Which shower should I choose?
With such a wide selection of showers to choose from, this guide is designed to help you to make the best decision and choose the shower that’s best suited to your needs and expectations.
It’s important to buy the shower that’s right for your needs. Whether it’s a powerful shower similar to a spa or luxury hotel, an affordable shower that won’t break the bank, or just a shower that will provide instant hot water with decent pressure.
But, the first step is making sure that the shower you choose is right for your property and will work with your water supply.
Step 1:What type of water system do you have?
1. Gravity-Fed Water Systems
Low pressure system
Most older homes tend to have a gravity-fed water system. Gravity-fed water systems have a hot water feed and cold water feed.
The cold water tank is usually located high up in the property, usually in the attic, and the hot water cylinder is usually found in an upstairs cupboard, or ‘hot press’. The water in the cylinder can be heated by an external heat source, like a boiler, or an internal heat source, like an electric immersion heater.
As the hot water in the cylinder is used, it’s replaced with cold water from the tank above, which is refilled from the mains water supply.
A gravity-fed water system usually provides low water pressure, depending on the distance from the bottom of the cold tank to the shower head. The greater the distance, the better the pressure. To give a higher pressure from a mixer shower, a booster pump can be installed.
So, do you have a cold water tank in the attic and a hot water cylinder in your home? Then you most likely have a low-pressure gravity-fed water system.
2. Mains Pressure Systems
High pressure system
A mains pressure water system is also known as an ‘unvented’, ‘pressurised’ or ‘sealed’ system. A mains pressure system has a hot water cylinder that is connected directly to the mains water supply, so there is no need for a cold water tank. The water is heated by a boiler or immersion heater.
Because everything is under the pressure of the mains water supply, pressure from taps and showers is much higher so you don’t need a pump to get a powerful shower. Any shower type can operate effectively with a mains pressure system.
If you have a hot water tank, in the ‘hot press’, but you don’t have a cold tank in the attic, then it’s likely you have a high-pressure, mains pressure system.
3. Combination (Combi) Boiler Systems
High pressure system
With a combi boiler system, the boiler is connected directly to the mains water supply and can heat the pressurised cold water on demand. A combi boiler can be located anywhere in the home, and are regularly mounted on the wall.
With a combi boiler system there is no need for a hot water cylinder, cold water tank or shower pump in the home. However, If you want a powerful shower, you should make sure that the boiler can provide a strong enough flow rate. The larger your shower head and number of nozzles, the more pressure required.
With a combi boiler system, it is best to choose A thermostatic mixer shower is a good choice for a combi boiler system, as it will smooth out any temperature fluctuations you might experience.
So, if you have a combination boiler, and no hot water cylinder or cold water tank, then you have a high-pressure combi boiler system.
Step 2: What type of shower is right for you?
Instant hot water, 24/7
The electric shower is probably the most popular shower type available today, and if you want hot water instantly, it’s one for you to consider. An electric shower draws in cold water from your home’s cold water supply, and heats it inside the shower
There is no need to wait for water to warm up before you can take your shower and if someone is using other taps in the house, it won’t affect the temperature of your shower.
An electric shower is considered to be environmentally or eco-friendly than some other shower types because you only need to heat the water you use instead of a full water tank.
Mains-fed and gravity-fed electric showers
There are two types of electric showers, mains-fed and gravity-fed. One is fed by your home’s mains water supply which generates enough pressure for the shower to operate on.
The other is gravity-fed from the cold water storage tank in the attic. There is a pump in the gravity-fed shower to generate enough pressure for the shower to operate. This makes a gravity-fed shower slightly more expensive that the mains-fed variety but it’s an ideal shower for areas where the mains water pressure is low.
You will need an RECI certified electrician (such as one of The Shower Doctors engineers) for installation, and because they have a heating element, electric showers can be affected by limescale.
For more information about Electric Showers give us a call on 01 620 5657. At theshowerdoctors.ie we know all there is to know about showers.
Powerful showers with 2 water sources
Mixer showers do not heat the water internally but rather blend cold water with hot water that has been heated from another source, such as your oil or gas boiler or your immersion. They tend to be more powerful than the electric showers and don’t require a plastic box to contain the controls so have a more modern design than most electric showers.
Thermostatic and manual mixer showers
There are many types of mixer valves but these can generally be broken down into two types – thermosatic mixers and manual mixers.
Both types have a hot and cold water supply feeding into the unit. The water is blended in the mixer valve and exits through either a fixed or adjustable shower head. A manual mixer allows you to adjust the flow of the hot and cold water to find the right temperature.
The thermostatic shower is similar in construction but with the addition of a built in thermostat. This allows the valve to automatically adjust itself to the correct temperature in the event of another water source being turned on in the home.
These units tend to be more expensive because of the extra parts required and they can be installed by a plumber. With some low pressure water systems, a water pump may have to be installed to improve the pressure of these types of showers.
For more information about Mixer Showers give us a call on 01 620 5657. At theshowerdoctors.ie we know all there is to know about showers.
Built-in pump for excellent water pressure
Power showers are similar in appearance to an electric shower in that all the components are housed in a box on the wall. They operate in a very similar way to mixer valve showers in that they draw in both hot and cold water which is blended within the unit and pumped out through the head.
But power showers have the additional benefit of a built-in pump to increase the pressure, or volume, of water going through the unit. As a rough rule of thumb, power showers can supply 15 to 18 litres of water per minute, compared with an electric shower delivering about 5 litres of hot water per minute.
They work well in homes with low water pressure such as in a bungalow. If you are looking for the luxurious experience of high-pressured shower that you might get in a hotel or a spa, a power shower might be the one for you however, they are not considered to be eco-friendly due to their energy usage and water consumption.
As with mixer showers, power showers come in both manual and thermostatic versions.
For more information about Power Showers give us a call on 01 620 5657. At theshowerdoctors.ie we know all there is to know about showers.
The term pumped shower generally relates to a setup wherein the actual shower unit is mounted on the wall of your shower and the water pump is located elsewhere, such as in the attic or utility room, but generally they are fitted in the hot press beside your cylinder.
An electric pumped shower both pressurises and heats the water. They are generally found in homes where the water pressure is low.
If you have a shower with body jets or a rain/drench shower head, you should consider fitting a larger pump to provide increased pressure or water flow, providing a better shower experience than you might be able to achieve otherwise.
Pumped showers can be more expensive compared to electric showers or power showers because of their extra pressure features. Bear in mind when fitting this type of system, a larger tank and hot water cylinder may need to be employed to cope with the higher water demand.
For more information about Pumped Showers give us a call on 01 620 5657. At theshowerdoctors.ie we know all there is to know about showers.
A new, state-of-the-art variation on mixers or electric showers
Digital showers are a new variation on the traditional mixer showers or electric showers. They are becoming increasingly popular additions to modern, state of the art bathrooms.
Digital showers, or remote-controlled showers, are generally controlled by a digital LED panels that can be located anywhere within a 10m area around the shower’s power unit. The panel allows you to adjust the flow and temperature of the shower and communicates your choices to the power unit, which can be located in the attic or hot press.
The power unit then delivers your preferred pressure and temperature through the ceiling or wall to the showerhead.
Digital showers give you more freedom in your bathroom layout and prevent the need for any visible plumbing.
Digital showers can be more expensive than other shower models because of the parts and technology involved. They require a power unit which means you will need an RECI certified electrician (such as one of The Shower Doctors engineers) for installation.
For more information about Digital Showers give us a call on 01 620 5657. At theshowerdoctors.ie we know all there is to know about showers.