How to Choose the Right Shower – Part One

With so many showers available than ever before it can be tricky choosing the right one to suit both your requirements and your home’s water system.

Hand held shower head

Most of us would like a large shower head that provides a rainfall style effect at the perfect temperature, but sometimes you end up with a shower that produces a trickle of water, or one that turns really hot when someone flushes a toilet. These issues can easily be avoided by choosing the right shower to suit your hot water system.

In part one of this useful two-part guide on how to choose the right shower, we take a look at the various types of water systems including gravity systems, mains pressure systems and combination boiler systems.

Gravity systems

Gravity systems are usually found in older homes and feature a hot and cold feed with a cold water tank, which is normally located in the loft and a hot water cylinder, usually in an airing cupboard. The cylinder is heated with a boiler or an immersion heater. The water pressure varies depending on the distance from the bottom of the tank in the loft to the shower head. The larger this distance the higher the water pressure will be. To ensure enough pressure, the recommended distance should be between 3-4 metres. A pump can be fitted with a gravity system to boost the performance of your shower.

Mains pressure systems

Mains pressures systems are also known as pressurised, unvented or sealed hot water systems. The pressure in the mains water supply in the road is used to pressurise the hot and cold supplies instead of a cold water tank. The minimum pressure should be 1.5 bar but should ideally be 3 bar. To prevent the pressure from going over 3 bar a pressure-limiting valve is used. With a combi boiler the hot water can be heated on demand. An unvented cylinder with a pressurised system provides a powerful shower.

Combination boiler systems

A combination or combi boiler is where pressurised cold water is heated on demand, meaning you should never run out of hot water. For a powerful shower ensure that the boiler can supply a hot water flow rate of a minimum of 12-15 litres per minute. The bigger the shower head the more pressure will be needed and to provide a steady temperature opt for a thermostatic shower valve.

Keep an eye out for part two of this shower guide, where you can find out about the various types of shower heads, electric showers and shower enclosures.

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Liz has a passion for home decor, interior design and renovation projects.

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