pressure balance valve same as anti scald valve?

I'm about to remodel the shower and am thinking of replacing the old valve with a pressure balance valve. Is an anti-scald valve the same as a pressure balance valve with a hot water limiter? Why is the limiter needed? If the water is too hot, wouldn't it be better to lower the temperature at the hot water heater instead of restricting the hot water at the valve?
Is there any reliability issues with these valves?
Some of these valves have only one control that increases both the waterflow and water temperature, apparently the waterflow is increased to the max very early on and subsequent turning of the handle adjust only the ratio of hot water. I prefer being able to adjust both the temperature and the waterflow. But looking at the spec it's hard to tell if it allows controlling both the temperature and water flow. How do you tell?
E.g. http://www.homedepot.com/prel80/HDUS/EN_US/diy_main/pg_diy.jsp?prod_idA1947&cm_ven=1hd.com2froogle&cm_cat=product&cm_plaþed&cm_ite=froogle
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The pressure balance valve keeps the temperature constant when someone turns the water on at another location. The hot water limiter prevents you from turning the temperature too high.
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I don't know if they are the same. But they do the same thing.

Other applicances, in the house (dishwasher, wash machine) may require hotter water than the shower so you want to have your heater hot enough for them. Also the extra heat, at the heater, will enable you to use less hot water, in the shower, so you can take more showers without running out of hot water.

Don't know

The cold water is turned on first and that is incresed in volume. Than the hot is added as you open more. This lets you fill a bucket (mopping) with cold or warm. You cannot use the hot alone or at a low flow rate. If you need to do this you need to get a 2 handle valve.

http://www.homedepot.com/prel80/HDUS/EN_US/diy_main/pg_diy.jsp?prod_idA1947&cm_ven=1hd.com2froogle&cm_cat=product&cm_plaþed&cm_ite=froogle
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I believe a pressure balance valve is considered to be one type of anti-scald valve, _especially_ if the pressure balance valve has a settable limiter [ie: screw behind bezel you can semi-permanently adjust for a max temperature setting].
Lowering the temperature at the water heater is another choice, however, from a bacterial-incubation perspective, setting it too low isn't necessarily a good idea.
Many plumbing codes insist on 120F maximum at faucets (ie: California, new Canadian codes), but the recommendations for water heater temperature are higher (ie: 140F from Center for Disease Control (CDC Atlanta) or the Canadian Ministry of Health). The pressure balance feature, is the main advantage you simply can't get by fiddling with the heater thermostat - prior to it, if we turned on anything else in the house while having a shower, we got scalded or froze.
Now, we can run the dish washer, clothes washer, wash the car and run our irrigation system at the same time as a shower, and the shower temperature doesn't change _at all_. No kidding. Nobody was more surprised at that than I.
[The volume changes somewhat, but not that much - our shower heads are fairly low flow, so, perceived strength doesn't change much with fairly wide pressure change.]
If you meet your max temperature requirement by downsetting your water heater, first, you don't improve the situation with simultaneous shower and other use.
Secondly, you run a higher risk of infection. This is not particularly significant to the average homeowner, but, CDC indicates that approximately 6000-20,000 cases yearly of not-specifically diagnosed pneumonia are thought to to be Legionaires Disease where the bacteria (Legionella) thrives in water heaters that are set above 120F, but below 140F and you inhale the bacteria in the shower.

Ours has been trouble free for 10 years on a well with hard water.

Single single-handle units "turn" to adjust temperature, and "pull" to adjust volume. In practise, we always have it full on, and use an adjuster in the shower head to vary pattern and effective volume. The push-pull mode doesn't very good at gradually changing volume anyway.
Very handy. If you want to turn the water off temporarily without affecting temperature setting, just push the knob in without twisting. Pull back out, same setting.
Nicer than the units you usually see in hotels.
Moen unit of some sort. Long time ago, don't remember the model. Quite inexpensive. $60-80CDN if I recall correctly.
--
Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
It's not just anyone who gets a Starship Cruiser class named after them.
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Oops, make that "Some single-handle...".
I highly recommend the turn/pull-push units.
--
Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
It's not just anyone who gets a Starship Cruiser class named after them.
  Click to see the full signature.
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Thank you. This is the first time I heard about not setting hot water heater too low. I have to measure my current setting first... -peter
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peter wrote:

See also http://www.cashacme.com/watertemp.html . It's from a manufacturer (to whom I have no relationship), but it appears to be a pretty good introduction to some of the questions around water temperature in the home. It talks about the new Canadian code issues that Chris mentions, which may not directly apply but should be interesting background reading.
For every 1000 references you'll find of the dangers of hot water, you'll see maybe 1 or 2 on the dangers of water heaters being set too low.
Chip C
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