How Does a Shower Work?

So, how does a shower work? Well, it’s pretty easy! You turn on the tap, get the temperature of the water right and adjust the shower head to get the water flow pressure equally right. Then you stand under warm water for however long you need while thinking about life’s biggest problems.

We hate to say it, but there’s a little more to shower plumbing than that. Behind the scenes of your shower system, there’s a world of fixtures, fittings and drainage.

We’re not planning to provide a boring rundown of the mechanics, no. The only times we’ll mention technical terms like tub spout and diverter valve is right here, right now. That’s it. We want to give easy explanations so you can be better prepared the next time you need to call a plumber.

What Shower System Parts Are Behind The Wall?

We’re all very familiar with the parts of the shower that we see and touch every day, such as shower heads and the shower drain. Even the shower pan. But how about those parts that we don’t see, those that are concealed but keep things chugging along?

Starting with the basics, typically you’ll find these components behind a shower wall:

  • Pressure balancing valve (tempering valve) or thermostatic mixing valve
  • Cold water supply
  • Hot water supply
  • Shower head riser

Let’s start with an easy explanation. Hot water pipes and cold pipes separately funnel water into the pressure balance valve. It is here where they combine when you turn on the taps, with the water moving up the shower head riser and out of your shower head.

The valve is where everything gets a little more technical. Inside, it keeps the hot and cold water separate until you’re ready for them to mix and turn the taps.

Understand the Different Shower Valve Types

A pressure balance valve adjusts the mix of hot and cold water to maintain a steady temperature when there are changes in water pressure. So, if someone flushes a toilet or starts the dishwasher, it helps prevent the shower from suddenly going ice cold or scalding hot.

A thermostatic mixing valve, on the other hand, is a bit more sophisticated. It keeps your shower water at the temperature you’ve set, regardless of fluctuations in the water supply temperature or pressure. This means even if the cold water pressure drops or the hot water temperature varies, your shower temperature stays constant. It’s great for a consistent temperature shower, but it’s generally pricier than a pressure balance valve.

What Is A Power Shower?

If you’re seeking a shower experience that’s a step up from the usual, consider a power shower. It employs an integrated pump to enhance the water flow, transforming a low-pressure trickle into a robust stream. Unlike a regular shower, which is at the mercy of the shower water pressure in your home, power showers ensure a consistently strong spray. It’s an ideal upgrade for an invigorating shower, though it’s worth noting that this added luxury does come with increased water and energy usage.

What’s Up With My Shower Drain?

Shower drains are more than a hole in the ground. If you could see the whole drainage setup you’d find a:

  • Drain trap, either an S or P-shape
  • Drain pipe
  • Reducer or reducing coupling
  • Drain riser pipe
  • Main vent stack

The drain trap is either P or S-shaped for optimum flow and hygiene. It catches all the bits of soap, hair and whatever else flows down the tub or drain. Depending on your trap, you may be able to easily remove it for cleaning.

The P and S shapes also allow for water to pool at the bottom, forming a watertight seal that prevents unwanted sewer smells from sneaking into the bathroom.

Staying on nasty odours, the main vent stack also helps keep your bathroom smelling fresh. The vent stack runs out of the piping, through the wall and eventually pops out of the roof. Allowing air to flow through means the water flows more freely and no gasses build up.

How Does The Shower Head Work?

Your shower head is where the real variety comes in. Much of it comes down to the look and functionality, but there is an increasing amount of low-flow, environmentally friendly shower heads available.

Inside the shower head, the aerator determines the maximum flow of water and pressure. It also influences the two common ways water comes out:

  • Aerating: water mixes with air, creating wider coverage with a more mist-like spray
  • Laminar-flow: water is separated into individual streams for a direct approach

Now, when it comes to the actual shower head, that’s up to you.

The wall-mounted fixed shower head is your traditional style. There is also the handheld shower head that provides versatility and convenience. Rainfall showers give you a tropical resort feel, while something like a filtered shower head ensures you have the cleanest water possible.

