All You Need To Know About Showers
Your Complete Guide to Showers
Considering a new shower for your bathroom? You’ve come to the right place! There are many important factors to consider when buying a new shower. At Bathshack, we are here to make choosing the right shower a breeze. This guide will help you understand all the information you need before making your purchase.
Before we start, ask yourself these questions…
When trying to work out which type of shower you should choose, you need to be aware of your bathroom set-up.
- What type of system do you have? Pressurised systems and gravity-fed systems work very differently, so this will affect what type of shower you need.
- How is your water pressure? If you are using mains pressure, low pressure is less likely to be an issue. If you do have a low-pressure system, there are ways to boost it through your shower.
- How big is your water tank? Do you find you often run out of hot water? You can address this concern with an electric shower.
If you are unsure whether the type of shower you have chosen is suitable for your system, it’s best to consult a plumber before making your purchase.
Now that we’ve got the important questions out of the way, let’s look at the different types of showers available on the market.
Electric showers are one of the most popular shower types in a bathroom.
How do they work?
An electric shower heats water by using an electrical heating element built into the body of the unit.
What sets them apart from most types of showers is that they only require a cold water supply. Instead of taking hot water from your boiler or hot water tank, they can instantly heat water themselves. They mix this hot water with cold water to achieve the required temperature. It makes them a good choice for busy family households, as they are very convenient. It also means no more arguing over who used all the hot water!
Electric showers offer a lower flow rate than power showers. So if you are on a water meter, you could save on your water bills.
There are 2 types of electric showers on the market today: Mains Fed and Tank Fed.
This is the ‘standard’ electric shower. It’s fed by your home’s mains water supply (the same feed as your kitchen tap), which generates enough pressure for the shower to operate. This means you have a constant supply of clean, safe water for your shower. Mains fed electric showers also allow you to choose a more stylish shower unit rather than just a white box on the wall.
For homes that have no mains water supply, this shower is the perfect solution for instant hot water. Connected to your cold-water storage tank, tank fed showers have a pump which boosts the water through the unit, so it has similar pressure to that of a mains fed shower. This is ideal for homes with lower water pressure.
What is a mixer shower?
Mixer showers take water from your hot and cold water supplies to create the right temperature. Most mixer showers do not need a source of electricity to run as they are purely mechanical - which is great for power cuts.
Mixer showers are good for large hot water tanks and work best when you have a reliable hot water supply. This means that your shower won’t provide hot water if the boiler fails. Performance also depends on your household’s water pressure, but a shower pump can help boost a lower pressure (you will need a power source for this). Be aware that if two people are showering at the same time, the pressure will dip.
Some mixer showers offer thermostatic valve control. These valves quickly react to sudden temperature changes to prevent scalding. So, if someone turns on a cold water tap in the kitchen, the thermostatic valve ensures nobody in the shower is shocked by a sudden jet of hot water.
Mixer showers have a good array of versatile style options. These are generally split into two categories: exposed and concealed valve showers.
Let’s take a look at these more closely…
Exposed shower valves are mounted upon the exterior of your shower wall. This connects up to the hot and cold pipes in the wall, and a shower hose is then used to connect the valve to a shower rail kit. Exposed valves can be used in both modern and traditional bathrooms.
The most common type of exposed valve is the bar valve. These are simple and basic showering valves that usually come in a bar shape with exposed installation. Most new bar valves have pipe centres fixed at 150mm.
As they only have one outlet, a bar valve can be a great solution for a low pressure system. Just make sure to check the minimum operating pressure of your chosen valve before purchasing. They are also incredibly practical and easy to use. Temperature and flow controls are all situated within the valve, so fine-tuning your shower is hassle-free. They are used along with a sliding rail kit so you can easily adjust the height and position of your shower hose.
Our bar valves come in many colours, shapes, sizes, and styles, so you are sure to find one that suits your overall vision. All bar valves require fast fix brackets for installation.
A concealed valve is built into the wall of the shower enclosure, so all that’s visible is a neat control panel and your shower head. This creates a sleek, minimalist look that’s perfect for a modern bathroom. Note that a concealed valve requires a pressurised system.
These valves can be placed in a practical location, so you can turn on the shower without getting a blast of cold water on your arm! The system will need to be fitted in two sessions (pre and post-tiling/panelling), so remember to keep all parts from the kit safe until the tiling, or panelling is complete.
You may be worried about having to rip out the whole wall to fix any issues with a concealed valve, but fear not. If you encounter any problems with the valve, it is relatively easy to mend by removing the faceplate.
Top Tip: If the concealed valve is mounted above a bath, you could use it to fill the bath using the overflow. This removes the requirement for additional bath taps.
