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How Does a Shower Work?

Juliet Myfanwy Johnson

A shower is built into a bathroom that is used for washing the body. An alternative to a bathtub, a shower is designed to allow a person to step in, close the door or curtain and stand upright.

The Shower

Turn knobs on the wall to receive hot and cold running water flowing down like rain from a faucet or shower head located on the wall above the standing person's head. The water continues to flow over the person as she washes her body, and the used water collects at the bottom of the shower, flowing out the centrally located drain and into the sewer. Showers can be made of fiberglass, glass, stone, acrylic or tile.

The Water's Path

When the knobs are turned in a shower, water is pumped through the pipes. The water is pressurized, beginning from a water main located in the front of your house (or from a fresh water well), through a water meter (if from city water not well water), and piped into a water heater in your house. The water breaks off into two separate hot and cold pipes at the water heater. The cold water bypasses the water heater and goes directly to the cold water shower line, the hot water from the water heater is dispatched into the hot water shower line as that knob is turned. The hot and cold shower knobs are adjusted until the person in the shower achieves optimum flow and desired temperature. The drain of a shower collects the water. There are vent pipes near the drainage lines that send sewer gases out of the pipes up through the roof to maintain air pressure for the soiled water to continue to flow down and out.

The Diverter

Some shower assemblies are not separate but instead located high up on the wall of a standard bathtub. When the hot and cold knobs are turned on, and water is flowing from the bathtub faucet, the knobs are adjusted until the correct temperature is reached. Then a diverter must be turned to stop the water from flowing out of the tub faucet, and instead sending the water up the pipe to the shower head. The diverter is usually located on the tub faucet itself, or on the shower assembly.