It is important to choose a shower that is correct for both your requirements and suitable for your plumbing system. Not all showers are suitable for all plumbing systems.
As far as requirements of a new shower system are concerned it largely comes down to personal taste and desired features. For example in a family bathroom the ability to have 'pre set' showering settings, such as temperature and flow rate, as found on some digital showers, may be desireable when the shower will be used by more than a couple of people.
The type of shower available may be somewhat restricted by your plumbing system. For example a thermostatic shower is best suited to a plumbing system that provides a steady flow of hot water, such as a water system with a combination boiler offering high pressure. They can however be fitted to gravity or conventional systems (normally with a hot water tank), however when the hot water runs out the shower will turn cold! Electric showers are ideal for gravity / conventional systems as they have internal elements to heat the water thus proividing a steady flow of hot water for showering even when there is no stored hot water available.
The four main types of shower are:
Electric & Power Shower
More details are available on these showering types by clicking on the links below:
Identify Your Water System
Before choosing your shower you need to identify your water system, the following diagrams will help you identify your system, however if you are in any doubt or have any questions please consult a qualified plumber.
Some showers, especially some digital showers come with a concealed or exposed otion;
The exposed shower
Exposed showers dispense hot and cold blended water from the pipe contained within the shower’s slider rail which is fitted on the surface of the wall. The clever ‘exposed’ design of the shower means there’s no need for installation to cause damage to your bathroom’s décor or tiling. Providing there’s easy access to space above the showering area (for instance, the loft), exposed showers are extremely simple to install and fitting can be complete in as little as two hours. Exposed showers are the most popular choice of shower and can be the easiest for the plumber to install.
The concealed shower
A concealed shower’s hot and cold blended water pipe is concealed in the wall. This makes for a neat and compact shower, where only the shower’s control and showerhead are visible. It is an especially good choice for a smaller showering enclosure where space is at a premium or if you prefer a fixed showerhead. A concealed shower is also the best option if you cannot access the space above the showering area. Providing the showering area is adjacent to an airing cupboard, concealed showers are very simple to install.
1. What kind of water system you have.
This is important as booster pumps can only be added to gravity systems. You must NOT fit booster pumps to high pressure or combination boiler water systems or showers with a built in pump such as power showers and pumped digital showers. If you are unsure, about your water system ask a qualified plumber.
2. Whether you have sufficient vertical distance from the bottom of the cistern to the top of the shower head.
This is because the greater the vertical distance (called "head of water") the better the shower’s flow rate and performance. Typically this should be no less than one metre. However gravity systems can sometimes have a disappointing flow of water if there is not a good “head” of water. Adding a pump can make an enormous difference to your showering experience and will allow you to add extras such as body jets.
It’s essential that you choose the right pump. Not just for you, your family and your new shower – but for the plumbing system too. A pump will increase the volume of water you shower can deliver per minute and it’s important to check your water tank will have enough storage capacity to cope. Vital during the morning rush hour when everyone wants a hot shower.Don’t overlook where all that extra water will go to either. You’ll need to ensure you shower tray’s waste is sufficiently capable of quickly and effectively draining water away.
If you are in any way unsure of your water system, or what type of shower is suitable for your system please ask a qualified plumber.