Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 10-06-2016, 11:06 PM   #1
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Calgary
Posts: 208
Installation and operation of a Delta TempAssure shower faucet with an on-demand water

Like many other Berk owners with an on-demand water heater, I have been frustrated by problems getting a consistent shower temperature while dry camping. When dry camping, one needs to turn the shower off to lather up with soap, and then turn it back on to rinse. The on-off cycle doesn’t work well with an on-demand water heater, because it is hard to coordinate on-off cycle of the shower user with the on-off cycle of the water heater.

In the next posts I will describe how I installed a Delta Lahara TempAssure shower valve, a new Delta shower head. I just tested it while dry camping in freezing weather. In summary, I have found the following:

• Make sure you install a temperature controlled, rather than just a pressure balanced, shower valve. The right one is more expensive. The two are readily confused because both have a volume control and a temperature control. Moreover, the popular and low-priced Delta Lahara line has both kinds of faucets. The Delta Lahara TempAssure valve is the one you want. It usually must be mail ordered or purchased from a regular plumbing supply dealer, rather than a big box hardware store.
• The system works well. It is comfortable and uses incredibly little water. After one shower and some cooking, my fresh water tank still reads full and the grey water tank reads at the lowest setting. My wife didn’t want to be a guinea pig in testing this, so there was only one shower taken! We both took a shower on day 2, and the grey water reads 1/3 and the fresh water reads 2/3. Pretty good for 2 days of dry camping.
• If using the temperature setting from the previous shower, a new shower with cold water seems slightly but not intolerably cool. You can boost the temperature a bit and then will find that the temperature eventually becomes slightly but not intolerably warm. I believe that this is because of the thermal mass of the pipe and shower head that are downstream of the shower valve. Once they warm up, the temperature is a bit warmer.
• Turning off the shower valve to lather and then turning it on to rinse will cause the Girard on-demand heater to stop and restart. This will result in a slug of cooler water to come through the line. It isn’t cold, but not hot, because the Girard heater has a lot of water in the coil around the combustion chamber, and this stays warm when the Girard turns off. The TempAssure valve control makes the right adjustments on the fly for a steady shower temperature. Note that this means that the Girard temperature setting needs to be high enough to give a water temperature that is hotter than you want for a shower. Otherwise the Delta can’t adjust the hot and cold water blend.
• In cold weather, the concern is that the Girard heater doesn’t get the water hot enough for the TempAssure valve to properly mix hot and cold water. I just tested it when dry camping with outside temperatures just above freezing. I had the Ultraheat tank water heater on. It is supposed to keep the fresh water tank between 44°F and 64°F. I just tested it to find the cold water in the bathroom sink at 50°F (which still feels very cold to the touch). The Girard heater was able to take the temperature up to a range of 110°F to 125°F, as measured at the bathroom sink. I noticed that the hot water varied between these two temperatures, with a fast-reading digital thermometer. Presumably, this is because the Girard turns on and off, or just modulates the flame. This partly explains why I need the TempAssure temperature controlled faucet valve.
• The 60°F to 75°F temperature gain from the Girard that I saw (above) is consistent with its Girard Owner Manual (Page 11), which says that it will raise the water temperature in a range of 20°F to 70°F, depending on the BTU setting chosen on the Girard control. In a worst case scenario, the Girard will only give me a 60°F rise over the minimum 44°F temperature that my Ultraheat Tank Heater gives. That gives 104°F minimum temperature coming into the Delta TempAssure faucet, which is well over normal body temperature. That allows the Delta faucet to blend in some cold water to control the temperature.
__________________

__________________
Gordon Sick, Calgary
2015 Berkshire 34QS
2005 Acura EL (aka Honda Civic)
gordonsick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-06-2016, 11:06 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Calgary
Posts: 208
Issues with ordering the Delta Thin-wall Rough-in, and the wrong Delta faucet and then

I’m in Canada, but it seemed like the ideal parts for me were from Home Depot in the US, so I got my son in Tucson to order them and bring them up at Christmas (yes, this project has been a long time in the making, since it is October now).

