injuries.
In older homes and apartment buildings, the plumbing may not have been modified. If this describes your home or building, for safety reasons, you should consider adding a temperature-activated flow reduction device.
This device is threaded and sits inline with the showerhead on a two-handled shower – those showers that have independently controlled hot and cold water feeds. This valve includes a bi-metal regulator (much like a thermostat) that reduces the water flow to a drip if the water temperature exceeds about 115°F. This flow reducer doesn’t completely shut down the hot water flow. Instead it reduces it to about ¼ gallon per minute, which will give the person in the shower time to readjust the water balance without losing the hot water altogether.
If you live in an older home or apartment building, and your shower has independent hot-and-cold-water feeds, you’ll want to have this device installed, especially if you have young children or older adults in the home. The device is relatively inexpensive for the protection it offers and is designed to fit standard ½” supply pipes.
The device isn’t designed to correct pressure problems, such as what happens when the cold water drops out after a toilet flush, or if someone else in the house opens up a cold water tap. If this happens to your plumbing, you’ll want to consider having a pressure balance installed to prevent this from occurring.
This is a great DIY project that doesn’t require much knowledge about plumbing, or any special tools. With the valve itself and a little Teflon tape, you can add a measure of protection to your home. If, for some reason, you don’t want to install this valve yourself, or you want more information about correcting pressure problems in your plumbing, contact us at Boston Standard Plumbing & Heating at (617) 288-2911 and we’ll be happy to lend a hand.
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