Calgary Plumbing: How to carry out the Installation of a Shower Faucet

In this particular article, I will take you through the process of installation of a shower faucet. To put it briefly, few sections of a copper pipe will be connected to the shower valve and the whole assembly will then be connected with the supply plumbing, prior to concealing of the pipes and installation of the drywall. The shower faucet in consideration is a Moen Posi- Temp.

Installation of a fresh shower faucet is actually a much less difficult task than it may actually seem, especially in case of a scenario where in it is being done as a part of a remodeling project involving the complete bathroom. However, there are still some very important dimensions which you must keep in mind and strictly observe in order to make sure that the faucet works as per expectations. The instructions detailed in this article will inform you about some of these critical issues. For instance,
it is important that the valve must never protrude out from the drywall else it may almost become impossible for the faucet’s cover plate to get properly sealed against the wall.

Keeping in mind the valve’s height is another important aspect. In my case, I made it a point that the faucet’s center was placed around 48 inches above the level of floor.

Start with the valve installation and then work backwards

After taking few measurements, I connected together three different sections of 0.5 inches copper pipe to the body of the valve. Every section of the pipe features a male threaded adapter which was soldered to its corresponding end. I ensured that all the male threads were properly coated in the pipe thread compound (also commonly referred to as pipe dope) prior to screwing them together.

All these connections make it necessary that the pipe wrench holds the body of the valve and the use of a large adjustable wrench for turning the male threaded adapter. I would like to specifically mention here that I initially purchased the wrong faucet in this case. My intention was to buy a faucet that had solder connections. Any given day I would have opted to return it to the shop I had bought it from, but in this scenario as my purchase was done almost at the other end of the state, which was a good three
hour drive away, I preferred to make use of a shower faucet instead which had soldered connections.

This was done because the threaded connections are often difficult to be kept watertight and even if a small drip is left concealed inside the cavity of a wall, it can result in considerable damage/s.

I made it a point to properly wipe off all excess ‘thread compound,’ else the resulting goo would have found its way into all places in all the directions. I must mention that it requires a considerable amount of torque to successfully prevent such type of connections from succumbing to leakages. One of the most important challenges that all beginners face is getting
familiar with the extent to which such threaded connections must be tightened. Connections that are meant to be hidden right behind a drywall are not in the most ideal locations to practice such tasks.

Tightening up the threaded pipe

You must keep in mind that threaded pipe fittings need to be extremely tight in order to seal them properly. All my plumbing sources have told me that as per the official procedure, you must first tighten the pipe fitting by your own hands and only then make use of a wrench for turning the fitting an additional one or two turns. I must re-emphasize here that you must turn the pipe fitting with wrench at least once and a maximum of two times after tightening it with bare hands.

This particular Moen-Posi Temp shower valve that I had purchased is exactly identical to their commonly available tub faucet valve, apart from the fact that in this case the bottom port (that instead would have got connected with the tub spout) uses a brass plug for shutting it off.

Tub Trivia:

For those highly inquisitive ones among you all, especially the ones who are always interested in getting behind things and understanding their workings, the most interesting aspect about all of the modern tub baths is the manner in which the water gets diverted into the shower head. The only thing you’ll be required to do is blocking the water flow at the point of tub spout and you will notice the water getting forced up into shower riser pipe and thereafter out through the nozzle. This can also be done easily by covering up the spout by your bare hand/s or with the use of a washcloth at the time when water is already running into the bath tub.

Some old types of tub faucets make use of a rotating lever for the purpose of directing the water upwards. However, I still have my doubts whether these kinds really do work in the same manner as described above.

The image that you see on the left shows a drop eared elbow. It features ears which are meant for the purpose of mounting on to a solid structure like some piece of wood block. Its threaded end normally accepts any standard type of L-shaped shower tube that is installed after completion of the wall surfaces.

I made a temporary attachment of this drop eared elbow onto a 2 x 4 block of wood that was installed in between studs. Thereafter I was easily able to take the measurements of the riser pipe length needed for connecting to the faucet.

After I took the measurement of the length, I soldered both the drop eared elbow and the riser pipe together. The drop eared elbow will get connected with the short riser pipe which was attached to the body of the valve, as described in the step
number one.

At this point, the riser pipe’s two sections were soldered together.

If there was a need, I could have easily created the shower riser pipe out of just one piece, however it would have increased the probability of the drop eared elbow not getting in perfect alignment with the body of the valve. Somehow, it just seemed that it was much easier to obtain the perfect alignment by simply mounting the drop eared elbow onto the wooden support, and thereafter making the last connection in pipe length’s middle portion, at a safe distance from any type of combustible material.

Jumping a little ahead:

As you can see in the image on the right, the supply lines and the valve body have been connected together properly.

Please take note of the fact and observe how I made use of a 45° elbow and a 90° elbow to achieve the required pipe alignment (rather than using two separate 90° elbows). As a result, this particular arrangement will have comparatively less pressure loss.

Furthermore, as is evident in the image on the left, the supply pipes are made to drop down around two feet out from the bottom. From this point onwards, they will get connected to the fresh supply lines which will be soon installed underneath the floor.

The image that you see on the right is of the room below and me looking straight upwards. Let me tell you for the information’s sake that have an almost sore neck merely by a short glance at this picture!

As you can see in the image, there is a small pipe which is coming out through the floor. This is the hot water pipe which is branching into the shower. The large size pipe (of around 3/4 inch diameter) is the newly installed supply line meant for
the two bathrooms on the second floor.

Please take note of the heat shields created from sheet metal, meant to provide protection to the surroundings from the great amount of heat generated by the torch. Another important point that must be taken into consideration is that the heavier the gauge is, the better it will be.

Once all the fresh supply pipes were in their place, we carried out a test for leakages by applying water pressure into the whole system. This is a very significant step that must be taken prior to concealing the pipes and installation of the drywall.

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Image: shower doctor

Keywords: Calgary plumbing, Shower faucet, pipes, soldered, plumbers, shower faucet installation

Written by chris