Let's face it: at some point during the day, we all need a shower. It's just a fact of life. There's just a point during the day when we (and perhaps those around us) realize how much we need a shower. You're not limited, though, to how you shower.
Shower systems are an increasingly popular sight in bathrooms. They feature a sleek, all-in-one design, numerous showering options and a luxury that should appeal to everyone. This article will show you the many features in a Shower Panel, where it fits in a shower and how to install one (Hint: It's easier than you think).
Sure, the time-trusted handle and showerhead do the trick just fine. But with your hectic schedule and the demands in today's times, the question isn't why would you pamper yourself with a Shower Panel? The question is why wouldn't you?
1. What is a Shower Panel?
Shower Panels are the most unique plumbing and showering fixtures on the market. These wall-mounted fixtures simply replace the standard shower, but offer far more features than a simple showerhead.
Much of the appeal of Shower Panels is the fact they're contained in a single unit. And in this sense, Shower Panels are VERY different than, say, a custom shower system. They fit in a typical shower space nicely, thanks to their vertical and rectangle design. And in many cases, you can replace an existing shower head with a Shower Panel with few alterations and very little added plumbing. They're ideal for the homeowner who wants an upgrade and add a touch of comfort to a rental (like a college student).
Not a homeowner? No worries there. Many Shower Panels require just a limited amount of plumbing alteration from a standard shower system.
Because Shower Panels are still somewhat of a luxury item for most households, not every plumbing manufacturer has gotten into the game. The few manufacturers that do make them include:Back To Top
Much of the attraction of Shower Panels lies in the fact that there are so many features. It's not just a showerhead with a handle and (maybe) a handshower. In short, Shower Panels combine leading edge technology and sophisticated design with personal comfort and luxury for a showering experience you won't soon forget.
- Handle options - One, two or three handles
- Multiple bodysprays - Choose from fixtures with two, four, five, six or eight bodysprays
- Showerhead - Usually higher-end to give the user a relaxing and luxurious spray
- Handshower - Includes a lengthy hose that’s often stainless steel
- Built-in shelves are available on some fixtures, but not all
- Tub fillers are also offered on select models
If you're looking for a company that sets the bar for upscale shower experiences, consider Hansgrohe. The German-based plumbing manufacturer even offers fixtures with a halogen light. OK, is a light really necessary in a shower? Maybe, maybe not. But, since Hansgrohe tops the charts when it comes to Shower Panels, we don't argue.
Shower Panels are also offered in a modest amount of finish options. The most popular finish choices are chrome, nickel tones and silver tones. Other available finishes include black, brass tones, grey and, of course, white.
Water pressure is also something to consider. Since Shower Panel includes multiple water outlets, you'll need adequate water pressure. Manufacturers recommend at least 50 pounds per square inch (psi) for a system with three or more outlets. If your water pressure is lower than 45 psi, you'll need to install a water booster pump.
Other plumbing considerations include your supply lines to your shower as well as drains. Standard 1/2-inch supply lines will restrict your water volume, so installing 3/4-inch lines would be ideal. In addition, make sure your drains can handle the increase in water. Multiple water outlets can flow several gallons of water a minute each. So to make sure your shower won't turn into a pool, you'll need to install at least two two-inch drains or one three-inch drain.
Finally, most Shower Panels arrive ready for installation, completely pre-plumbed and equipped with fittings.Back To Top
OK, all of these amenities contained in a single Shower Panel. How big are these things, anyway? Not too big, it turns out, which only adds to their appeal.
Shower Panels can range in height from 43 to 65 inches. Hansgrohe's Axor Starck Shower Panel measures in at 84.5 inches tall, and this is on the taller side. Meanwhile, they can be quite narrow, as well, from just over six inches to 16.5 inches wide.Back To Top
4. Installing a Shower Panel
Ready to pamper yourself yet? If so, installing a Shower Panel is no more difficult than replacing your pre-existing shower arrangement with a new one. If you're starting fresh with no existing shower, consult a plumbing expert prior to plugging one into your shower wall.
Each Shower Panel is unique and installation could vary from model to model. Be sure to read the manufacturer-issued instructions thoroughly before installing your new Shower Panel. The following illustrates how to install Hansgrohe's ShowerPower, the top-selling Shower Panel on Build.com.
Preparing for installation
Install 1/2-inch IPS nipples for the hot and cold water supplies. The nipples should extend 5/8 of an inch beyond the wall. The hot water supply is on the left, and the cold on the right. Install the wall surface material. Ensure the wall is watertight before installing the panel by applying a waterproof sealant, such as Teflon tape or plumber's putty.
Install the elbows included with the panel and point them downwards. The elbow should extend no more than 1 1/4 inches from the surface of the wall. With a helper holding the panel in place, mark the positions of the screw holes and drill the holes with a 6 mm bit suitable for the wall surface.
Install the anchors, and seal the wall with waterproof sealant. While holding the panel against the wall, install the provided gray plastic insert and the top screw into the anchor.
Make your connections
Install the center and bottom screws and washers. Connect the supply hoses to the hot and cold supply elbows and the inlet ports on the valve. Turn the water on at the main. Push the diverter stem up to turn the water on to the panel, and check the connections for leaks. When the connections are watertight, push the diverter stem down to cut the water.
Just a few easy installments
Install the side seals on the front cover, trim off any excess and push the front cover into place. Install the diverter sleeve. Make sure the indexing mark on the thermostatic mixer sleeve is at the 12 o' clock position. Install the thermostatic mixer handle, and tighten the handle screw with a flat-head screwdriver.
To install the diverter handle, tighten the set screw with a 4 mm Allen wrench. Place a black rubber washer in one end of the handshower hose, and fasten the hose to the handshower outlet port. Place the screen washer in the other end of the hose, and screw this end of the hose to the handshower. Place the handshower in the holder.
Adjust the Slider
You can make the slider easier or harder to move by using a 2 1/2 mm Allen wrench. Turn the water on to the handshower, and turn the thermostatic mixer handle until the output water measures 100 degrees on a thermometer, then cut the water. Turning the handle clockwise makes the water cooler, counter-clockwise makes the water warmer.
Loosen the thermostatic mixer handle screw, and remove the handle. Replace the handle so that the safety stop override button is at the 12 o' clock position.Back To Top