All showers, except for the most powerful, use less water than required for filling a bath, showering is generally quicker than taking a bath, it also helps to alleviate the morning queue for the bathroom.
For even greater convenience, install a second shower somewhere else in the house – this is one of those improvements that really does add value to your home. Improvements in technology have made available a variety of powerful, controllable showers.
However, many appliances are superficially similar in appearance, so it’s important to read the manufacturers’ literature carefully before you opt for a particular model.
Remember that to fit an electrical shower in a bathroom requires a qualified electrician.
Pressure and flow
When choosing a shower, bear in mind that pressure and flow are not the same thing. For example, an instantaneous electric shower delivers water at high mains pressure
rate is necessary to allow the water to heat up as it passes through the shower unit.
A conventional gravity-fed system delivers hot water from a storage cylinder under low pressure, but often has a high flow rate when measured in litres per minute. Adding a pump to this type of system can increase both pressure and flow rate. Alter the flow and pressure ratio by fitting an adjustable shower choice of spray to a gentle ‘champagne’ cascade.
Some types of shower are fed directly from the mains: one of the simplest to install from a plumbing point of view is an instantaneous electric shower, which needs a dedicated electricity supply. Another alternative is to install a thermal-store cylinder. Mains-pressure water passes through a rapid heat exchanger inside the cylinder. Yet another option is to store hot water in an unvented cylinder – which will supply high-pressure water to a shower without the need for a booster pump.
Nowadays, showers are often supplied from combination boilers, though there’s often need it run full flow to keep the boiler firing properly. Before buying a shower, check the manufacturer of your boiler to ascertain whether there’s likely to be a problem.
In most homes cold water is stored in a tank in the loft and fed to a hot-water cylinder at a lower level. Both the hot-water and cold-water pressures are determined by the height (or ‘head) of the cold-water storage tank above the shower. A minimum of at least 1 metre (3ft) head should give reasonable flow rate and pressure. If flow and pressure are insufficient for a good shower, you could improve the situation by raising the tank or fitting a pump in the system.
Draining the used water away from a shower can be more of a problem than running the supply. If it is not possible to run the waste pipe between the floor joists or along a wall,
then you may have to consider relocating the shower. In some situations it may be necessary to raise the shower tray on a plinth in order to gain enough height if the waste pipe to fall (slope) towards the drain. Another way to overcome the problem is to install a special pump to take the waste water away from the shower.
When running the waste pipe to an outside hopper, you can fit a conventional trap – but these are relatively large, creating problems when installing the shower tray. You could cut a hole in the floor, or substitute either a smaller, shallow-seal or compact trap that includes a removable grid and dip tube for easy cleaning. Another possibility is to fit a running trap in the waste pipe at a convenient location, or install a self-sealing valve in the pipe.
A shower trap that is connected to a soil stack must have a water seal not less than 50mm (2in) deep. The best solution is to fit a compact trap, which is shallow enough to fit under most modern shower trays, but is designed to provide the necessary water seal. Alternatively, fit either a running trap or a self-sealing valve.
Remember to install any electrical devices in a bathroom you will need to be qualified and registered electrician (if you are using a plumber that means them too). If you are planning on adding a shower, working with a plumber or changing your existing unit then get in touch with First Call Electrician. We’ll help you get the shower that you want and need!
Contact First Call Electrician today on 01245 330428.