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Bathroom Shower Units & Controls

Shower units & shower controls are probably the most technical products used in the bathroom........
Shower Controls

ELECTRIC SHOWERS ♦ SHOWER VALVES ♦ THERMOSTATIC SHOWER VALVES ♦ 2 WAY SHOWER VALVES ♦ 3 WAY SHOWER VALVES ♦ RECESSED SHOWER VALVES ♦ SHOWER BARS ♦ DIGITAL SHOWERS ♦ ELECTRIC POWER SHOWERS ♦ SMART SHOWERS ♦ SHOWER PUMPS

They therefore may be the most difficult for a beginner to understand. The range is huge - from a simple hose with a spray head found squeezed onto bath taps; to the most sophisticated and technically advanced, electronically controlled and thermostatic and pumped versions. The final choice of unit and controls will depend on the available budget and the plumbing system where the shower will be used.


The types of available shower may be categorised as follows:

1. Electric instantaneous shower

2. Manual mixer

3. Pressure-balanced mixer

4. Thermostatic mixer - which may be manual or electronic/digital

5. Pumped (power shower)


Each has its own features, benefits, strengths and weaknesses. And each will have its particular requirements for the domestic plumbing system and electric power supply. Shower controls are probably the most technical appliance to fit in your new bathroom. It is important to choose the right shower to fit your plumbing system. Most people will seek help from an expert to ensure their new shower will perform as it should before making a final choice. Some manufacturers belonging to the BMA will have a technical helpline which you can call for more advice.

Shower Types

Smart Shower - Very accurate temperature and flow settings. Electronic control of temperature and flow settings. Thermostatic. Various memory settings for different users. Can be used for pressurised or non-pressurised systems.

Digital Shower - Very accurate temperature and flow settings. Electronic control of temperature settings. Thermostatic. Can be used for pressurised or non-pressurised systems.

Electric instantaneous shower - Economical in use. Heats water for the shower only when it is required. No wasted hot water storage. Connects only to cold water supply.

Manual mixer - Entry level, economy purchase. Excellent value for money. No electrical connections required. Higher flow rate than electric shower.

Power shower - A pump boosts pressure and flow to give a higher performance and more satisfying shower.

Pressure balancing mixer - Lower purchase price than a thermostatic. Maintains a fairly constant temperature even when water pressure fluctuates.

Thermostatic mixer shower - Safest shower. Optimum control. Prevents scalding. Automatically compensates for variations in incoming water temperature and pressure.

Frequently asked questions

Q
I don't understand the word BAR. What does it mean in regard to showers?

A
Water pressure is measured in three common units: Bar, PSI (pounds per square inch) and Metres Head. So 1 Bar equals 10 Metres Head which equals 14.5 PSI. Bar tends to be the most common unit of measurement.

Q
What is best for cleaning chrome plated shower controls?

A
Warm soapy water and a soft cotton cloth is best. Never use abrasive compounds or abrasive sponge pads. Once the surface of the chrome is scuffed it cannot be repaired. Limescale deposit may be removed with the juice of a lemon.

Q
I have a young family. What type of shower would you recommend?

A
A thermostatic mixer shower is the safest you could install. It prevents possible scalding.

Q
I haven't got a hot water tank. Can I still have a shower fitted?

A
Yes. You could choose an Instantaneous Electric Shower using mains cold water. Or, a manual, pressure balanced or thermostatic mixer shower using a 'combi' boiler.

Q
I have a hot water tank in my airing cupboard and a cold water tank in the loft. But my shower is very weak because the water pressure seems so low. What can I do to improve the shower?

A
You could fit a booster pump to your mixer shower, a fully integrated power shower appliance with a pump built in, or a digital pumped shower.

Q
I want a shower but don't want to install any additional plumbing or electrics. What can I do?

A
You can install an 'over the bath' shower. Replace the bath taps with a 'bath/shower mixer'. This will have a shower hose and spray head and it can be fixed to the wall on a riser rail. You would also need to fit a shower screen or curtain to keep the spray water inside the bath.

Q
What is the most economical shower to run?

A
Probably the instantaneous electric shower is the most economical since it only heats the water as it is required. No hot water is stored so none is wasted.

Q
What mixer shower should I fit with my new combi boiler?

A
You can fit either a thermostatic mixer, a pressure balanced mixer, or a digital shower.

Q
My shower was installed 4 years ago. It was great at first but the flow has gradually got worse. Any suggestions?

A
Sounds like the spray plate in the shower head is gradually becoming clogged with limescale. It needs a " clean and de-scaling - try soaking it in the juice of a real lemon.

Q
I heard that if I buy an electric shower I will need some new cables to connect it? Is that true?

A
Well, yes, possibly. An electric instantaneous shower does require substantial wiring from your consumer unit (fuse board) to the shower itself. If a suitable cable is not already in place then a new one will need to be fitted. A qualified and competent electrician is required to complete this work, and he MUST complete the installation to the latest IEE 17th Edition Wiring Regulations. A detailed certificate copy of all work/s carried out should be retained by the customer for future reference. This will be required for inspection should you sell the property.