When were shower control valves first required by code to be pressure balanced and temperature limiting (single handle)?
Thursday, December 5, 2019
The requirement for a pressure balanced and temperature limiting shower control valve (single handle, anti-scald) was instituted in the first edition (2000) of the International Residential Code, and earlier in the 1997 edition of the Universal Plumbing Code (UPC). It was also in the first edition (2002) of the Residential Editon of the Florida Building Code (FBC P2708.4). The maximum temperature setting is 120º F, and applies to both showers and tub/shower combinations.
This is how the FBC states it: “individual shower and tub/shower combination valves shall be equipped with control valves of the pressure-balance, thermostatic-mixing or combination pressure-balance/thermostatic-mixing valve types with a high limit stop in accordance with ASSE 1016/ASMEA112.1016/CSA B125.16. The high limit stop shall be set to limit the water temperature to not greater than 120°F (49°C). In-line thermostatic valves shall not be used for compliance with this section."
While anti-scald valves are one safety precaution to avoid hot water burns in the shower, another strategy is to set your water heater thermostat to 120º or 130º F (the “low” to “medium” setting); so that the hot water coming out of any faucet in the house will not quickly scald bare skin—even at straight hot.
To learn about in-thermostatic valves, see our blog post What is the purpose of a thermostatic mixing valve above a water heater?
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