Author Topic: Multiple Shower Heads  (Read 24199 times)

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Offline phmade

  • Posts: 162
Multiple Shower Heads
« on: February 18, 2013, 08:54 PM »
I'm building a new shower and I'd like to have 2 shower heads in it.  Does anyone have any experience with this?  Do I need to run a 3/4" supply line from the water heater to the shower valve?  Do I need multiple shower valves and controls or can I just have one set of controls and "y" after the valve into two shower heads.  Any advice would be appreciated.  Thanks!

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Offline neilc

  • Posts: 2081
Re: Multiple Shower Heads
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2013, 09:13 PM »
I see a lot of double shower heads in hotels - coming off of a 'Y' after coming through the wall over the tub. 

My master bath shower at home has two heads fed from two different lines on opposite walls - one with a handheld release, the other with a standard head.

I think you can do it either way depending on the condition of the shower plumbing and amount of money / effort you want to put into it!

neil

Offline Sal LiVecchi

  • Posts: 1375
Re: Multiple Shower Heads
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2013, 09:15 PM »
I know they make mixing valve ( 4 way ) for this application. I would check with a plumbing supply house what they would suggest for this purpose.

Sal

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Offline rrmccabe

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Re: Multiple Shower Heads
« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2013, 09:15 PM »
You really don't need any piping from the water heater. Shower heads don't use huge amounts of water by nature.

We have two shower heads in our master shower. Actually, we have a traditional shower head, rain head coming out of the ceiling and then two body sprays.

Faucet manufactures sell diverter valves and in our case we have a "6 way" valve.  Basically the water exits the traditional hot/cold valve and enters the 6 way.  The six way allows us to choose any device we want or mix any two. So we have six positions in ours.

You have the option of using a diverter like above or just running a  TEE to both heads. You also have the option to run a separate hot/cold valve to each one.  The upside with two valves is you can have individual temps for each shower head. The downside is you have to turn on and set temps for two.

The diverter valve is going to be the best solution. Only turn on and set the temps once. Then use a diverter to turn on the left shower head, right shower head or both.

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Offline phmade

  • Posts: 162
Re: Multiple Shower Heads
« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2013, 09:22 PM »
Thanks for the quick replies!  This is an old house and the plumbing has been added onto many times over the years.  I think my main concern is the supply from the Water Heater is only 1/2" copper.  I guess I'll swing by a plumbing supply house tomorrow and get their advice; I was at the Big Box stores and they didn't have anyone knowledgeable enough to answer my questions...

Thanks again. 

Offline rrmccabe

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Re: Multiple Shower Heads
« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2013, 09:24 PM »
Nothing wrong with 1/2 copper.  Entire houses are fed with 3/4 from the street. You cant expect larger than 1/2" inside the house.

If you have to update piping you might consider PEX as a replacement. Be a lot easier to run in an existing house.
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Offline copcarcollector

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Re: Multiple Shower Heads
« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2013, 10:14 PM »
When I remodeled my master bath, I added several "water features" in the shower. There is a main temperature control valve (thermostatic valve). Then there are on/off valves for each item: overhead rain head, handheld sprayer and body sprays. The thermostatic valve had several "out" lines, well check the picture and maybe it will be more clear. I agree on the PEX, it is awesome stuff and beats having to solder all those joints for sure:








Below is an almost finished shot that might help as well:

« Last Edit: February 18, 2013, 10:18 PM by copcarcollector »

Offline tjbnwi

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Re: Multiple Shower Heads
« Reply #7 on: February 18, 2013, 10:18 PM »
You may need to increase the drain size. Additional flow to means more to remove.

