Monthly Archives: February 2012

What are the Benefits of Electric Showers?

For most of us, having a shower is an essential part of our daily routine. Whether you prefer a shower first thing in the morning to wake you up; or when you return home from work to wash the day away; or last thing at night before bed to wind down, it’s hard to imagine life without our shower, that in fact sometimes we take them for granted.

Do you know what you would do, for example, if your boiler failed, or there was a problem with your hot water and you couldn’t use your shower? One solution is the electric shower, which is designed to run independently from your hot water system.

Electric showers have come a long way since they were first developed, and their increase in popularity is thanks to a more versatile and evolved product. Today, around half of all new showers bought in the UK are electric showers. Read on to find out why we love electric showers…

Electric Showers can be Fitted in Almost Any Household:
One of the obvious benefits to electric showers is that they can be fitted in any household with an electricity supply, regardless of the hot water system. Electric showers are connected to the cold mains fed water supply and heat this water instantly on demand. For this reason, electric showers can be an economical choice as there will be no hot water wasted, but bear in mind that it does take energy to heat the water so taking long showers will not be economical.

Electric Showers are Great for Busy Households:
Electric showers heat water instantly and on demand, so there is no chance that the hot water supply will run out. Hot water will always be available at the touch of a button. If you live in a busy household where there’s usually a queue for the shower in the morning, with an electric shower you won’t have to worry about the being the last in and having a cold shower! You can also say goodbye to waiting around for the hot water tank to refill with an electric shower.

Styles to Suit Your Bathroom:
Electric showers have come a long way since merely being white boxes on the wall. Electric showers now come in a range of styles and designs, from classic white, to gloss black and even satin chrome. Accessories are available in stylish chrome to complement any bathroom design.

Available in Different Power Ratings to Suit Your Needs:
Electric showers are available in a range of different kilowatt ratings, usually from 8.5kW to 10.5kW. A higher kilowatt rating will give a better performance shower, but will obviously cost more to run as it will take more energy to run. The higher the kilowatt rating, the more powerful the heating element is inside the shower, and therefore the more powerful the flow of water.

Why not take a look at our comprehensive range of electric showers? We’re bound to have something to suit you!

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Crazy Shower Caps!

Shower caps are funny things. Many of us have them – they play an essential role in keeping our hair dry when we need to have a shower but don’t necessarily want to wash our hair, yet they have this reputation of being slightly old-fashioned and ‘un-cool’. Well, no longer do shower caps have to be boring, embarrassing items that you keep hidden away in the bathroom.

While doing some online research, we came across a website selling novelty shower caps, which are sure to brighten up even the earliest of morning showers.

This funky shower cap featuring a Hippy Chick theme is a particular favourite in our office:

What’s your favourite? Check out the whole range at http://dillydaydream.com/

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“Why is my shower cold?” and other Shower Troubleshooting Questions

When something goes wrong with your shower, one of the first places you might turn to is the internet. A lot of people who visit our website do so for the helpful Frequently Asked Questions we have listed on there. It’s the first port of call for anyone experiencing problems with their shower, and we’ve tried to cover most of the common problems that can occur with both mixer and electric showers.

Below we have listed some of the most frequent questions we get asked, but if yours isn’t listed here then take a look at our Shower FAQs for more shower troubleshooting questions. If you still can’t find the answer you need, our friendly technical team will be able to help.

1.) Why is my shower cold?

Electric Showers:

There are a number of possible causes to why your electric shower is running cold and has no hot water. Try the following steps to solve the problem:

  1. Check the power supply to the unit; make sure the isolator switch is turned on. Are there any tripped switches or blown fuses?
  2. Showerhead and hose: The shower will only function correctly with the hose and head provided. Replacement heads and hoses can be bought from our online parts store.
  3. Is there sufficient water pressure in your mains water? The minimum working pressure required for our electric showers is approximately 1 bar at 8 litres per minute. If your pressure is adequate, the small white plunger between the black heater unit and the electrical connectors will drop down.

Mixer Showers:

  1. Check to see there is a supply of hot water available at your other hot outlets.
  2. Check for air in the hot supply and for a possible kinked hose. Refer to your user instructions in the fluctuating temperature or reduced flow rate section.

