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How Hot Is too Hot? Why Use a Mixing Valve?

June 6, 2016 | Blog

When you think of the potential dangers of stepping into your shower, you may think only of slipping and falling on your way in or out. In truth, though, there is another real danger that is posed when using your shower or faucets throughout your home: scalding. You rely upon your water heater in order to heat a sufficient amount of water for bathing, doing the dishes, and laundry, etc. But how hot is too hot? You may think that you need only adjust your faucets or shower accordingly in order to eliminate the risk of scalding, but you’re wrong. Using a mixing valve is a much better way to ensure the safe use of hot water in your home. 

What Is a Mixing Valve?

A mixing valve, or thermostatic mixing valve, is a safety device designed to proportion hot and cold water in order to provide mixed water at a pre-determined temperature. Essentially, this prevents scalding by preventing the over-heating of water, even in the event that you call for water hotter than you actually need. There is a thermostatic element in a mixing valve, and this element expands and contracts in accordance to changes in the temperature and pressure of incoming hot and cold water.

A slide valve is moved as the thermostatic element expands and contracts, which proportions the amount of hot and cold water entering the valve properly. Should the cold water supply fail, the thermostat element would fully expand, moving the slide valve to shut down the hot water supply. This means that your water won’t suddenly run scalding hot. You may choose to use group control thermostatic mixing valves, which would regulate the temperature at all hot water outlets throughout your home, or individual point of use valves. While they are not required by law in CA, mixing valves can help you to avoid the same fate as those thousands of people suffering serious thermal shock or scalding injuries in their bathtubs, sinks, and showers each year.

If you have any questions or require any plumbing services in Fresno, CA, give the pros at Lee’s Air Conditioning, Heating and Building Performance a call.

Recommended reads: 3 Ways to Stay Cool in Fresno, When to Have Dryer Vents Cleaned, and Best Thermostat Setting for Summer Savings.

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