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Need advice on raising shower valve height since I’m converting tub/shower to shower. I have no experience with sweating or soldering copper pipes. I’ve watched videos and dont mind giving it a try. My concern is risk of starting a fire. I’ll definitely have fire extinguisher nearby. Any tips/ suggestions? Or should I go with PEX instead- pros and cons, plus cost vs copper? Planning on keeping existing shower head but adding extra line for sprayer between valve and shower head. Any issues with fitting rectangular shower valve to existing lines? See attached pics,thanks.enter image description hereenter image description hereenter image description here

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    Soldering is easy to do, but should have a bit of practice. The joints must be clean(shinely) and dry. Pex or copper is more of an opinion, since there are many compression and push-in connections for both of them. Stuff happens, have an access panel to get to the piping after the walls are finish.
    – crip659
    Commented Jun 5, 2023 at 19:56
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    I recently installed a shower system similar to what you're doing. It came out really nicely and you're asking all the right questions. But. With hindsight I wish I had installed a nice shower panel instead. You have almost NOTHING inside the walls. Just the hot and cold feed that come out of the wall. For the price of the components in your picture, if you buy quality ones, you can buy a really nice panel. You'll enjoy it. And if it goes wrong you don't have to break the wall, it's easy to service or replace.
    – jay613
    Commented Jun 7, 2023 at 1:19

2 Answers 2

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If you haven't soldered before, get scrap copper and some fittings and practice. Always use the proper flux on both pipe and fitting. Heat the fitting outside of where you want the solder to go. Once the solder has melted, remove the heat. Keep a wet rag tied around the pipe about 10 to 12 inches away from the area heated to cool it down. It acts as a heat sink.

                          OR

Use some sharkbite fittings to convert to PEX.

Some strong advice from experiance and unfortunate events:

1- do not use teflon tape on threads use thread sealer.

2-Cap off the shower arm and check it under pressure before closing up the wall.

3-Be very wary of the type of shower valve as in your picture. The stuff purchased on the internet is very unreliable and can be a major headache. I have had those type leak after testing, only to find out the reviews were riddled with the same type of complaints. It seams the threads are not cut to any regular US or Canadian standard. Stick with a Name brand sold at reputable store. ( I have had numerous issues with the brand that starts with DEL as well)

Good Luck

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    #3 – Yes, this! So many cheap fittings/fixtures with "G 1/2-inch threads," eagerly promoted to USA/N.America buyers. After some research I discovered "G" is the abbreviation for one of the British standards (vs. NPT for National Pipe Thread, or Tapered used here in N.America). An inch is an inch everywhere, but the shape of individual threads is different enough they will not mesh.
    – Steve I
    Commented Jun 7, 2023 at 3:33
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Soldering is so much easier than it sounds. There are tons of videos on the net that show exactly how to do it and it really is the best, most reliable solution. You'd be in a wide open space which is really a nice way to learn and you can get heat shields if you're nervous about torching too close to the wood framing. You'll need a torch. You can pick one up at any home store or plumbing supply store. Since you'll be new to this, I'd suggest a propane torch rather than map gas. Propane isn't quite as hot and is nice for learning. You can easily cut your supply lines and install the new valve where ever you want. You can clean off some of the old copper fittings and reuse them. Solder some of the fittings to the new valve before screwing the valve in place since you can move the valve around and then fasten the valve and complete the connections.

As @crip659 stated, leave an access panel on the opposite wall just in case.

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    Looking at the pics you posted, this is an ideal setup for a first-time soldering project. Checkout U tube and follow the instructions. Copper pipes must be clean/shiny and dry. Any water inside a pipe may turn to steam and could cause a leak in the soldered joint. Also, if sweating pipe onto a thermostatic control be sure to remove/isolate any plastic parts before heating with a torch. Take your time and you'll do fine.
    – HoneyDo
    Commented Jun 5, 2023 at 21:45
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    +1 to, “remove plastic and rubber parts from shower mixer”. Commented Jun 6, 2023 at 13:04
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    +1 on this being a good first-time soldering project (@HoneyDo). re: Copper vs PEX — Soldering is a useful and satisfying skill to develop, and for your particular project makes a lot of sense to match existing pipe. PEX, on the other hand, is quick, cheap and requires essentially zero skill.
    – Steve I
    Commented Jun 7, 2023 at 4:12
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    Yes, the SharkBite fittings are $10-20 each for ordinary elbows and tees. One fitting also reliably connects almost anything, including PEX and copper pipe or tubing, tool-free. Or invest $35-40 in a PEX-B ratcheting tool, and you will be able to use PEX-B clips/crimps and fittings that cost about half as much.
    – Steve I
    Commented Jun 7, 2023 at 4:19

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