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Showers Explained – By Ben Guest
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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 – May be a failing cartridge.