Tom

Offline Holzhacker

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Re: Multiple Shower Heads
« Reply #8 on: February 18, 2013, 10:22 PM »
This comes down to money so let me address a few points. I deal with this on a regular basis.
- How much do you want to spend? You can go to the big box stores and buy various components relatively cheap and make them work together. It won't be the greatest set-up but it will work.
- If you want multiple heads, go Grohe or similar. Grohe provides good value at the price compared with some of the other high end stuff. It won't fail, you'll be happy and there are tons of options.
- Forget the body jets, nice buy overrated and only worthwhile if you have real good pressure
- Consider a rain head (ceiling head) and shower bar set-up this is a very nice combo; you could also go rain head and standard wall head combo as well. If this is a bigger shower with any type of bench the bar with head on hose is much nicer; you'll need a volume controller - 3 way minimum and a regulator (temperature valve) Grohe does make a single temp/volume body but you are better off with separate controllers
- If money isn't an issue you could go with one of the prefab Grohe multi-head wall units, very very nice at Festool + prices, if you know what I mean  [dead horse]
- If you only have 1/2" at your HWT, especially if its old galvanized I would suggest factoring in some new piping to upgrade to 3/4"
- You can get by with 1/2" but remember, if its old galvanized there hasn't been 1/2" clearance on the inside for decades
- Don't let anyone talk you into 3/4" valve ports, 1/2" valve ports are fine, the 3/4" ports only really make a difference in a pumped system or new, nice piping
- If you are actually in the City, PEX is NOT allowed. Only copper or galvanized for supply piping
- Depending on the age of the house you could have a 1/2" lead main but that is rare and only in certain neighborhoods. My guess is you have a 3/4" lead main (the most common) possibly a 1" depending on location. 1/2" to/from the tank means someone cheaped out at some point. Once again, I strongly suggest you upgrade a bit
- These are my two primary suppliers Remodelers Supply on Pulaski and Community Home Supply on Lincoln; I've also got a few others that may be helpful depending on your criteria. Give me a call or email and I'll give you some more info.
- Oh, and just in case you don't know any better, please don't put in one of those stupid, designed to fail tile shower bases unless you spend the money on Schluter or Noble products.
And yes once again, we don't allow no stinkin' plastic pipe in this town.
Markus
"The Code is not a ceiling to reach but a floor to work up from"

Offline rrmccabe

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Re: Multiple Shower Heads
« Reply #9 on: February 19, 2013, 07:58 AM »
Sounds like Markus has been there done that.

I agree with most of what he says including the comments about body jets. We only use ours a half dozen times a year so they don't get a lot of use. I would probably do it again even though they get minimal use because they are super nice when I want them. We have great pressure so if I have an achy back they work great.

Rain heads are a must in my opinion if you are starting from scratch !  We have the Grohe brand rain head he mentioned and are very pleased.

I am just not sure I would go with anything really super unique like those wall panels. Just for repair reasons. I like the fact we used all Delta stuff that has off the shelf available parts.

Also agree on the pan comment. LOL.    We went with a complete Schluter Kerdi system  and very impressed.  Not cheap but neither is replacing the ceiling in our kitchen if the shower leaks.

Attached is photo of the layout.
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Offline Navy8er

  • Posts: 11
Re: Multiple Shower Heads
« Reply #10 on: February 19, 2013, 04:11 PM »
When I constructed our double shower I utilized two sets of controls, supplied independantly from a manifold.  1/2" Pex was adequate for the needs here, but from what you are looking at I personally would step it up to 3/4" to the mixer valve.  If you have a long run from your water heater to the shower it will take significantly longer to drain that 3/4 line of cold water than a 1/2'' line.... just something else to consider.  Also.... I second the importance of Schluter....wonderful product!

Nate

« Last Edit: February 19, 2013, 04:14 PM by Navy8er »

Offline Tom Bellemare

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Re: Multiple Shower Heads
« Reply #11 on: February 19, 2013, 04:58 PM »
Quote
And yes once again, we don't allow no stinkin' plastic pipe in this town.


What's wrong with Pex, Marcus?


Tom
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Tool Home LLC
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Offline tjbnwi

  • Posts: 4862
  • Cedar Tucky Indiana
Re: Multiple Shower Heads
« Reply #12 on: February 19, 2013, 05:21 PM »
Tom, pex is not allowed in Chicago and most suburbs by code. It has only been about 5 years since they've allowed PVC drains and vents in some cases. We are also required to use conduit for electrical systems.

Tom

Offline Tom Bellemare

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Re: Multiple Shower Heads
« Reply #13 on: February 19, 2013, 05:30 PM »
Wow!
Tom Bellemare
Customer Svc
Tool Home LLC
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512-428-9140

Offline woodie

  • Posts: 314
Re: Multiple Shower Heads
« Reply #14 on: February 19, 2013, 05:48 PM »
I'm in the middle of a bathroom remodel. I'll have a rain shower head with a bar-mounted handheld sprayer. Mine is a tub/shower so I also have a tub spout. I'm using Hansgrohe fixtures.  Their iBox (mix valve rough-in) is setup for 3/4" lines as are their volume controls.  Hansgrohe offers diverters as well but the thermostatic mix valve I'm using doesn't have volume control, so I'm using 3 separate volume controls (rain shower, handheld, and tub). I'm using 3/4" AquaPEX to the mix station and 3/4" to each of the volume controls. The handheld takes 1/2" so I have a 3/4"NPT to 1/2 PEX fitting on one volume control.

