A bath shower mixer tap has proven to be very effective in turning a small bathroom with only a bath tub into one that is more versatile by transforming it into bath and shower with only a simple plumbing intervention. This will save you on labor, time, space and, most importantly, the cost of setting up a separate shower. This type of tap combines both hot and cold water with the quality of being able to switch between a handheld shower and a tap. It functions as such either by using a single lever that swivels from left to right to determine the water flow or separate hot and cold levers, while giving you an alternative to switch the flow to a handheld shower. Normally, it is bigger than a basin mixer tap considering that it is required to provide a substantially huge volume of water quickly to fill the tub.
While you might think that it is difficult to install a bath shower mixer tap, it is actually easy if you have some DIY knowledge, the right tools, a little plumbing skill and a bit of patience. Also, hiring a qualified professional to do the job for you can be quiet costly, so if you are a competent DIY-er, you can complete the task in no time, and save time and money. Here are the steps to take in installing a bath shower mixer tap:
1. Get the necessary materials for installation, including the shower mixer tap, tap head, shower mixer valve (make sure it is compatible with the water-heating system that is already installed in your home), tap spanners, basin spanner, rubber O-rings, rubber washers, standard rigid tap connector with valve, flexible tap connectors with service valve or built-in rubber washers, copper piping and a plumber’s putty. You might also need a hot air stripper to help remove taps that are welded to fitting by corrosion over time; release oil to help remove fittings; and a pump to get water flowing if the pressure is low.
2. To remove the old tap fitting, you should first switch off the water supply to the bathroom or the main water supply to your home. You might also need to keep your tap open for a while in order to allow excess water in your pipes to drain out. Then, remove necessary covers and panels to expose existing pipes.
3. Using the tap spanners, loosen the fittings of the tap at its base to remove the existing tap head and the back tap connector. Basically, you are disconnecting the tap from the existing water supply pipe, and at this point, you are now able to see the existing washers, which you should remove to be replaced or set aside to be re-installed with the new fitting. It is also possible that you need to apply release oil to the fittings according to the given directions.
4. Remove the bath waist by unscrewing it in the front and then loosening it at the back using a spanner.
5. Install the new tap fitting by aligning the shower tap mixer’s head in place, positioning the tap fixtures into the existing holes in the bath pipe. It is helpful to have somebody else to hold the tap fitting in place for you, while you screw the nuts over fitting. Make sure you place the rubber O-rings within the fitting before you place them down.
6. Replace the washers within the tap, which you should hand-tighten at this point in time. Take note that tightening with the use of a spanner is performed after ensuring that everything has been aligned and fitted.
7. Using the flexible tap connectors, re-connect the piping of the new tap fitting to the water supply, specifically to the rigid pipes with a nut and olive. You can also use the standard rigid tap connector with a valve and olive to perform this task.
8. Make sure that you connect the piping to the pre-existing service valve or install a service valve along the copper piping. Then, use the spanner to ensure all fittings are properly secured along the piping.
9. Switch the water supply back on to see if everything, such as the temperature, is functioning properly and if there are no leaks. It is also recommended to replace the connecting pipes with copper piping for an enhanced mixer flow rate.
More Useful Tips
Your new tap would be fitted with a lever or something similar that sends water along the shower hose to the shower head. The water pressure is entirely dependent on the supply, so you can consider fitting a booster pump if you are currently having relatively low pressure. Keep in mind that water pressure changes while your shower is operating would cause a change in temperature, so when someone is using a tap on your kitchen’s basin, there will be a drop in your shower’s water pressure, which can catch you with sudden increases or decreases in water temperature. In this matter, a pressure equalizing valve can come in handy. In some cases, mixer taps are fitted with thermostatic valves to address this problem.
If your home is already installed with a heating system, you can depend on it for heating your water, but when you buy a shower mixer valve, then make sure that it is compatible with your existing heating system. And while most central heating systems can heat up water, others do not. So, it is important to know the common types of hot water systems, such as the standard vented cylinder, which features low-pressure collected cold and hot water; the unvented cylinder, which features mains or high-pressure cold and stored warm water; and the combination boiler, which does not store cold or hot water.
By the time you receive your new tap, unpack it immediately to check for any damage or malfunction, as it is better to find them right away, rather than during installation.