2.) My electric shower is leaking from the bottom of the unit

If the leak occurs when the shower is turned on then this will be due to the Pressure Relief Device (PRD) activating.
To meet European Standards, your shower unit features an integral PRD which is designed to provide a degree of shower unit protection should an excessive build up of pressure occur within the shower. Build up of pressure would normally be due to a kinked or damaged hose or blocked shower head.

Please note that your shower will only function correctly with the hose and head provided. Failure to do so may result in the operation of the PRD.

If the PRD has activated then it will need to be replaced. Replacement PRDs can be purchased directly from us, please visit our online Shower Parts Store.

3.) My mixer shower has a dripping shower head

A dripping shower head could be caused by water retention. Shower heads and hoses retain a considerable volume of water once the shower is turned off and therefore water will expel from the shower head. To check for this and fix the dripping shower head:

For adjustable height shower heads – Disconnect the hose from the outlet end (opposite end of the head/hose) and examine to see if the water continuously drips directly from the outlet.

If the dripping stops there is no fault with the shower or the shower cartridge. Ensure that your shower head is free from scale build up and that your hose connections are tight as these can also exacerbate this problem.

If the dripping continues please call our customer services team.

For fixed head showers – Unscrew the shower head from the arm and examine to see if the water continues to flow or drip. If water continues dripping with the shower head removed, contact our Customer Services team for advice. Please note pre-1996 fixed heads (with grey rubber gaitor) do not have the facility to remove the head and check.

If the water stops dripping ensure that the shower head is free from scale build up.

Depending on the type of water system in your home you may need to take different action:

For unvented water systems – This system requires regular servicing in the form of recharging the air gap. Instructions will be on the side of the hot water cylinder. If the air gap has been depleted this can cause a drip from the shower head. For further advice on this, please contact your cylinder manufacturer. 

For combination or multipoint boilers – The pressure may be too high. Our shower cartridges are designed to control static pressure to up to approximately 7 – 10 bar depending on your model. Please note that pressures can increase at night by an additional 30%. If pressures do approach the maximum limit then a ‘Pressure Reducing Valve’ must be fitted. This also applies for pressure surges.

If none of the above relate to your problem, please contact our customer services team.

4.) My electric shower has a low flow of water

There are a number of possible causes of no or low water flow in your electric shower. Follow these steps to try to find the cause of the problem:

  1. Check the power supply to unit is working.
  2. Ensure the water supply to the shower is turned on and the isolation valve is fully opened.
  3. Check to see if the water control is turned fully clockwise. Turn the flow control knob anticlockwise to increase water flow.
  4. Check that there isn’t an outlet blockage:

– Disconnect the head from the hose and run the shower. If water flows, then the head is blocked.
– If there is no flow of water, remove the hose from the outlet. If water flows then the hose is blocked.
– If there is still no flow once the hose has been removed then there is a possible restriction in the supply to the shower, or debris in the filter. For advice on debris in the filter, please refer to the shower installation and user guide or contact customer services. Additional shower installation guides can be downloaded from our website.

5.) How does an electric shower work?

An electric shower takes water directly from the mains cold water supply rather than using your household hot water system. When the shower is switched on, the water is heated by passing over a heating element, similar to that in a kettle. The temperature of the water can be adjusted by restricting and increasing the rate of water flow over the heating element. Restricting the water flow means the water is heated for longer, and so reaches a higher temperature.

Electric showers are ideal for busy and large households, or if there is a limited supply of hot water available. As the water is heated on demand, electric showers are ready to use at the touch of a button whenever required.

For any further questions, please see our electric shower FAQs and mixer shower FAQs.

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Add Some Fun With A Digital Shower

It’s shower time for this adorable little Chow Chow, but he seems to be a little bit reluctant to go ahead!

If scenes like this are all too familiar with your family (maybe with your children, not the dog!), with the newly available Gainsborough Digital Shower, hopefully they will be a thing of the past. Your kids will love watching the red flashing lights – and when they stop flashing, it means the shower is ready to go! Our digital showers are really easy to operate – the simple push button control means the whole family will be able to use them. Clever digital technology and precise temperature control mean they’re safe too.