I had him order:
• Delta Multi Choice Rough-in Body R1000 with the RP47202 Thin Wall Mounting Kit. This is #R10000-UNWSBXT. The thin-wall mounting kit is useful for installing it on a fibreglass shower.
• Delta Lahara 1-handle Shower only Faucet Trim Kit in Stainlesss # T17238-SS. It claims not to have the valve included, but it does have the valve, but not the rough-in – terrible description for mail order. The pictures showed one handle to control the volume and one to control the temperature, so I thought it was the one that automatically adjusted the hot and cold to maintain a constant temperature.

There were two problems with this order, unfortunately.

First, the rough-in was missing the thin-wall mounting kit, even though I paid for it. I assume that the item was returned to Home Depot and somebody had taken the thin-wall kit out before returning it. I didn’t notice this in time for Home Depot to make an adjustment. That is not impressive behaviour by Home Depot to not check items that were returned for all the parts (I assume) and for not making good on their error. Fortunately, a polite call to Delta in Canada (not the US) resulted in them sending me the missing thin-wall mounting kit for no charge. Good for Delta!!!

Second, when I opened the Delta shower control manual, it had an extra sticker in it that wasn’t in the on-line documentation. It disclosed that, although it had a temperature control valve, it wouldn’t maintain a constant temperature. I immediately realized that this unit probably wan’t going to work in my situation, but I installed it anyway. It wasn’t too good at keeping a constant temperature.

So, I have a Delta Lahara 1-handle Shower only Faucet Trim Kit in Stainlesss # T17238-SS available for sale. Please note the above caveat before you buy.

The model that I really needed is called a TempAssure control valve, and these have model numbers begin with a 17T. I had to go to a local plumbing supply dealer to get a Delta T17T038 Lahara chrome shower control ("valve trim only", but it did include the control valve). This cost me a lot more money than the Home Depot one and was chrome rather than brushed stainless steel, which I wanted. But, that’s life. I ordered that one and am using it now. It is easy to install after you have the Delta rough-in.
__________________

__________________
Gordon Sick, Calgary
2015 Berkshire 34QS
2005 Acura EL (aka Honda Civic)
gordonsick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-06-2016, 11:09 PM   #3
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Calgary
Posts: 208
Installing the rough-in and the shower head

My Berk 34QS has the shower control on the wall shared with the bedroom. There is a wooden panel in the bedroom that gives access to the back of the original plumbing rough-in.

The first photo below shows the original Berkshire rough-in. Notice that they glued it in with silicon sealant and used a wooden shim. Not nearly as nice as using the thin-wall kit from Delta. It took a while to carefully remove this unit without delaminating the fibreglass, but I got it out.

The second picture shows the Delta #R10000-UNWSBXT parts kit. The two plates in the bag at the top right are for the thin-wall mount that I asked Delta Delta Canada to ship separately after Home Depot USA short-shipped the product.

The third picture shows the rough-in unit with three plumbing parts that I had to supply myself. On the ends, you can see two 90° adaptors from the rough-in pipe thread to PEX crimp connections that point downward (they are incorrectly shown as facing back in the photo). There is also a brass cap on the bottom to cover the connection that would go to a tub faucet.

The fourth photo shows the shower valve parts that I ordered the first time. Note the two control levers, which fooled me. Also, note the shower head that came with this unit. It is very nice, and I still use the shower head. It gives a wide shower spray and has holes at the back that let air into the stream of water. This gives the impression of a full stream of water, even when the water flow is quite minimal. You might be able to buy these shower heads separately from Delta. The shower head gives a pleasant full spray at the rate of 3.75 litres or 1 gallon per minute. The shower head is restricted to 2.5 gallons per minute.

The fifth photo shows the correct TempAssure chrome shower valve installed with the stainless steel trim of the incorrect one (too look nicer and recoup some of my loss). Note that it also has a large and small control valve, but the small one controls the temperature to keep it constant, which is consistent with the TempAssure moniker.

