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Showers Explained

Monday 1 August, 2016

With a large number of options available on the market, there is a showering solution for every situation. Below is a brief outline of the options available to you when you are looking to install a new shower.

Electric showers:
These are showers that heat the water as you use them. They usually run from a cold mains supply pipe and a dedicated electrical cable. They benefit from not needing water heated from a secondary source but don’t deliver a large quantity of water owing to the small heating element.

Mixer showers:
These can be split into thermostatic and non-thermostatic.

  • Non-thermostatic showers take hot and cold water and mix it before delivering to a shower outlet. The temperature can vary if other water outlets are opened at the same time.
  • Thermostatic showers take hot and cold water and mix it before delivering to a shower outlet. The difference is that it will adjust automatically to changes in supply to provide a stable temperature at the outlet.

Both can be a wall mounted valve, a bath/shower mixer tap or a digital processor in an adjoining space. Both normally require equal pressure on the hot and cold supplies.

High/low-pressure systems:
For high-pressure systems including those with combination boilers or high-pressure hot water cylinders (no stored cold water,) there is no requirement for a pump. For low-pressure systems (stored cold water feeding a hot water cylinder) you may require a pump to get the required shower strength.

Pumped showers:
If you require a pump to obtain the desired shower then there are several options:

  • Wall mounted shower units with integrated pumps.
  • Separate pump located in an adjacent space.
  • Pumped digital shower processor.

Shower outlets

  • Hose and head on a slide rail – This is the most common option and allows height adjustment for the shower head.
  • Fixed head – Mounted to the wall and sprays at a fixed height.
  • Ceiling rose – These can be either flush mounted or hung from the ceiling and include rain showers.
  • Body jets – These can be part of the valve or mounted on the shower walls.

Common problems with showers

  • Broken, kinked or collapsed shower hoses – Replace shower hose.
  • Scaled shower heads – Either clear with vinegar or mild lime scale remover or replace.
  • Scaled heating elements (Electric showers only) – Replace heating element or shower.
  • Shower dripping, temperature not staying stable, won’t turn on and off properly, leaking from the valve body – Maybe a failing cartridge.
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