The old shower (single fixture) had 1/2" copper lines but I always seemed to not have enough water (volume). This was more than likely due to a crappy mix valve but I decided to change out to 3/4" lines just to be sure. Switching to PEX helped me eliminate close to a dozen 90 degree elbows too so that will help.


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Offline CarolinaNomad

  • Posts: 305
Re: Multiple Shower Heads
« Reply #15 on: February 19, 2013, 05:49 PM »
One thing no one has mentioned, the pressure coming into the house.  If you have the ability to increase the pressure by limiting the effect of the Reduced Pressure Backflow Preventor just after the meter, you should be fine with a 1/2".  If not,  another good reason to go with 3/4" pipe, a 3/4"pipe has less friction than a 1/2" pipe which will help in reducing the amount of head loss (water Pressure) in the pipe.
Jeff
resides in NAINA

Offline stahlee

  • Posts: 19
Re: Multiple Shower Heads
« Reply #16 on: February 19, 2013, 06:30 PM »
When I constructed our double shower I utilized two sets of controls, supplied independantly from a manifold.  1/2" Pex was adequate for the needs here, but from what you are looking at I personally would step it up to 3/4" to the mixer valve.  If you have a long run from your water heater to the shower it will take significantly longer to drain that 3/4 line of cold water than a 1/2'' line.... just something else to consider.  Also.... I second the importance of Schluter....wonderful product!

Nate



I really like what you did here.  I'm going to be starting a bathroom remodel sometime later this year or early next.  I may throw a couple questions your way if you're up for some.

Offline tjbnwi

  • Posts: 4862
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Re: Multiple Shower Heads
« Reply #17 on: February 19, 2013, 07:09 PM »
Wow!

Honestly, it is just second nature to install any of the "hard parts". In addition to being a licensed Generel Contractor, I am also a licensed electrical and mechanical contractor, I'm so used to EMT, copper, black and galvanized that I have a hard time with NM (Romex) and PEX.

I'd love to get my plumbing license, but the states won't let me take the test.

Tom

Offline phmade

  • Posts: 162
Re: Multiple Shower Heads
« Reply #18 on: February 19, 2013, 10:40 PM »
Thanks again to everyone - another great example of the FOG's unmatched members!  I spoke with a plumbing supply house today and I'm going use a diverter that they sell to run to each shower head.  As far as the supply from the water heater, it's only 16'L and it's currently 1/2" PEX.  I'm going to try and use this but if I need to swap it out later it's all exposed in the basement so it wouldn't be too hard. 

Markus, I'm no longer in chicago - I need to update my profile.  I will take your advice on Grohe, I've used their faucets before and never had a problem.  I'm also using the Schluter system for my shower...
I'm now in Columbus, IN.  This is an old farmhouse with a well supply.  Luckily all of the supply piping is exposed in the basement so I can get to everything pretty easily.  Right now, it's PVC from the pressure tank to the water softener and then it switches to 3/4" galvanized all the way to the water heater.  I'm nearing the end of a complete remodel now and I can't wait to get moved in. 

Thanks again to everyone - I'll post some photos when I get finished - I think I'm still a few weeks from move - in.

Offline Dan C

  • Posts: 41
Re: Multiple Shower Heads
« Reply #19 on: February 19, 2013, 11:49 PM »
I doubt you will see any issues feeding with 1/2 pex.  I just finished a complete gut and remodel on my master bath, part of which was installing a combo of 6 body jets and shower heads.  The entire system is fed with 2 hot and 2 cold supply lines (1/2 inch each) and then from the controller to the heads on individual runs of 1/2 inch pex.  There is never an issue with flow, even with all 6 running at once.  I need to install a second water heater to keep up with the demand with all running at full volume!

I used Schluter for my shower, and it was my first shower.  I could not believe how easy it went in and waterproofed the shower.  I ended up using the Kerdi board for the walls rather than putting up the membrane, as the shower was a bit bigger then any of the kits that existed.  The cost was not that much more over the kit. 

