Tired of using Teflon tape for pipe threads when connecting a new mixing valve in your client’s recently renovated shower? Wanting to try something other than your typical soldering? SharkBite has come out with their own line of push-connect thermostatic mixing valves. This could be a good alternative for those of you who need a change of pace (or connection style).
A question rolled into my Live Chat inbox a couple of days ago with this inquiry: Under my bathroom sink there is a Watts valve under part number LFMMVM1. What does this do and how can I control it? We aren’t discussing sweat mixing valves in great detail for this article, but this gentleman’s question opens up a great preliminary discussion about why a mixing valve is even needed. In short, thermostatic mixing valves balance and limit mixed hot water to a desired temperature. These products aim to protect users at the fixtures from both scalding and thermal shock. Additional uses include controlling the supply source to maintain domestic hot water temperatures and limiting a boiler from exceeding the maximum temperature on a radiant heat system.
The mixing valves we’re focused on today adorn a unique connection type. Push-connect, push-fit, and SharkBite have all come to mean, relatively, the same term: push the fitting or valve onto the piping and you’re done! Many installers like the ease of use and the ability to change their designs by using SharkBite fittings. Perhaps their mixing valves will be the next big thing.
Push-connect mixing valves look to have come out a couple years ago, making them the newest child to the mixing valve family. They hold a safe temperature of 120° Fahrenheit (or 49° Celsius). PEX, copper, CPVC, PE-RT, and HDPE pipe are compatible with this style of mixing valves. SharkBite’s mixing valves come with their own adjuster tool to prevent tampering with the valve setting. This type of mixing valve is meant to require little physical strength and no tools. Should the placement of the mixing valve need to be moved, SharkBite sells a disconnect clip to disengage the teeth on the push-connect outlets. (That is where physical strength comes into play!)
The warranty on a SharkBite mixing valve is covered for a period of twenty-four months from date of manufacture. It is important to have a certified technician work on the installation to ensure the warranty doesn’t become voided!
While it is a national code for residential water systems, under normal conditions, to be limited to 80 PSI, one concern installers and homeowners alike may have is how the push-connect style mixing valves will handle pressure. It is a common belief that SharkBite fittings cannot handle high levels of pressure or else they will pop off. There are plenty of YouTube videos to demonstrate SharkBite caps stopping a leak at full pressure. Surprisingly, if you compare a ½” SharkBite Heatguard Thermostatic Mixing Valve and a ½” Watts LFMMVM1-US Lead Free Sweat Mixing Valve, their PSI ratings are similar: SharkBite comes out to 145 PSI whereas the Watts comes out at 150 PSI. Not bad, right?
Oftentimes, installers are looking for a solution to fit a mixing valve into already-tight spaces. SharkBite mixing valves accomplish this as the tubing connects directly into the outlets, as opposed to needing additional fittings (which take up room) or having to cram your hands and tools in an existing cove where the old mixing valve once lived.
If your bathroom or kitchen sink is in need of an update, contact a local installer to see if this style of mixing valve will work for your current system. Join the push-fit mixing valve revolution today!
SupplyHouse.com has you covered for all your push-fit mixing valve needs! Check out our full selection online, and contact our friendly customer support team if you need help finding the right part for the job!