If you’re looking to make a splash with a brand new shower, then it’s always good to think ahead before you commit to a purchase. We asked soak.com’s interior stylist, Naomi Cheney for her top five tips when buying a shower.
1. Check your water pressure
You'll probably need a qualified plumber to test your system to establish the precise pressure of your home system. However, you can get an estimate number by simply using a measuring jug (1-2 litres) and a timer. Just follow the simple steps below:
1. Place the measuring jug under the tap or shower you wish to measure and turn the water on full.
2. Start the timer
3. Time how long it takes for the water to fill the jug
Now enter the time and amount of water into this helpful calculator from our friends at waterpressureproblems.com. This will then produce a result which indicates whether your water pressure is low or normal/above average.
2. Establish what water system you have
The water pressure level is a crucial starting point when selecting a shower - now we need to know what water system you have installed at home. This is equally as significant as some water systems are incompatible with certain showers.
As a general rule, you’ll find one of these four systems installed in a UK home:
1) Cold Water Tank in the Loft / Gravity Fed Systems
This system tends to be more common in older properties. Traditionally, a tank will be found in the roof or loft as it relies on gravity to transport the water. This is normally sent to a hot water cylinder, often located in an airing cupboard, where the water is heated.
These types of systems can have occasional issues for low water pressure but can be enhanced by installing the Salamander CT 50 Xtra – 1.5 Bar Twin Shower Pump. This increases the pressure throughout the whole house and not just to the shower – an all-round winner!
2) Combi Boiler
A combi boiler allows water to be heated on demand and is generally found mounted on a wall. The hot water is linked to the mains so it can deliver high water pressure, which eliminates the need for a shower pump. Combi boilers are often more energy efficient and can save space as there is no requirement for a tank or cylinder.
3) High Pressure System
A high pressure system is the ideal choice for those who want a shower experience with gusto. As the water comes directly from the mains water supply, it allows for a faster rate of flow - no need for a shower booster! A boiler or electric immersion heater is used to heat the water.
4) Mains Fed Water System
In a mains fed water system, all taps and water outlets will have water at mains pressure attached to them – whether that is hot or cold. All cold taps or cold outlets are connected directly to the incoming water main and are fed directly but water must pass through certain equipment that is designed specifically for heating it at pressure.
3. Select the type of shower you want
Thermostatic shower: Thermostatic mixer showers work in a similar way to mixer showers, taking water from hot and cold taps. They regulate temperature and flow to keep them consistent ensuring that if someone in the house uses another tap, you won’t suddenly experience bursts of freezing cold or, more importantly, scolding hot water. If exceptionally hot water were to pump out, the shower would shut down immediately – the perfect solution for young families (we know you don’t have eyes in the back of your head!)
One of our best-selling concealed showers is our 300mm Large Square Steel Wall Mounted Head, Thermostatic Mixer and Rail Shower Kit – Slimline - featuring a minimalistic aesthetic and a concealed appearance, the fixed head delivers a refreshing rainfall experience.
Electric showers: Electric showers provide a whole host of benefits. If you haven’t got a boiler in your home, then an electric shower could be the option for you as there is no need for it to be connected to hot water mains. Thanks to an ingenious heating element installed within the shower, the water is heated ‘on demand’ meaning you and your family can shower for as long as you like without running out of water.
The 10.5kW Triton T100XR White/Chrome Electric Shower is a great example of what an electric shower can bring to your shower experience.
Power showers: Power showers combine hot and cold water from the main tap, much like a mixer shower. A power shower is great for those that have low water pressure (most likely those with gravity fed water systems in their home) as the added boost can bring some much needed power – especially on those cold mornings! They do use up water quickly however, so take this into consideration if you have a small hot water tank. There are also manual and thermostatic versions of power showers available. Thermostatic temperature stability keeps the family safe and it is has been rated ‘class A’ for energy efficiency.
This Triton Aspirante Gloss Black Electric Shower 9.5kW is a great choice thanks to its compact slimline design, phased shutdown which flushes out any preheated water to prevent limescale and rub clean shower head that features five spray patterns.
4. Choose your shower head
There’s a shower head to suit everyone’s style and budget.
Fixed Shower Head: The most common type, fixed shower heads deliver water at a fixed angle and come out straight from the wall. They are ideal for people whose shower space is at a premium.
Hand Held Shower: Hand held showers offer complete flexibility as they allow you to direct the flow, but they can also be mounted to act as a fixed shower head with adjustable wall mount to change the height.
Waterfall Shower: Instead of the water being projected at an angle, a ceiling arm shower head allows the water to fall directly overhead, giving your shower a rain-like effect.
5. Set your budget
A good way of keeping down costs is with a good value shower mixer. Installing an electric shower is more energy efficient as they heat the water. This is in contrast to a home with a boiler water system that has to heat a whole tank of water, which wastes energy in the process. However, electric showers can also increase your installation costs as a qualified professional will need to manage the setup (but we think it’s worth it).