Digital Shower Push Button Control

Simple Push Button Control

Also available in a pumped version for Gravity-Fed water systems, our digital showers are currently only available to buy direct from us and come with a 3 year guarantee, so you can sit back, relax and enjoy your new shower. If you’d like to find out more about Digital or have any questions, our friendly technical team are on hand to answer any queries you may have.

Give them a call on 01959 560760 (Monday – Friday 8:30 – 5:00) or send them an email.

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Top Tips For Winter Shower Care

Now that the cold weather has arrived, you may notice a change in your shower’s performance. Calls into our contact centre increase by around 20% at this time of year, with many of our customers wishing to replace older showers that have stopped working, or seeking advice about how to improve their shower’s performance during the cold weather. This guide to caring for your shower in the winter should help you understand and overcome the most common problems.

Why is my electric shower running cold?

Electric showers have a tendency to struggle during periods of cold weather, and you may find that the water is not as warm as usual, or the flow rate is reduced.

The reason behind this is that the water being fed into the shower is much colder than normal, and consequently the shower has to work much harder to heat the water to your usual temperature. The shower’s performance can also be affected due to the heavy demand on power over the winter which can cause the voltage to drop.

Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do to resolve this problem. You could consider upgrading your electric shower to one with a higher kilowatt rating (although bear in mind that this may require a Part P registered electrician to assess your cabling and install the new shower). Another option is to switch your electric shower to a mixer shower. The cold weather does not affect mixer showers as much as they take water from your hot water system rather than heating the mains fed water.

Finally, if possible, try to avoid using the electric shower first thing in the morning. Overnight, the temperature of the pipes will drop considerably meaning that the resulting temperature of the water will be much lower. If possible, try to use your electric shower later in the day when the outside temperature will be higher.

Digital Showers in the Winter

Digital showers can also suffer in the colder months. Issues can include the shower starting briefly but then switching off, or the lights illuminating but no water flow. These issues occur more frequently with customers whose processor (the mixer part of your shower which blends the hot and cold water together) is stored in the loft, or an area which is subject to the extreme cold weather. Extreme cold temperatures can affect the thermistor within the processor causing it to go into ‘safe mode’.

If your processor stops working, the first step would be to turn the power supply off for a few minutes before switching it back on.

Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to prevent this from happening again.

  • Ensure that the pipe work to and from the processor is lagged (special tubular foam insulation)
  • Place a cardboard box over the processor but ensure that there are at least 2-3 inches of air clearance between the box and the processor. Add ventilation holes for pumped models. Do not wrap the processor or place a blanket around it or the cardboard box. Please note that it may be necessary to remove the cardboard box during the warmer summer months.

We’re part of the Aqualisa Group, and more information on digital shower care in the winter can be found on their website: Caring for Digital Showers in the Cold Weather.

Other things you can do to reduce the effect of the cold on your showering experience include: 

  • Insulating pipes with foam lagging;
  • Buying a cover for your hot water cylinder if it’s located in a cold place;
  • Ensuring that you boiler gets a service and is running efficiently.

And if all else fails….

If your shower does break down in the cold weather it can be a stressful experience trying to replace or fix it. Older showers are more prone to fail in the winter months and you may need to replace yours with a new, more efficient model. In our Winter Sale, prices start from just £61.50 for our 8.5kW se white electric shower so there’s never been a better time to buy. If you’re looking to install a higher kilowatt electric shower to better cope with the cold, prices start from only £91.99 for our 10.5kW se white electric shower. Alternatively, switch to a mixer shower or join the digital shower revolution. All our showers come with free next working day delivery (conditions may apply) and a free guarantee as standard.

If you simply need to replace a part that has failed, our comprehensive online parts store should stock the part you need.

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Add Some Bling To Your Bathroom!

For those looking for the flashiest of flushes, how about a toilet decorated with 72,000 pieces of Swarovski crystal?

 Swarovski Toilet

Valued at around £83,000, this Luxury Loo took around a month for Swarovski jewellers to complete and went on display in Tokyo in December, at a Lixil showroom in Ginza, one of the city’s shopping districts.

The Japanese are well known for their love of advanced toilets, including preset water temperature and heated seats, however, they will have to admire the Flashy Throne from afar as it isn’t available to buy.

