In search of water savings? Think about thermostatic!


Thermostatic is a word that will probably evoke things for you, including the famous thermostatic valves mounted on the radiators, allowing to finely adjust the temperature of the room. Their notoriety has grown particularly thanks to the marketing of connected thermostatic valves, like at Tado or Netatmo for example, thus adding intelligence to its heating and real energy savings. But the thermostatic also concerns sanitary, and this is an area that is often ignored. However, it is also possible to make some savings here while gaining comfort.

To frequent many AirBnB rentals during my travels, whether in France or abroad, I am still very surprised to see the few homes equipped with thermostatic faucets, especially in the bathroom space, and more particularly the shower. Let the water flow while adjusting the hot water tap, then the cold water tap, and vice versa until the ideal temperature is reached. Well … until someone flushes the toilet, which makes us feel like burning in the shower … All of this seems to be a problem from another era. Yet, in reality, many homes are not yet equipped with mixers of this type.

I. What is a thermostatic mixing valve?

A traditional faucet consists of two handles: one for hot water, the other for cold water. The hot water alone is between 50 and 60 ° C, to limit the development of Legionella in the hot water tank (bacteria that proliferates in warm water and stagnant). It is therefore necessary to turn on the two knobs to add cold water, and manage the degree of opening of each to obtain the ideal temperature that one wishes to have to shower for example.

A thermostatic mixer also offers two controllers, but for a different use: one manages the flow of water, while the other manages the temperature. It is therefore sufficient to adjust the desired temperature, the mixer takes care to reach it alone: ​​this temperature is usually reached very quickly, which allows to save water (we avoid the 5 liters on average wasted while waiting for find the right temperature), and above all it remains stable, whatever the disturbances that may occur on the water network (pressure drop or rise in temperature for example). This is made possible thanks to a very special piece present in the mixer: the thermostatic cartridge.

Whether for heating or water, the principle is the same.

In this cartridge is a paste made of wax. By heating, it will expand and expand, pushing the piston, present as a metal rod. It is this movement that will allow to adjust the inflow of hot and cold water. Thanks to this principle, this room is autonomous and intelligent, it corrects itself the amount of hot water and cold water needed to obtain a stable temperature output. It is for this reason that the thermostatic mixing valve for the shower is particularly appreciated!

The thermostatic valve has three main advantages:

  • Comfort: our skin is very sensitive to temperature, it is a real comfort to take a shower at an ideal temperature and above all, stable.
  • Water savings: more water wasted waiting for the right temperature
  • Safety: there is no risk of burning in the shower when the toilet is flushed or the washing machine starts. A risk of less especially for children! This is a risk to which few people are sensitive, yet hot water accidents account for 15% of burns in children 0 to 5 years old. Their skin is less thick, and their reflexes less rapid than an adult, so that a second under water at 60 ° is enough to cause them a burn to the 3rd degree.

But if you find it most often in the bathroom, whether for the shower, the bath, or even the sink, thermostatic is not limited to this piece.

II. Where to install a thermostatic mixing valve?

As we have seen, the thermostatic mixer is particularly valuable in the bathroom, whether for the shower, bath, or even the sink.

But have you ever burned yourself by washing dishes, or waited for an eternity for the water to be at the right temperature to begin your household chores? Again, the thermostatic valve allows to quickly obtain the desired temperature, and stably. Again, whether for adults or children, you will gain comfort and safety.

For the kitchen, we find two different types of thermostatic faucets: the mixers, as for the bathroom, and the so-called "single-lever" models, that is to say with a single handle. Activating the latter from left to right adjusts the temperature, and from bottom to top to manage the pressure. The equipment is therefore more compact than dual control models, while remaining intuitive to use. If these single-order models can limit the maximum temperature, to avoid getting burned, it is more difficult to get the desired temperature to the degree. For this, only the mixer can meet the need. So models also exist for sinks.

III. How to choose a thermostatic valve?

The thermostatic mixing valve was long shunned because it represented a considerable extra cost. Admittedly, a thermostatic mixer is always more expensive than a traditional faucet, but the gap is only a few euros today. In return, you will save water, and you will gain comfort and safety.

However, preference should be given to a recognized brand, such as Delabie, Roca, Hansgrohe, Presto, etc. who master this field perfectly, and will be able to respect the NF standard by offering you a safe and durable product.

Even if it is an element normally present on all these valves, be sure to have a safety stop: it is a device blocking the maximum temperature at 38 ° C, which avoids to burn yourself. To climb higher, it will usually operate a small button while turning the temperature dial, too complicated handling for children, which ensures that they will not risk getting burned by putting the water too hot. An "anti-burn" system must also be present, which immediately cuts off hot water should the cold water supply be cut off for x reasons.

The rest will depend on the design and your tastes, many models are now available on the market for all decor possible.


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