A shower is the ultimate modern convenience and for many people, being without one in their home would be unthinkable.
But showers come in a number of different forms, all of which vary in the way they are both set-up and how they work.
Here’s a closer look at the main three types of shower: electric, mixer and power showers.
An electric shower uses cold water from the mains supply, warming it up on demand by passing it over a heating element. The higher the heat required, the longer the water is held over the element to achieve the necessary temperature.
The more powerful electric heaters don’t require the water to be held for such a long time to reach the required temperature.
Because the water is sourced directly from the mains, the pressure will only match what’s coming in; installing a higher flow rate in your electric shower won’t do anything to increase the pressure.
A qualified electrician will be required to install the cabling to the shower, as it will need to comply with BS 7671.
Limescale can have a particularly detrimental effect on electric showers so if you have hard water; it’s a good idea to get a limescale reducing device fitted to your pipeline.
A mixer shower can be more complicated to install, and you’ll need to check for compatibility because it draws from both the cold water mains and also the hot water heating system. This could either be a hot water tank or a combi boiler.
The valve in the shower mixes the two flows of water together to provide the required temperature. This valve is typically thermostatic which provides a degree of protection, ensuring that the water is regulated and an even temperature produced, even when there are fluctuations in the pressure of water being provided. This can prevent nasty scalds in the shower from the water temperature suddenly rising.
Mixer showers provide the option of either having the pipework concealed within the wall, so that only the fittings on display, or having all of the pipes and valves visible. For bathrooms where space is at a premium, a concealed fitting can be extremely beneficial as well as looking far more attractive.
In properties where the water pressure to the shower is less than ideal, a power shower can be fitted as an alternative to moving the water tank.
Power showers use a pump and require inflow from both hot and cold water tanks, meaning they aren’t suitable for use with a combi boiler. The water flow which can be achieved from a power shower is impressive so you’ll need to make sure your water tank is large enough to provide sufficient inflow, plus the drainage will need to be able to handle the increase in capacity.
There are a few different options for the installation of the pump. The pump can be placed between the mixer and the water, or it can be built into the wall itself, being positioned between the mixer and the shower head. The preferable place for the pump is after the water tank itself; this will enhance the flow rate to all of the taps in the house, including the shower. This allows the pump to be used for multiple purposes and showers in the property.
Power showers are often cited as the ultimate showering experience but if you’re on a meter its worth considering the cost first, as the overall usage of water will increase significantly.
It’s important to understand what type of shower you have, in case there’s a problem and you need to call in a plumber. Each type of shower has its own benefits and some are more suitable for certain properties than others.