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Home and Emergency Thermostatic Mixing Valves: A Comparison

thermostatic mixing valvesIf you search for thermostatic mixing valves, you might be surprised at the huge divergence in price. While thermostatic mixing valves designed for emergency use are priced anywhere from $400 to $3000, you can pick up a thermostatic mixing valve for home use at any hardware store for around $100-$200. What gives?

What Are Thermostatic Mixing Valves?

Before we get into price, let’s review what a thermostatic mixing valve is. Whether used at home or with an emergency shower or eyewash station, thermostatic mixing valves serve the same purpose: to mix hot and cold water to make the output a comfortable temperature.

You probably have a thermostatic mixing valve at home to make sure people (especially children and the elderly) aren’t accidentally scalded or chilled.

Emergency thermostatic mixing valves are used to meet the requirement of ANSI Z-358.1 2014. This standard requires that water used in emergency showers and eyewash stations is between 60 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. This requirement helps ensure that workers exposed to hazardous materials stay in the emergency water flow for a full 15 minutes. It also helps prevent scalding, hypothermia and shock.

How Emergency Mixing Valves Differ

The price difference between home and emergency thermostatic mixing valves reflects a number of factors:

1. ANSI standards. Emergency thermostatic mixing valves must meet the requirements of ANSI standard Z358.1 for water temperature. The ANSI standard does not apply to home thermostatic mixing valves.

For more on ANSI Z358.1 compliance, see the article “ANSI Z358.1 Compliance: Check Yourself Out!” in OH&S magazine.

2. Bypass mode. Emergency mixing valves have a cold water bypass mode. This mode allows water to continue to flow, even if hot water is lost. While tepid water is ideal, it’s recognized that cold water is better than no water in emergency showers and eyewash stations. In contrast, home thermostatic mixing valves are designed to shut off if there’s no hot water.

For more on emergency thermostatic mixing valves and bypass mode, see the article “Tepid Water Requirements for Emergency Equipment” in Safety + Health Magazine.

3. Thermostat. Emergency thermostatic mixing valves have highly sensitive thermostats to quickly sense and adjust to changing input water temperatures.

4. Design and Testing. Because a valve failure could be catastrophic for an injured worker, emergency thermostatic mixing valves are designed and tested to work even under rigorous workplace conditions.

Are emergency thermostatic mixing valves worth the higher price? Absolutely. Companies that choose cheaper options put their employees at risk—and could face hefty fines and costly lawsuits.

Thermostatic Mixing Valves at Select Safety Sales

At Select Safety Sales, we carry thermostatic mixing valves for emergency showers and eyewashes from trusted brands such as Haws and Speakman. Speakman has been engineering bath, plumbing and emergency equipment in the U.S.A. since 1869.

Need more information on thermostatic mixing valves for your emergency eyewash or drench shower? Email sales@selectsafetysales.com or call us toll free at (866) 864-3495. Or use our online chat function!

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