On/off valves, also known as deck valves, panel valves, and a number of other confusing terms, are actually quite simple. They work much like a pair of basin taps. They aren't (normally) thermostatically controlled, but instead simply switch the flow of water through the valve on or off. Quite often you will install a separate valve for the hot and cold pipes. A separate diverter valve could also be added (installed 'further down' the plumbing) which will change the course of the water from one outlet to another.
Perhaps the most common installation of on/off valves is in combination with a bath overflow filler, which is a specific type of waste that double up as an outlet for water. When combined with deck-mounted on/off valves you can create a very stylish look that is much less fussy than a bulky bath tap.
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