Install a Shower Pump and Say Goodbye to Weak Water Pressure

Let’s face it: If you prefer a powerful shower, then the gravity-fed water systems found in many British homes leave a lot to be desired. These low-pressure systems rely on the height of the water tank to determine water pressure for the home, and the result can be as low as 0.1 bar coming out of your shower head. Many homeowners are installing a shower pump to increase water pressure, and are seeing results up to 3 bar.

A shower pump must be installed by a professional, and he can tell you whether your water system will work with a shower pump. The general requirements for a small home are at least 225 litre cold water storage and a 120 litre cylinder for hot water. Larger homes should have 450 litre capacity for cold water and a 166 litre cylinder.

The shower pump works by pushing water rather than pulling it, and we found three different pump types available at betterbathrooms.com. The PR50D pump delivers 1.5 bar, the BP65D offers 2 bar, and the BP100D turns the water pressure up to 3 bar. It isn’t just a matter of choosing the most powerful pump, though, as a 3 bar pump will deliver 2 bar water pressure in certain settings. Your professional installer can help you determine the correct pump for your needs.

Running a water pump does come with a bit of noise, but considering the alternative – living with weak water pressure coming out of your shower heads or replacing the system at great expense – you won’t mind at all.


Fitting a power shower

When it comes to installing power showers it probably pays to opt for an all in one model with an integral pump. If you are merely unhappy with the performance of an existing shower, then it’s much cheaper and more convenient to plumb in a separate pump.

Whichever system you choose, check that your cold water storage tank is big enough – typically a minimum capacity of 115 litres (25 gallons). Some manufacturers of showers also recommend a hot water cylinder with a minimum 161 litre (35 gallons) capacity. This type of shower needs an electrical supply to drive the pump. The pump is wired to the ring-main by means of a switch fused connection unit installed outside most bathrooms, or you can fit a ceiling-mounted double-pole switch inside the bathroom. The shower pump switches on automatically as soon as the shower valve is operated.

To plumb showers with an integral pump, you can run dedicated hot and cold supplies to the shower, as when fitting gravity-fed showers. Alternatively, you can connect the hot-water supply directly to the cylinder by using a cylinder flange.

All-in-one showers are prone to vibration: on a timber-frame wall this can create considerable noise. Isolate the unit by mounting it on rubber tap washers slid over the fixing screws.

Always place the pump somewhere convenient for servicing as this will save time in the long run should the pump require any necessary repairs.

All tiling and grouting needs to be completed before mounting the shower on the wall. 


Low cost plumbing for your bathroom

There are many places where you can find low cost plumbing supplies for your bathroom. The internet is the best place to look, as items are usually cheaper online than in the store. Low Cost Plumbing Supplies, a national distributor, offers a wide range of affordable plumbing supplies for bathrooms, including plumbing kits for £5.50.

Looking at websites that allow you to compare prices is a good idea. This will help you to find affordable plumbing supplies, and you can also read reviews from other customers to get an idea of how good the product is and whether or not they recommend it. Sites such as eBay and Amazon offer new and used items, and they are ideal for those looking for affordable products.

If you already have all your plumbing fitted but there is a problem with it, then you may want to look around for companies that offer affordable plumbing services. Websites such as yell.com will help you to search for affordable plumbing services in your area. If you have an experienced plumber in your family, then perhaps they will offer their services at a discounted price.

QS Supplies are another company that offer plumbing supplies such as shower pumps and plumbing tools at affordable prices. They also offer brass plumbing products, which would be ideal for those who have a themed bathroom. The company offers a selection of top brand names, including HIB and Bristan, which is ideal for those looking for top quality products for their bathroom.


Purchasing a shower head

Shower heads are often a secondary consideration, coming in second place to the function or the design of the shower unit. The choice of shower head is important, because it will be the point which delivers the water, so you want one which will suit your particular style and needs.

Generally, the larger the shower head, the more water it will deliver, so look for a good sized item. It can also be very handy to have a second hand-held unit, which is great if you want to wash a particular area and gives you more directional control of the water as required.

