Imagine for a moment, as you wake, while checking-in… social media, text and email, you start the shower in bed with ease and convenience of a touch of a button, suddenly your internet enabled switch has turned on the shower from your mobile device, as you wait for the water to preheat, conserving time and positioning yourself for an awesome day are among the benefits included in this modern application, which always piques the interests of your friends and colleges.
I have created a simple modification to your existing bathroom hardware with items which can be found at your local big box home center, follow me as I describe a modern day utopia!
Step 1: Hardware
When go to the hardware store, orient yourself to the plumbing and outdoor department, you will need fittings to install the valve which is necessary to control the water upon demand.
This one inch solenoid powered valve will be installed in-line of the water supply and shower head, adapter bushings will easily convert the existing half inch typical shower hardware to the inside diameter of one inch, and to be reduced down to the existing half inch size to receive your shower head assembly.
You will need a 1 inch by 1/2 inch reducing bushing this is a male to female fitting. the male one inch fitting will be installed on both ends of the valve, the female end will be accompanied by a 1/2 inch threaded nipple, you need an assorted lengths, this will be determined by the escutcheon (cover plate, I utilized a plastic waste can) you choose which matches your decor, will thread into the existing 1/2' opening vacated by your shower head assembly, and the other end will receive the 1/2 inch male shower head assembly.
Finally, pick up the last component of the retro-fit 110v to 24v transformer, found in lawn and garden near the valve, you will need low voltage wire16-18 gauge thermostat wire with the necessary terminals to connect wires together and receive an auto-like 3 amp fuse.
This transformer will plug into a pass through device- an internet enable switch which allows you to control this switch with your mobile device, the WEMO switch, available under $50.00 and the app is free. Once configured to your wireless network, you can customize it and positioned the app on your home screen.
Step 2: Assembly
Don’t let the wiring deter you, if you can wire a lamp or install a replacement thermostat you can do this! The wiring diagram accommodates two switches and with the bath spout valve addition, this serves as a stop valve, otherwise, if you only, modify the shower head you will need the engage the diverter to receive water in the shower head.
Step 3: Assembly
After attaching the bushings to both ends and the addition of the threaded nipple, it is ready to attach to the existing ½ inch opening. Please the note the direction of flow denoted by the arrow located on the body of the valve, the arrow needs to face you or away from the water supply. Attach your escutcheon and existing shower head assembly and direct the head to the desired position.
Step 4: Assembly
Begin with choosing one side of the circuit to wire. Crimp on the terminals, allowing two female ends to accept the 3amp car fuse; this will protect your coil on the solenoid powered valve in the case of a supply power event. Wire the other side of the transformer; plug the transformer into the WEMO switch and into a 110 volt outlet.
Step 5: Favorable Outcome
"Just set it, and forget it", set the main control valve to the desired temp, with the diverter engaged no water will flow, or if the retro fit includes the bath spout, this valve serves as a stop valve and the intended path of the water will flow from the shower head.
I have enjoyed this luxury for over a year, the app is stable, if the app won’t find your device, I use the refresh key, no results, and I close the app, simply double click the home button, find it in the multi task bar, close it and re-launch it. The valve is durable and intended for outdoor use in an enclosure, however, it’s not designed for hot water, and I have had 105-109 water temperature flow through this valve for over a year without it leaking. If there is a disruption in your WIFI, the switch is equipped with a manual override to ensure operation. I choose to retrofit the bath spout with a valve which can be found commercially in a coffee maker or steamer for its smaller footprint. The configuration may be wired with one WEMO switch and coupled with a double pole single throw toggle switch and switch relay to reduce costs, however, for the ease of use, it was determined two switches are more conducive to a worry-free operation. If this were new construction, the modification could be located nearby access with appropriate configuration to accommodate the shower, bath and drain valves, an additional delay on break may compliment bath time. Enjoy!
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