Skip to main content

Originally published Thursday, July 12, 2012 at 4:31 PM

  • Share:
  • Comments (0)
  • Print

'Smart' shower valve may help save water, prevent scalding

Ed the Plumber: A primer on digital shower mixing valves

Scripps Howard News Service

Most Popular Comments
Hide / Show comments
No comments have been posted to this article.
Start the conversation >


Q: My parents are getting on in years, but are still very independent. So, we're remodeling their bathroom with a low-threshold walk-in shower stall. The contractor told us that we should consider an electronic digital shower type of valve instead of a standard manual plumbing mixing valve. We're not sure about that. Can you please give us more information on digital shower valves?

— Nancy, Nevada

A: Digital shower mixing valves are becoming very popular now that new technology has made them easier to install and operate. Basically, if you can work a TV remote control, you can now work a digital shower "interface" control.

For those not familiar with this type of valve, it's a thermostatic shower mixing valve that is controlled by pushing buttons, instead of manually turning a mixing-valve handle. Since it is electronic, the main valve body is installed behind the shower wall according to local codes, and the only component in the shower area is a small, safe, easy-to-use digital control.

This control features a bright LCD display screen, on and off buttons, and even diverter controls so you can add a personal hand shower. There's even a pause button to save water, and the water temperature can be preset, making it a safe option for children and/or older adults. Plus, the push-button features can make operating the valve easier than manual compression kind of mixing valves.

Bottom line: A digital mixing valve can be a great choice for "aging in place" bathrooms.

Master plumber Ed Del Grande is the author of "Ed Del Grande's House Call," the host of TV and Internet shows, and a LEED green associate. Visit or write Always consult local contractors and codes.

News where, when and how you want it

Email Icon

The Seattle Times wins top award for multimedia storytelling

The Seattle Times wins top award for multimedia storytelling

Our Sea Change series received a prestigious 2015 DuPont-Columbia award for showcasing the power of storytelling on the Web. Experience the report here.