Health and Hygiene Benefits for Thermostatic Showers12 May 2015
There’s a host of domestic foibles and plumbing-related issues that require humbling when you take a shower. An upstairs toilet flushes and the cone of temperate water stutters. Someone in the kitchen decides now is a good moment to wash the dishes, resulting in the shower water taking on an arctic chill. Situations like these are common and able-bodied bathers can quickly adjust. Unfortunately, in the case of folk with ailments that affect fine motor control, this act is harder to accomplish. Mixer settings can’t be regulated with a casual twist of a manually-operated valve, which is why the advent of the thermostatic shower valve is such a welcome addition, one that fits well within care homes and the residence of a proud, independent older person.
A thermostatic shower incorporates a specialized mechanism that swaps out the manual controls of the shower in favour of an automated system. The manual mixer valve is gone, replaced by anti-scald technology where the flow and temperature controls are separated. This format benefits arthritic fingers and joints by placing mastery of every aspect of a perfectly controlled bathing experience within fingertip control. Better than that, with the manual control limitation removed, temperature and flow management can take on any form, thus focusing on the method of operation rather than the mechanics. In other words, a stylish design may operate on a simple slider mechanism or a touch-sensitive and waterproof membrane. This design ethic also benefits confused and aged minds by simplifying the mixing equation. There’s no need for fine adjustments of two valves, the blending of cold water and hot water. Instead, the thermostatic control model needs only a single dial to precisely control the temperature. The same operational model, of course, applies to flow mastery, leading to thermostatic shower models that use one control for temperature and one for flow.
The bather-centric system adopted by a hydrostatic installation is also far more flexible than standard manual mixer products. There’s the option to address the hazardous scenarios associated with the elderly and the disabled. For example, a maximum bathing temperature is typically attached to the valve, thus distinguishing the gear as an ideal fit for those who have slight to significant movement issues. The automation feature also extends to cover those domestic problems mentioned at the beginning of the article, the dish washing spells and toilet flushes that an arthritic hand can’t react to fast enough. This is done by incorporating a feedback mechanism into the stream, a component that keeps the shower temperature constant despite those domestic plumbing changes that are encountered in every home.
High-end thermostatic showers now offer mechanical and electrical water management features, adaptable controls that compare favourably with the likes of power steering systems as used in hard to maneuver vehicles, though instead of a complex series of hydraulics, a thermostatic valve uses an elegant array of foolproof thermostatically controlled components. Of course, there’s no substitute for close monitoring. Always offer an aged bather aid if the showering experience overwhelms his or her ability level.
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