Install a Power Shower
There are many types of shower that can be installed in a property. The following information is designed to aid in the process of selecting a shower by outlining the basic installation process required to install a power shower - it is not intended to provide detailed fitting instructions.*
The most important thing to realise about power showers is that they do not heat the water, they merely pump it. They basically consist of a pump and a mixer valve and come in one of two types:
- integral power shower
- composite power shower
With and integral power shower the pump and valve are contained within a box that fits on the wall and looks similar in appearance to an electirc shower. With a composite power shower the mixer valve and pump are two separate items enabling you to choose a mixer valve/pump combination that suits your needs best (see our mixer valve and mixer valve installation pages for more information).
Power showers are suitable for installation with low pressure stored hot and cold water and are not suitable for use with combination boilers or un-vented high pressure storage systems. Ideally they should be fed by their own dedicated hot and cold feed pipes to ensure the flow of water to the pump is not affected by other appliances in the house calling on the supply. There will be a minimum head required by the manufacturers which usually means that the supply tanks need to be sited in the attic. Combination cylinders, where the cold water storage tank sits on top of the hot water storage can be problematic for use with power showers for 2 reasons:
- power showers require a lot of water and these tanks are not always large enough to meet the supply requirements
- unless the shower cubicle or bath is sited on a floor below the cylinder there will usually not be a sufficient height diference betweenthe bottom of the supply tank and the shower head
Water needs to flow through the unit when the mixer valve is opened. This triggers flow switches in the pump to kick-in and start pumping. If the shower head is above the supply tank this will not occur as water cannot run uphill. There are some manufacturers that provide "negative head" kits for power showers but it is best to get a professional plumber to assess the feasability before buying the unit.
The pump or the composite power shower will also require an electrical feed but unlike an electric shower it can be fed from the ring main via a suitable connection and safety device (dependant on the local regulations). If a separate pump is being used it is usually easiest to install it in the airing cupboard. There are many regulation covering the installation of electrical equipment inside the bathroom so installation here can be problematic especially because the pump will need to be accessible for maintenance.
Shower cubicles utilising a shower panel that incorporate body jets and an array of shower heads will require powerful pumps and a heating system beefy enough for the task - but another thing to keep in mind is the drainage. Very large volumes of water need to be ducted away from the shower floor quickly or water levels can start to rise within the shower tray and can even overflow in the worst case. It might be necessary to install waste pipes larger than standard 40mm to ensure the drainage can cope with the deluge!
See the following pages for more information on installing each of these showers:
- installing an electric shower
- installing a mixer shower
- installing a power shower
- installing a venturi shower
*There are many rules and regulations that govern the installation of bathroom, plumbing and electrical components. These vary from time to time and also from country to country. Always use a qualified tradesman to install plumbing or electrical components to ensure your products are installed in accordance with the local regulations applicable at the time of installation.