The sixth photo shows all of this installed in my shower. I elected to keep the original wand shower, although I don’t use it. I installed a valve to switch between the units. I put the valve directly into the female pipe thread in the wall rather than at the end of the gooseneck, because the shower head would have been too low, otherwise.

As a final note, after working with all of this, I can say that the vertical bar that holds the wand head is installed very strongly. It is a safe grab bar if you want support in the shower. It is just as strong as the clear plastic handle. But, the control valve is fastened in with some ABS plastic, and is not very strong. So, don’t use the shower handle or faucet as a grab bar.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	1 Original Faucet.jpg
Views:	73
Size:	371.3 KB
ID:	122309   Click image for larger version

Name:	2 Roughin parts.jpg
Views:	72
Size:	225.8 KB
ID:	122310   Click image for larger version

Name:	3 Roughin Assembly.jpg
Views:	75
Size:	186.9 KB
ID:	122311   Click image for larger version

Name:	4 Faucet Parts.jpg
Views:	72
Size:	217.9 KB
ID:	122312  
__________________
Gordon Sick, Calgary
2015 Berkshire 34QS
2005 Acura EL (aka Honda Civic)
gordonsick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-06-2016, 11:09 PM   #4
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Calgary
Posts: 208
Concerns about winterizing the Delta temperature-controlled faucet

I have two concerns about winterizing this system.

First, if you look at the third rough-in assembly photo in the previous post, you will note that I had to install a brass cap at the bottom of the rough-in assembly to block the connection that would have gone to a tub faucet. This cap can collect water, and I don’t believe that blowing out the system will reliably clear the water from this cap. The original Berk rough-in had a plug in this position, which wouldn’t allow water to collect. For my first winterization, I’ll blow out the system and then remove the cap to see if it has much water in it. If it does, I’ll have to drain it manually every year. This would be a pain, as I’d have to check in the next spring to see if the cap was sufficiently tightened to prevent a leak. I guess I could leave the cover panel off until the Spring to remind me to check it for leaks after I reinstall it.

Second, the Delta instructions say that you need pressure on both sides of the faucet to make it work properly. And, I normally don’t have the heat on when winterizing, so it is not clear that the faucet will clear the cold-water line. Perhaps I can set the temperature to the lowest setting to clear the cold water line and then the highest to clear the hot water line. I hope it works.
__________________
Gordon Sick, Calgary
2015 Berkshire 34QS
2005 Acura EL (aka Honda Civic)
gordonsick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-06-2016, 11:10 PM   #5
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Calgary
Posts: 208
Concerns about the UltraHeat tank heater

It is essential to have the UltraHeat tank heater working properly for this system to work properly in cold weather. If you have a cold water source (e.g. a glacial lake), you need to fill the fresh water tank and use the tank heater. The Girard water heater isn’t strong enough to take water that is just above freezing to a temperature high enough to let the Delta faucet control a reasonable shower temperature.

At first, I didn’t think my tank heater was working, because the water in my bathroom tap is so cold when I am in the mountains. But, the acid test is to use a thermometer to check the cold water tap to make sure the temperature is between 44°F and 64°F. If so, the tank heater is working and the Girard heater and Delta faucet have enough range to do their jobs.

Another way of testing whether the Tank heater is working is to watch the current draw at the Magnum ME-RC control, since the tank heater needs direct current and the control panel says how many amps of direct current is being generated by the Magnum inverter-charger – I was on AC shore power at the time. Switching the Tank heater on and off switch the draw by 3 amps. So, if the tank heater draws 3 amps (36 or 40 watts), it looks like the tank heater is working.
__________________
Gordon Sick, Calgary
2015 Berkshire 34QS
2005 Acura EL (aka Honda Civic)
gordonsick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-06-2016, 11:11 PM   #6
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Calgary
Posts: 208
Theory of operation of the TempAssure faucet, Tank heater and Girard on-demand heater

This shower solution requires all three components for dry camping in cold weather (where the ambient water temperature is below 50°F or so). If you don’t need such extremes you can get by with fewer parts.