Overhead shower heads are also becoming very popular, particularly with power showers. This is mainly because the shower cascades down from the above, rather than being directional, although this really is a matter of individual choice.

If you like a gentle and relaxing shower, but your partner likes a shower that really invigorates, then why not think about having a shower which does both, with the shower head being capable of delivering a low pressure shower or a really powerful jet. This is the perfect multi-functional device.

The choice of the shower head should not be made on aesthetics alone, but, instead, should take into account the type of shower you like; the amount of water to use (this is vital if you are on a meter) and what your needs are for now and for the future.  Once you have decided on these issues then you only need to choose the most appropriate shower head, which will fit your needs perfectly.


Shower pumps to boost water pressure

Choosing a pump to power your shower or water system, may not seem like a big issue. Perhaps not, but you need to find a pump which best meets your needs.  So you need one which suits your budget and your system.

If you have a water system which has poor water pressure, then you may need a pump to boost the water pressure between the shower head and the water system. Or it may be that you want to have more than one shower head, in which case you will possibly need a dual pump.

Pumps can vary in quality, size and noise levels, so try to acquire the best possible pump you can afford.  Whilst the initial cost may be slightly higher, you will find that you reap the benefits over time, with increased performance and the pump lasting for a long time. Cheaper pumps can soon burn out; can be noisy or even let air into the shower system, which affects the temperature of the water.

Stuart Turner pumps are generally regarded as efficient and they have been in existence for over one hundred years, enabling the company to enjoy an enviable position as one of the leading forces in the shower pump industry and one which deals with both domestic and commercial premises.

Pumps are available for a wide variety of applications and with Stuart Turner’s extensive experience their products have been designed to overcome most problems associated with either reduced water pressure or simply householders’ demands for increased pressure.


Shower Installation Considerations

When you decide to install a shower, you need to carefully consider two issues.  First of all there is the issue of whether the water pressure will cope with the addition of a shower. Secondly, you need to think about drainage for the unit and its associated piping. It is always worth checking these points out before you buy the shower and if you have any doubts consult a professional.

If your water pressure is low and your water supply is often quite weak in terms of flow, then you need to think about how things can be improved. First of all you could lift the cold water cistern at least 150mm to see if this makes any difference, (it usually does).

If this does not help, you may have to fit a pump, which acts as a booster. This usually does the trick and you will find that your new shower will work perfectly.

Once you have addressed any water pressure concerns, you need to think about pipes and drainage. There is one golden rule when thinking about drains and pipes, ‘the shorter and straighter, the better’. Basically, you do not want unnecessarily long pipes and drains fitted, so always try to make sure that you can link into nearby existing services, which will also minimise the cost. Short and straight pipes will also give you the maximum water pressure available, so it is worth making sure that you carefully plan the route they will take. 


Shower Pumps

A good pump can create a really powerful shower, even if you live in a very large house where water pressure may be affected by the size of the house and usage at peak times.  One of the best types of pumps which you can fit is known as a salamander pump.  This pump will actually give the water pressure a real boost, so that you find your shower suddenly is a real deluge of water, whereas before it was a very gentle experience!

One of the benefits of the salamander pump is that it is very ‘plumber friendly’ and is marketed with the strap line ‘fit and forget’.  This means that it is easy for a plumber to install, making it quite a straightforward process and reducing plumbing bills and also it is so reliable that it will perform its function simply, without you having to keep calling a plumber back to rectify any problems. 

Whichever type of shower pump you choose, salamander or another type, make sure that it will reduce any possibility of aeration. Aeration is a term used to describe air getting into a system when you fit a pump to the cylinder or storage tank.  If aeration occurs you may find that the temperature of your shower can fluctuate or find the pump somewhat noisy.  Salamander pumps will usually remedy this problem as part of their design, so they may be worth the extra cost, but be sure to check out the risk of aeration prior to choosing a pump.