Shower Heads

Primary Parts of A Shower and How They Work



You might think this is unnecessary if you aren’t interested in plumbing and the related services, but soon enough, you’ll appreciate this piece. Showers are essential in making bathing fun, relaxing and convenient. Imagine this, jumping into the shower only to find out it’s not working and your plumber is hours away for a repair. Knowing the different parts of a shower might help you use a quick solution to avoid missing that morning clean-up.

Indeed, plumbers come in handy in sorting our water issues, including repairing shower parts. Nonetheless, it wouldn’t hurt to be able to sort some things out by yourself. Not to worry, we have ensured that this learning piece is as simple as possible. Eventually, you never know, you might gain interest in becoming a plumber and a good one for that matter.

1. Shower Head

The shower-head is the most revered component of all the parts of a shower since it does the primary job of spraying you with water. Ideally, before turning on the shower, you will notice that there are small holes underneath the head. These holes are necessary for releasing the water uniformly across the shower-head, which we enjoy as a controlled waterfall. Adding to the innovation of showers, you can also control the strength and speed of the water passing through the tiny shower-head holes.

Before you even notice the tiny holes, a standard shower head is made of brass, chrome, copper or rubber. The choice of the head material is relative to the ability to be compatible with water at different temperatures. In order to spray water, a shower-head is joined to water pipes with a steel hose. Also, a shower-head is made of two parts, namely the escutcheon and the arm.

The arm is the metal tube (conduit) that links the shower-head through the wall to the pipes, which are the source of water. On the other hand, the escutcheon is the part used to conceal the connection in the wall between the arm and the source pipes. This latter component is mainly for aesthetics and decoration, making the bathroom free of rough edges, making it look deluxe. Accordingly, the material used on these sub-parts will be similar to that used on the shower-head for uniformity.

Therefore, different shower-head models come in different shapes, such as square or circular, with some shower-heads having LED lighting. It all depends on the user’s/buyer’s preference. Also, the tiny spray holes underneath the head come in different shapes. Bottom line, the functionality is the same regardless of the design, connection to a supply line and regulated spraying.

2. Shower Valve

Working backward, next, we have the second integral shower part, the shower valve. This component controls or regulates water flow from the spraying mechanism (shower-head, hand sprayer or spout). In addition, due to the control of water pressure, this part is responsible for controlling the shower water temperature. As a result, of the parts of a shower, the valve is the genius behind adjustable water speed or pressure and temperature.

Typically, there are two kinds of shower valves: pressure-balancing valves and thermostatic valves. The pressure balancing shower valves ensure that the water pressure doesn’t decline despite multiple functions around the same water supply line. For instance, such valves ensure the shower water pressure is constant despite an open tap in the same supply line. Additionally, the pressure-balancing shower valves prevent excess heating of water via the same pressure control function.

On the other hand, showers use the thermostatic shower valves, which come with two controls. First, these valves regulate the water pressure and ensure its constant despite multiple draws from the same supply line. Secondly, these valves are responsible for adjusting the water temperature. Notably, these latter valves are more expensive and more complex in their functionality.

3. Shower Pan

Another noticeable component in the shower system is the shower pan. Ideally, this is the part below the shower-head in which you stand while taking a shower. This part is raised above the floor as a collection point for the water coming out from the head.

Notably, the pan as the shower floor should never leak. Any leaks from the shower pan might cause the floor to rust. In line with this logic, the shower pan is made from materials that cannot rust, such as Chloraloy, a rubber film bound to concrete with PVC cement for a concrete appearance. The design of this pan layer is meant to prevent any leakages. In case any leaks occur, you should call in a plumber for repair as soon as possible.

Image Credit: ELEGANT

4. Supply Pipe

This is the conduit that supplies water to the shower system. This line is responsible for supplying hot and cold water to the shower-head. In essence, the water supply line is composed of two systems. First, there is the pressurized piping system that delivers either hot or cold water during a bath. Secondly, there is the drain piping system that channels the dirty used water through the drain.

Notably, the water supply piping system is by standard smaller than the draining piping system. In all cases, any water supply pipe should be galvanized against rust. Previously, copper pipes were popular in such installations, but sediments in the drain pipe and dropping water levels cause them to decay. Alternatively, PEX pipes and CPVC plastic are gaining popularity as substitutes for galvanized copper conduits due to their durability, affordability and ease of installation.

5. Shower Strainer/Shower Drain

The drainage is as important as the shower-head. By now, we all know the drainage system serves the function of removing the dirty used water. As such, the drainage is made up of different parts that also count as parts of a shower. Below are the different parts of a shower strainer or drain:

  • Drain Cover: This is the starting point and top part of the drainage on your floor. It’s usually made of metal or plastic, and it’s located at the heart of the shower pan or tub. This part applies a sloping gradient to allow for water to drain easily with no retention in the pan or tub. Drain covers are usually made of plastic or galvanized metal.
  • Drain tailpiece: This is the drainage part that seals the draining pipe at the pan’s bottom hole. The tailpiece is also made from rust-resistant plastic or chromed brass. Additionally, its also water-tight to avoid leaks that may lead to rust.
  • Drain P-trap: This component is responsible for protecting your bathroom against sewage gases. Typically, the drainage directs wastewater to a system that collects other wastewater. Therefore, this part blocks any gases from this system. Since this part traps any remaining water, you can open it and empty any dirt on it in case your drain gets blocked. (Knowing about this part will help you unblock your drainage at no cost since you won’t require a plumber)
  • Trap arm: This part allows for maximum draining of wastewater thanks to its downward slope. To facilitate this function, the trap arm is located at the tail-end of the P-trap.
  • Waste Outlet Pipe: This secondary pipe connects to the trap arm to carry waste from other home drains. This part connects to different waste outlets but plays a significant role in making the shower system significant.

6. Shower Cartridge

A shower cartridge plays the role of regulating the water flow and, subsequently, the water temperature. It moves back and forth when the shower trigger is pulled. As a result, it’s responsible for opening the cold and hot water nozzle.

7. Shut-Off Valves

Typical of any valve, the shut-off valves control the flow of water into the pipes feeding the shower. When open water flows, and when closed, water freely flows. Valves and cartridges are the parts of the shower that work on the inside.

8. Shower Hose

A shower hose is part of the water supply pipes. This component connects the tub to the shower-head. For convenience, a hose can be stretched to regulate water flow.

Frequently Asked Questions on Shower Parts?

1. What is the knob in a shower called?

Some shower models come with shower diverter that redirects water from the tub faucet to the spraying head. On this knob, there is a pin that you can use to alternate between the bottom cold faucet and the hot bathtub.

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