Plumbing Question: What Is a Mixing Valve?

Monday, October 28th, 2013

You use running water in your home every day. When you reach for the knobs or handle that controls the flow of water into a sink, shower, or bathtub, you have the option to get cold or hot water, or a blend of both. You probably know the exact combination of the two that’s the most pleasant for you. But did you know that there’s a hidden mechanism in your plumbing to make certain that you don’t get an unpleasant surprise of extremely hot water every time you turn on a faucet? It’s called the mixing valve, and without it your daily supply of water could become dangerous.

The term “mixing valve” has the general application of meaning any device in plumbing that controls the mix of hot and cold water to provide a comfortable temperature. In most cases, a mixing valve isn’t designed simply to provide comfort; it serves as a safety mechanism that will keep you from accidental scalding due to high temperatures.

The danger of scalding water from your plumbing exists because water in a home needs to be stored at high temperatures to prevent bacterial growth. Without the regulation of a mixing valve, this water might flow from your showerhead, bath faucet, or sink and cause you injury. A central thermostatic mixing valve works automatically to prevent this from occurring. The valve’s thermostat is preset so that it will close a plunger and stop the supply of hot water if the cold water pressure experiences a sudden drop. As long as the mixing valve is working correctly, you won’t have to fear getting extremely hot water when you turn a faucet handle.

Central mixing valves operate without the user having to do anything. There are some manual mixing valves that can be installed in kitchens and bathrooms. However, these do not provide the same guarantee against very hot water that a central mixing valve does, so your home should still have a thermostatic mixing valve installed to prevent accidental scalding.

Because a mixing valve is important for protecting you and your family—whether showering, cleaning dishes, or washing your hands—you need to take good care of your plumbing. Modern Plumbing Industries, Inc. (MPI) offers excellent maintenance plans; an annual visit from one of our experts in plumbing in Orlando, FL will alleviate your worries. Contact us today.

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