If you have a large hot water tank and are looking for style as well as function, look no further than a mixer shower!
What is a power shower?
Like a mixer shower, a power shower combines water from your hot and cold water supplies. There is often some confusion over whether a power shower is the same as an electric shower. Here are the main features that differentiate power showers from electric showers:
- Unlike an electric shower, a power shower requires both a hot and cold water supply.
- A power shower does require electricity, but it does not heat your water.
- Power showers use a built-in pump to boost the pressure of the water.
Other key features of power showers:
- Powers showers are best for improving weak water pressure, so they are great for gravity fed water systems.
- Power showers tend to use more water than other types of showers. However, many come with eco options so you can use as little power as you need.
- Installation should be quick and easy if you are replacing a mixer shower. However, it doesn’t directly replace a bar valve as the pipes will require adjustment.
- We offer both manual and thermostatic power showers. Remember, thermostatic showers prevent scalding by maintaining your desired temperature while showering.
If you want the style and functionality of a mixer shower but you have a low pressure system, we highly recommend one of our power showers.
Digital showers are the height of bathroom technology. They are ideal for anyone who wants to make a high-tech upgrade in their bathroom Their stand-out feature is their control panel, which allows you to adjust the water temperature and flow rate more accurately. Some are even compatible with smart devices!
These showers work like a mixer shower by taking hot water straight from your boiler and providing thermostatic valve control. At Bathshack, we have digital showers for all types of water systems. There are models available for mains pressure water systems and combi boilers, and pumped options for low pressure or gravity fed systems. Be sure to check what digital shower is compatible with your system by speaking to one of our team or consulting a plumber.
Where the magic happens!
While it may not look very attractive, the digital mixing box is the hub of a digital shower. It is where the control panel sends its signal, either through a wired or wireless connection. Consider the positioning of this box in your home, as it should be easily accessible.
Looking for greater control over the temperature and water flow of your shower? Choose a digital shower and take your bathroom routine to the next level!
Now that we’ve covered showers, let’s take a look at the different types of shower heads and accessories you might need.
Shower Heads and Accessories
Other than the shower itself, your showerhead is one of the most important components you will need to think about when building your shower. We also have a large range of accessories and extras available so you can enhance your showering experience.
This showerhead is fixed to the wall, and the spray is directed down at a fixed angle. Our models boast contemporary functions such as adjustable spray patterns and flow strength. For example, the Hudson Reed 200mm Wall Mounted Fixed Head Shower can switch between a waterfall and a regular shower flow with a valve diverter.
A rain head shower does exactly what its name implies. It provides a showering experience that simulates realistic rainfall. Many of our rain head shower diverters are engineered to give you numerous showering settings which you can adjust to your preference.
A shower arm is the pipe that connects a fixed showerhead to the water supply in the wall. Lengths and styles vary, which offers you flexibility when mounting your showerhead.
These kits comprise a handset fit into a height-adjustable bracket that’s fixed to the wall. You can also detach the shower head for easy rinsing and for cleaning your bath or shower.
This all-in-one unit keeps things simple. They tuck away all necessary components such as valves and pipework inside a slender metal unit to give the space a modern and minimalist look.
Do you want to turn your shower into a spa treatment? Install a few of these in your shower and enjoy as the soothing jets of water massage your body after a long day. This option might also be suitable for someone who struggles with mobility issues. If you are being sprayed with water from different angles, you can move your body less.
Shower seats give you somewhere to sit while you shower, helping to keep you safe, comfortable, and supported. They are perfect for those living with restricted mobility. Many of our shower seats can be neatly folded away when not in use.
As covered in the section on mixer showers, a shower pump boosts your water pressure to help you gain more power in the shower!
Summing things up
We understand this is a lot of information to take in, so here’s a quick summary of what we’ve covered:
- The water system you have will determine the shower you need. Pressurised systems and gravity-fed systems work very differently. You also need to consider the size of your water tank
- Electric showers heat your cold water supply using a heating element. There are 2 types: Mains Fed and Tank Fed. Choose one according to your system and water pressure.
- Mixer showers do not need a source of electricity as they use both your hot and cold water supply. Performance depends on your household’s water pressure, but a shower pump can help boost a lower pressure.
- Power showers work like a mixer shower by mixing your hot and cold water supply. They are best for improving weak water pressure, so they are ideal for gravity fed systems.
- Digital showers have a control panel which allows you to adjust your water temperature and flow rate more accurately. They work like a mixer shower and provide thermostatic valve control. We have digital showers for all types of water systems.
- We also offer a wide range of shower heads and accessories to enhance the style, comfort and functionality of your shower.