Metropolitan Your Shower Plumbing Expert

Are you after some shower drain pipe repairs, a new mixer shower head installation or any other bathroom plumbing services? Call the customer service team at Metropolitan Plumbing and we’ll have a licensed and experienced plumber on the road with our same-day service promise!

Published: 2020-07-10

Need a Plumber Today?

Electrical, plumbing and air conditioning work is essential and we will be available to do the jobs you require in your home. Our friendly technicians are taking all precautionary measures and keeping to best hygiene practices.

Plumbers You Can Trust

Our Promise to You

Honest Plumbing Services Icon


We believe in transparency. We will guide you through our process, answer your questions and provide you with an upfront, no obligation fixed prices.

Committed to Plumbing Service Excellence Icon


No matter how big or small the job is, whether you're a new or returning customer, we treat every job as important and strive for success.

Professional Expert Plumbers Icon


We know our job site is your home and we completely respect that. We arrive neat and clean, and tidy up after we've completed the job.

zip pay Options
Zip Pay Payment Options Image

Now Available!

Plumbing finance options** with trusted pay later options

What Our Happy Customers Have to Say

This is why we do, what we do!

Metropolitan Plumbing are proud winners of 2021 and 2020 Product Review awards in the plumbing category. These awards highlight our dedication to outstanding customer service. Product Review provides a platform for real-life experiences. Check out some of our customers' reviews below:
5 stars rating

Dave.C was very friendly and professional especially for a Sunday. He was able to identify the cause of the leaky shower head, and provide two quotes. He was also able to show what the issue was and was able to advise what he had done to fix it. Thank you.

Tyrell Tongz - QLD
5 stars rating

They replaced our old, malfunctioning toilet. The installation was quick, and they checked for any leaks thoroughly. Reliable service we can count on!

Anna Cunning - QLD
5 stars rating

I had a toilet that wouldn’t stop running, and it was wasting so much water. They arrived promptly, diagnosed the issue, and replaced the faulty parts. Now my toilet works perfectly. Great service and reasonable rates.

Caity Waters - QLD
  • Wilson Hot Water Logo

    Wilson is an Australian owned and operated hot water system supplier with products to suit any need. Rest assured our technicians can install and service your Wilson hot water system.

  • Vulcan Hot Water Logo

    Vulcan hot water systems are forged tough so that they can handle Australia's changeable climate without missing a beat.

  • Thermann Hot Water Logo

    Thermann is one of the most efficient water heating systems around, with a range of options from solar boosted to heat pumps. We can install, service and repair your Thermann system.

  • Saxon Hot Water Logo

    Unfortunately, Saxon no longer produces heating units, but Metropolitan can still service, repair or replace your old Saxon system.

  • Stiebel Eltron Hot Water Logo

    Stiebel Eltron was established in Germany, 1924. With over 95 years of experience in making hot water units, you can expect quality.

  • Rinnai Hot Water Logo

    Rinnai is one of the biggest names in hot water systems. Metropolitan Plumbing has worked with Rinnai hot water systems for more than 25 years.

  • Rheem Hot Water Logo

    Rheem has been going steady, hot and strong since 1939 with a comprehensive range of solar, heat pump and gas hot water solutions.

  • Everhot Hot Water Logo

    No matter how big or small your requirements are, Everhot has the right system. We at Metropolitan can help install or service your Everhot system.

  • Edwards Hot Water Logo

    Edwards is recognised for its superior performance and outstanding range of ground and roof mounted units offered in a range of colours.

  • Dux Hot Water Logo

    Dux is the big name in residential and commercial solar, heat pump and gas water heating. We can service and repair your Dux hot water system.

  • Chromagen Hot Water Logo

    Chromagen is an internationally recognised manufacturer of highly efficient hot water systems.  Metropolitan can service, replace or repair your Chromagen system.

  • Bosch Hot Water Logo

    Bosch provides quality hot water to thousands of Australians with its wide range of solar, gas and electric units.

  • AquaMAX Hot Water Logo

    AquaMax is the household name in hot water. We can take care of all of your Aqua Max needs from installation to repair.

Metropolitan Plumbing - Product Review img Metropolitan Plumbing - Product Review img