Now, while our showers may not be as glamorous as a Swarovski toilet, our CSE electric showers are finished in beautiful satin chrome, allowing you to have your own ‘bit of bling’ in your bathroom.

All accessories in the cse range are all fully chromed, giving your shower a contemporary look and feel.

Browse through our range of our satin chrome electric showers to find your next shower.

And if your bathroom budget doesn’t quite stretch to £83,000, then how about £50 for a Swarovski container? This little gem is available directly from Swarovski and would be fantastic as a glam toothbrush holder!

Swarovski Container

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A Beginner’s Guide To Showers

For our very first post let’s start at the beginning, which is usually a very good place to start!

Whereas once upon a time the bath was always the most important feature in the bathroom, today, many people prefer to have showers over baths. Showers are quick and easy and suit those of us who lead busy lifestyles, making them ideal for everyday bathing, while baths are now usually reserved for when we want to take some time out and completely relax.

Shower technology can be confusing, however, and if you’re looking to buy a new shower it’s important to know which type of shower is right for you and your household.

So, which shower is right for you?

Firstly, there are 3 types of showers available: Digital, Mixer and Electric. The type of shower you choose will depend on your household water system as well as your specific requirements. Here is a rundown of all three types of shower:

Electric Showers

Electric showers are very popular as they are generally quite cheap to buy. They work from your mains cold water supply so can be installed in most households. The shower has a heating element which heats the water as it passes through (similar to a kettle) and delivers hot water. Usually, the higher the temperature, the lower the flow of water will be (as the water needs to spend more time heating on the element). Electric showers are available in different kilowatt ratings, with the most popular being 8.5 kW, 9.5 kW and 10.5 kW. The higher the kilowatt rating, the better performance you will receive (as the heating element is more powerful and can therefore heat the water more quickly).  It may be necessary for a Part P registered electrician to install cables depending on which kilowatt rating you go for. 

8.5 se Electric Shower

For larger families, or households with limited hot water, electric showers are a fantastic option as they heat water instantly. Electric showers are also ideal in an en-suite or second bathroom as they will not deplete the hot water supply. The look and style of an electric shower can vary from classic white, to stylish black or even chrome effect, so you’re bound to find a model to suit the décor in your bathroom.

See our range of electric showers.

Mixer Showers

As the name suggests, mixer showers take water from your hot and cold water supplies and blend it to reach your desired temperature. The shower model you need to buy will depend on the type of hot water system in your household – be it high-pressure, combi boiler or gravity-fed (low pressure). Most mixer showers today are thermostatic, which means that there are no fluctuations in the temperature of the shower should someone else in the house use water at the same time.

Ambassador Gravity-Fed Exposed Mixer Shower

Mixer showers are frequently available in stylish chrome finish, and often have minimalist designs which will suit almost any bathroom. When buying a mixer shower, you usually have the choice of either an exposed or concealed option. Exposed showers feature the valve on display, and are therefore easier to install with minimum disruption to the tiling and décor of your bathroom. Concealed showers have the valve hidden behind the wall, giving a clean and minimalist look, but are more complex to install and may therefore have higher associated labour costs.

Browse through our mixer showers.

Digital Showers

Digital showers offer unbeatable convenience combining clever technology, easy installation and even easier operation. Digital showers are simple and easy for all of the family to use as they feature one on-off push button with safe, precise temperature control. Powered by a processor which can be located in the loft, airing cupboard or under the bath, the shower heats the water to your desired temperature and the LED display lets you know when the shower is ready – meaning no more waiting under cold water for the shower to heat up. Some digital showers can even be powered by a remote control (at a distance of up to 10 metres), meaning that you can start the shower before you have even left your bed! Digital showers are available either pumped (for gravity-fed systems) or un-pumped (for high-pressure and combi systems) meaning there will be a digital shower to suit almost every household. Unlike traditional showers, digital showers can be installed in as little as 2 hours, meaning labour costs could be dramatically reduced.

Digital Showers

We have 2 digital showers to choose from: Our Digital Shower (for high pressure and combi systems) and our Pumped Digital Shower (for gravity-fed systems).

If you require any further assistance, don’t hesitate to contact our Customer Services team on 01959 560760 who will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

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