Have you ever wondered how a shower mixer tap is constructed and works? Do you know the difference between a single-lever tap, a double-handle mixer and a mixer tap with a thermostat? We explain all here.
Generally speaking, mixer taps are technical devices that use valve systems to mix liquids. This might sound complicated. However, you use mixer taps several times a day in your bathroom: at the washbasin, in the bath or shower.
A mixer tap for a shower, bath or washbasin allows you to mix hot and cold water until the flow reaches the perfect temperature. You therefore decide whether the water flow is cold, warm or hot. A mixer tap also allows you to adjust the volume of the water from the tap or shower head and the power of the flow.
Mixer taps come in different designs. The most common version is the single-lever tap, or single-lever mixer. This tap has a lever that allows you to adjust the water temperature and volume with one hand.
Another option is the two-handle mixer, which is popular mainly for vintage style kitchens and bathrooms. These mixer taps are rarely built in. They have two individual rotating handles that are used to adjust the warm and cold water separately.
One modern version is a thermostat mixer tap. This keeps the water at a constant temperature while bathing or showering. A shower mixer tap with a thermostat has a controller that allows you to set the water temperature in advance.
We have already mentioned the first advantage: Mixer taps make it possible to adjust both the water flow and temperature with one hand.
A modern thermostat shower mixer will also help you reduce your heating costs. This is because you use only as much warm water as you really need. The thermostat stops any significantly hotter water coming out of the shower.
Modern thermostat mixers for showers also have a scald protection function, which prevents the water from heating up beyond a specified upper temperature. This feature eliminates the risk of accidental scalding.
Shower mixer taps are often in daily use. Sooner or later, this regular usage and the effects of hard water will result in wear or even a fault. When cold or warm water no longer flow in sufficient quantity from the tap, it is high time to act.
With good practical skills, it is possible to replace or repair a faulty mixer tap yourself. However, this is not recommended, as the mixer tap will need to be completely unscrewed to check for faults and defects. It is best to entrust this work to a professional.
If you decide to check and replace the shower mixer yourself, you have the following options: If a leaking seal is causing the problem, you simply need to replace the old sealing rings in the water inlets with new ones. On the other hand, if calcification is the issue, you will need to soak the tap for a few hours in a decalcifying liquid, for example, citric acid, vinegar essence or a descaling product from a shop, and then fit it again. If these two steps do not resolve the problem, probably the only option is a new mixer tap.
The cost of a new shower mixer tap depends on the selected model. From a simple single-lever mixer for around 20 euros, the price can rise to over 100 euros for a high-quality tap with a thermostat.
To ensure the longest possible lifespan for a shower fitting, it is important to choose a high-quality mixer for your shower. In many cases faults are caused by the effects of hard water. Not even the best mixer taps can withstand this. If you live in an area with very hard water, it is a good idea to consider installing a water softening unit as well.
A high-quality mixer tap is now a standard component of a bath or shower. A thermostat tap will keep the water at a constant temperature while showering, with no variations upwards or downwards. If possible, to ensure perfect operation, it is best to entrust a professional with the task of replacing a shower mixer tap. You can find the perfect items for your home in Villeroy & Boch’s extensive selection of shower fittings and accessories.