Identifying Shower Valve Parts

Shower valve parts vary according to the type of shower valve you own. If you need to replace a shower valve or parts of a valve, you need to be able to identify the different parts of the valve.

Many Shower Choices

There are numerous types of shower valves, and sometimes homeowners and contractors will install the wrong type of valve for a particular application. If you can identify the basic parts of the shower valve, it will benefit you when you need to repair or replace a part. It will also help a plumbing supply store employee to provide you with the right item.

Shower head

The most basic and most easily identifiable part of the shower valve is the shower head. Water flows from the head in a spray. Although there are numerous varieties of shower heads, most fit onto a universal size of shower arm.

Shower Arm

The shower arm is the pipe that extends from the plumbing in the wall into the shower and attaches to a shower head. Sometimes the shower arm comes with a plumbing kit for a shower valve replacement. This is particularly true if you are switching from a chrome fixture to a brass, brushed nickel or other finish fixture.

Valve Backing or Cover Plate and Trim Cover

These items go behind the handle and serve as a decorative function in the shower. They also serve the functional purpose of hiding the plumbing hardware in the wall. Although the function of these parts is insignificant, the design element of the parts is important if you are interested in making the shower attractive.


These form the heart of the shower valve and are primary to indicating what type of hardware system you will find inside. There are three main types of valves.

Single function, pressure balanced valves are valves that have a single control for temperature only. They are particularly popular in hotels and maintain a balance between hot and cold water. As you turn the water pressure up, the water becomes warmer.

Dual function, pressure balanced valves have two controls. One control regulates the temperature while the other allows you to control the volume of water. Often you can set the temperature to remain constant at one level while leaving the adjustment of the water flow to each shower user.

Dual function, thermostatic valves keep the water temperature constant by measuring the temperature of the water and allowing the user to adjust the temperature independently of the volume of water. These valves maintain a precise water temperature regardless of the volume of water selected. They allow the user to control the water temperature by turning the handle while, at the same time, permit the user to control the water volume by pulling the handle in and out.

Being able to identify the parts of a shower valve and the different types of valves makes the repair and replacement of shower parts easier. It can also help when you are selecting a type of valve for a new shower or bathroom.