If you are camping with full services in a warm area, you can run the Girard heater full time and not worry about filling up the grey water tank. This is one of the advertised advantages of an on-demand water heater: it never runs out of water, since it heats it as it goes, rather than storing it. In this setting the original equipment faucet in the Berk will work just fine, which is probably why so many people report trouble-free operation.

If you are dry camping in a warm area, then you can get by without the tank heater, but to do the on-off routine with the shower to conserve water, you really need a temperature controlled shower valve, like the Delta TempAssure series. That is because the Girard on-demand heater will shut off as soon as the water starts flowing (you still hear the exhaust blower, but the flame is out). It takes a moment for the flame to re-light when you turn on the water to rinse, so some of the water in the coil around the combustion chamber doesn’t get fully heated. That means that there will be a slug of warm, rather than hot, water coming down the line to the shower. This is where you need the temperature controlled faucet to readjust the balance of hot and cold water on the fly.

In other words, if you like to take comfortable showers in your RV while dry camping (and conserving water), I strongly recommend installing a temperature controlled shower valve like the Delta TempAssure series. Make sure that you are not just getting a cheaper pressure balanced shower valve, like I got on my first shot. Read the documentation very carefully because the manufacturers aren’t very clear about the difference between these faucets. I read carefully and still got burned.

If you are a 3 season camper who often is out when the snow falls, you want all three components to work:
• The (Girard or Atwood) on-demand water heater allows you to conserve propane, although it isn’t a particularly water efficient design.
• The Ultraheat Tank Heater is needed to warm up the fresh water tank to a point where the on-demand heater can take it up to a useful temperature. Campgrounds usually shut off the water when it gets close to freezing, so you are forced into the dry camping experience in Fall and Spring seasons, even at a full service campground.
• The temperature controlled shower valve, like a Delta TempAssure, is needed to smooth out the temperature variations from the on-demand heater, as you turn the water on and off to conserve water.

Note that other manufacturers have temperature controlled valved. For example, at home in our master bathroom, we have a Moen temperature controlled shower valve and a big rain-head shower, which tends to have higher volume than the Delta shower head we got for the RV. Indeed, the plumber put in 3/4" pipe to the shower, while our RVs live on 1/2" pipe. The Moen also has the temperature ride up after turning the valve on, again because of thermal mass in the pipes and shower head. Our Moen doesn’t have such a big increase in temperature as the Delta, and this may be because we are flowing more water through the Moen.

Finally, I hope that I don’t get flamed with this post, because I recall that some people have posted that you can’t use an on-demand water heater to blend hot and cold water. It does work for me and is an essential feature of the success of the operation.
__________________
Gordon Sick, Calgary
2015 Berkshire 34QS
2005 Acura EL (aka Honda Civic)
gordonsick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-12-2016, 09:14 AM   #7
Senior Member
 
I-RV's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Mount Laurel, NJ
Posts: 958
Gordon - Thank you for the very detailed purchase, installation and use of the TempAssure shower control.

What Girard On-Demand heater do you have? My MH came with Girard Gen I which was very poor. I installed Gen III and I am very pleased with it. The main problem that I have with the FR supplied shower control is that with water flowing the handle cannot be easily and finely moved to a different mix of hot and cold water.

The Delta TempAssure is definitely on my list

Please note that boxers-rule posted on 8-25-2015, his installation of the same control and was thoroughly pleased.

Crappy shower valve replaced

Hank
__________________
Gale & Hank- 2012 Berkshire 390BH
I-RV is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 10-12-2016, 02:57 PM   #8
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Calgary
Posts: 208
Hank,
I've got the Girard Gen II. It seems to run within the specs given by Girard.

I think that my solution will assist any on-demand heater that is working within the manufacturer's specs. So, if I had a Girard Gen I and found it working within Girard's specs (lots of discussion about that in these forums), I'd be tempted to install a Delta TempAssure faucet before replacing the water heater, since it costs a lot less (e.g., no painting required), and the effort won't be wasted if you subsequently have to upgrade the heater.

The temperature control on the TempAssure valve does allow for very fine adjustments.