I have never set so much tile in my life- about 350 sq/ft between the floor and the shower.  Nice to be done with that...  Much prefer to work with wood!


Offline Deansocial

  • Posts: 2114
Re: Multiple Shower Heads
« Reply #20 on: February 20, 2013, 02:30 AM »
Quote
And yes once again, we don't allow no stinkin' plastic pipe in this town.


What's wrong with Pex, Marcus?


Tom

What's right with it?

Offline Holzhacker

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Re: Multiple Shower Heads
« Reply #21 on: February 20, 2013, 08:48 AM »
We don't deal with PEX around here so I don't really know what's 'wrong' with it. I did actually help a guy on a job up in WI years ago where it is allowed and it seemed fine. Very easy to work with obviously.
A lot of our Codes aren't based on there being something wrong with a product. We tend to have fairly strict mechanical Codes. As tjbnwi mentioned we use conduit and hardpipe.
Our strong electrical Code goes back to fire issues.
Our strong Plumbing Code goes back to a very strong Plumbers Union and the idea that 'The Plumber protects the health of the nation'. That's a phrase every union trained plumper gets drilled into his head.
Unfortunately compliance out in the field tends to be fairly lacking. The stuff I write up on a regular basis is crazy.
Speaking of crazy oddly enough, I found a PVC drain line in a 35 story high-rise yesterday morning. Some idiot cut the main galvanized stack and spliced in PVC for a couple vanities.
"The Code is not a ceiling to reach but a floor to work up from"

Offline tjbnwi

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Re: Multiple Shower Heads
« Reply #22 on: February 20, 2013, 08:58 AM »
The issues I have read about with PEX have been fitting related. There appears to be a non-standard standard, where different brand fittings are not compatible with different brand tubing.

One advantage I've have heard of with PEX is if the water freezes, there is a less likely chance s of a split. The PEX will expand, then go back to its normal size once thawed.

PEX is great for underfloor heat retrofits.

Marcus,

Hopefully that was on the 35th floor, if not good thing the supports held.

Tom

Offline Tom Bellemare

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Re: Multiple Shower Heads
« Reply #23 on: February 20, 2013, 10:56 AM »
I'm not a plumber but I have done my share of plumbing and PEX is much easier/faster than any hard pipe method I've seen. As Tom pointed out, it doesn't fail if it freezes but rather just expands until thawed.

I think if one uses the right tools, techniques, and fittings, it is a great solution. Copper is good with the right installer but it takes longer and if it freezes, you're out of luck.


Tom
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Offline woodie

  • Posts: 314
Re: Multiple Shower Heads
« Reply #24 on: February 20, 2013, 12:25 PM »
The issues I have read about with PEX have been fitting related. There appears to be a non-standard standard, where different brand fittings are not compatible with different brand tubing.


As I understand it there are only two general types of fittings crimp/compression and expansion. Pex-a tubing works with both crimp and expansion fittings, although it's more expensive. Pex-b and c cannot be expanded so it only works with crimp/compression method. Pex-b is the more commonly used but it also works with the more widely available crimp fittings. Shark type fittings work on all the above but they're advised against in areas that are inaccessible.
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Offline Greg Powers

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Re: Multiple Shower Heads
« Reply #25 on: February 20, 2013, 07:52 PM »
When I remodeled my master bath, I added several "water features" in the shower. There is a main temperature control valve (thermostatic valve). Then there are on/off valves for each item: overhead rain head, handheld sprayer and body sprays. The thermostatic valve had several "out" lines, well check the picture and maybe it will be more clear. I agree on the PEX, it is awesome stuff and beats having to solder all those joints for sure:

Man you spent a lot of money on your sharkbite type connectors.  Why not use the Zurn connectors?
Greg Powers
Size:XL

Offline waterguy22

  • Posts: 6
Re: Multiple Shower Heads
« Reply #26 on: February 01, 2017, 02:29 PM »
'm now in Columbus, IN.  This is an old farmhouse with a well supply.  Luckily all of the supply piping is exposed in the basement so I can get to everything pretty easily.  Right now, it's PVC from the pressure tank to the water softener and then it switches to 3/4" galvanized all the way to the water heater.  I'm nearing the end of a complete remodel now and I can't wait to get moved in.