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Keep Comfortable with High-tech Shower Valves

Home appliances are smarter and more digitized than ever, so there's no reason that bath fixtures should be low-tech. The latest thermostatic, pressure- balancing fixtures are programmable within two degrees Fahrenheit. Try to adjust your old pull-on and push-off valve that closely! Newer shower valves provide an extra margin of comfort and safety, according to James Dulley in The Journal Newspapers.

Adjusting traditional fixtures can be hit or miss with lots of wasted time and water just trying to achieve the right temperature. All that frustration contributes to higher water and utility bills. The new valves balance hot and cold water to achieve the perfect temperature and flow.

That kind of precision is important in preventing injury. More than 5,000 elderly people and children are scalded each year in bathroom incidents. Typically, someone slips or loses balance in the shower, and knocks or grabs onto the shower fixture for balance. In the process, the water gets turned on to full-blasting hot. Average senior citizens can get burned even under normal circumstances because they lack temperature sensitivity. The safe solution is to install a temperature-balancing shower head, or a scald protector onto your existing head. Scald protectors cost only about $15.

But if you're in the market for it, the new valves really offer comfort and safety. Basically, they are engineered to maintain a constant temperature by balancing water pressure from the hot and cold sides, as well as controlling the mixture of hot and cold water. The most sophisticated models are completely electronic. You can program up to three different water temperatures. Mom, Dad or Junior pushes one of three buttons for just the right temperature. Some even have multiple spray units for a full-body shower. You can check the temperature via digital readout or analog dial. Other thermostatic valves offer separate flow and temperature controls. Once you set the temperature the first time, it will stay the same for every shower.