Thanks for the link to the earlier thread. I had posted in it, but couldn't find it when I made my new posting. I just posted in that thread to link to this thread.
__________________
Gordon Sick, Calgary
2015 Berkshire 34QS
2005 Acura EL (aka Honda Civic)
gordonsick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-12-2016, 03:16 PM   #9
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Calgary
Posts: 208
Temperature Balanced versus Thermostatic Shower Valves

I just want to emphasize the difference between the two upgraded types of two-handle shower valves. And, I want to introduce some terminology that is more helpful.

Both types of valves have a large handle for volume control and a small handle for temperature control. Both are upgrades from the old-style shower valves that are now outlawed by a lot of building codes. For example, I don't think the Calgary building code would allow the installation of a Berkshire shower valve in a new home.

Below, I'm only talking about the upgraded shower valves that do meet all the building codes that I know about.

A pressure-balanced shower valve (e.g., the standard Delta Lahara series) adjusts the hot-cold water blend to eliminate variations in hot and cold water pressure. They are useful in situations where a toilet flushing will drop the cold water pressure, so that there is a relatively increased flow of hot water, which scalds the user.

A thermostatic shower valve (e.g., the Delta TempAssure Lahara series T17T) adjusts the hot-cold water blend to eliminate variations in hot and cold water temperature. It also solves the scalding problem that is solved by the pressure-balanced valves.

If you have an on-demand water heater and are in the habit of turning the shower on and off to preserve water (dry camping), then I believe you won't be happy with just a pressure-balanced valve, but you will be happy with a temperature-balanced valve. Turning the shower on and off also turns the water heater on and off, resulting in a slug of lower-temperature water coming down the hot water line. The thermostatic shower valve adjusts for this variation in hot water temperature.

I speak from experience, since I've had both types of shower valve, in addition to the original Berk shower valve.
__________________
Gordon Sick, Calgary
2015 Berkshire 34QS
2005 Acura EL (aka Honda Civic)
gordonsick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-14-2016, 10:55 PM   #10
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Calgary
Posts: 208
Update on winterizing a Delta Tempassure Shower Valve

The concerns about winterization noted above are valid. I have just winterized my system, so I offer details on how to winterize the Delta Tempassure system.

First, the cap at the bottom (that closes off the connection for a tub faucet) of the rough-in does collect water and is not blown out by the standard blow-out procedure with air. It is a good idea to remove it to drain it. That means one should leave the panel open so that the cap can be examined for leaks in the spring when water is put in again.

Second, the standard blowout procedure only clears the hot water line and not the cold. So, you should blow out the hot water line first by opening the shower valve. Blowing out the cold water line is more complex:
1. Turn off the pressure to the cold and hot lines to the bathroom shower at the water manifold.
2. Reverse the valve assembly process and remove the shower valve handle and body. This exposes the two small and one large O-ring, if done properly.
3. Close the shower door, since water will come out of the rough-in at the next step.
4. At the water manifold, open the cold line to bathroom shower. This will cause water to shoot out the rough-in from the cold side.
5. Check to make sure that this didn’t get water into the cap on the bottom of the rough-in that blocks off the connection for a tub faucet.
6. Apply silicone grease to the O-rings and reassemble the faucet. It is now ready for winter.

–Gordon
__________________

__________________
Gordon Sick, Calgary
2015 Berkshire 34QS
2005 Acura EL (aka Honda Civic)
gordonsick is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
faucet, show, shower, water

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off




» Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by




ForestRiverForums.com is not in any way associated with Forest River, Inc. or its associated RV manufacturing divisions.

Our Communities

Our communities encompass many different hobbies and interests, but each one is built on friendly, intelligent membership.

» More about our Communities

Automotive Communities

Our Automotive communities encompass many different makes and models. From U.S. domestics to European Saloons.

» More about our Automotive Communities

Marine Communities

Our Marine websites focus on Cruising and Sailing Vessels, including forums and the largest cruising Wiki project on the web today.

» More about our Marine Communities


Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:25 AM.