Power Shower and Hot Water System


If you want a power shower and you have a gravity fed hot water system, (hot water stored in a tank which is gravity fed by another tank full of cold water), then you will need a “power shower pump”. Pumps can vary in power from 1.0 bar to 4.0 bars (for understanding water pressures click here). The pump is inserted into the feed pipes to the shower valve. A dedicated feed from both the hot tank and the cold tank is required, as this will give a balanced and stable pressure. To ensure that the pump never drains empty and starts sucking air it must be fitted at least a metre below the outlet of the cold water supply.

Power shower pumps do increase the noise, but today’s modern pumps are much quieter than some older models. By installing the pump carefully you can bring the noise down to an absolute minimum. Fitting the pump under the bath can magnify the noise in the bathroom as can fitting it into the loft. Fitting the pump close to the base of the hot water cylinder, in the airing cupboard, is usually advisable. Pumps are supplied with flexible connections, and rubber feet to minimize vibrations, pipework should be fixed with pipe clips, and the pump should stand on a solid surface to minimize vibration, and not be screwed down as this would amplify noise. Mount everything carefully and you will keep hardly notice the pump.

Combination Boiler

This is a mains fed system that heats cold water instantaneously when a hot tap or shower is turned on. Combination boilers eliminate the need to store hot water, so a hot water cylinder in the airing cupboard or tank in the loft, is not required. This type of boiler delivers water to the taps or shower at regulated pressure that is close to mains pressures. These usually supply a plentiful water pressure to feed into shower valves, but other taps in the house drawing water at the same time will reduce pressure. You cannot however attempt to further boost the pressure by adding a pump to this system.

Unvented Pressurized System

This is a hot water cylinder that stores water at mains pressure without any need to feed it from a separate cold tank supply. Above the cylinder is an expansion vessel (round steel container) and a water pressure gauge. Water is heated by a conventional boiler and a backup electric element is also fitted inside the cylinder. These cylinders are capable of supplying hot water pressure at full mains, but are usually regulated to a max of around 3.5 bars. Showers fed from these pressurized systems will amongst the most powerful, as this type of system offers amongst the highest flow rates available, without any of the noise of electric pumps.

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