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Showering Savvy – How To Choose Your Perfect Shower

Showers were once considered a luxury, but today are regarded as necessities by many of us. Now while we all love a good soak after a stressful day, it’s the invigorating, get-ready-for-the-day shower that most of use prefer to jump into in the mornings. However, if you’re thinking about investing in a new shower, it’s definitely worth taking a bit more time to make sure your future morning showers give you the desired deluge you want rather than a disappointing drizzle.

There’s so much to think about when buying a new shower – so many different styles and technologies,  so it can really help to break down the areas you need to consider one by one. Please see our handy infographic later on in this post for more help.

What Do You Want From Your New Shower?

Will it be a family shower that needs to accommodate the morning rush? Is it a secondary shower – for an ensuite, cloakroom or annexe perhaps? Either way, you’ll need to make sure your hot water system can cope.

There are 3 main groups of showering technologies – electric, mixer and digital. If you’d rather not use your home’s hot water system (i.e. from an immersion heater or combi boiler), then an electric shower is your best option as it provides hot water on demand. Electric showers are available with different power outputs, depending on your requirements and any wiring that is already in place. Our electric showers start from £61.99, so they’re an excellent choice if you’re on a budget or simply looking to give your bathroom a facelift.

If you’re happy to use your home’s hot water system, however, then you’ll be able to choose a mixer or digital shower. These types of showers vary enormously in their styling and functionality, but your final choice will be determined by the type of plumbing system your home has. If you’re in any doubt at all, it’s always wise to seek professional advice – it can save you a lot of problems, and money, later on.

Take a look at our handy infographic below – it should guide you through to your perfect shower.

Choosing The Perfect Shower

Plus, our ‘Help Me Choose‘ section on our website explains exactly how gravity-fed, combi-boiler and mains-fed (high pressure) plumbing systems work, and even better, will then suggest the most suitable showers for you.

What Do You Want The Shower To Look Like?

Once you’ve got your plumbing system sussed and decided what type of shower you want, the next thing to consider is the look and feel of your new shower. Most showers are now quite contemporary in their styling, but it’s probably best to avoid anything that is too radical looking. Make sure you choose a design that you feel comfortable with and won’t look outdated in a couple of years. Technologies change all the time, but when it comes to aesthetics, it’s always best to opt for simple, clean lines and stylish chrome finishes that will endure the test of time and look great in both traditional and modern bathroom schemes.

Customer expectations of the ‘showering experience’ have grown and manufacturers have responded to this extra demand by integrating new and improved features and embracing digital technology. Digital showers have very sophisticated technology and are great for all the family.

Who Is Going To Use The Shower?

Accessibility and safety should be two key factors you consider when buying and installing a new shower if you’re hoping to use it for many years to come. It’s important to think about how your own needs might change. Families with young children need super-safe, easy to use showers – so features such as push buttons and height adjustable handsets will allow the whole family to shower in comfort. Similarly, older users need to consider reduced mobility and should go for a shower with simple, solid controls that won’t leave them struggling with temperature or flow controls.

Where Should You Buy The Shower From?

These days, you can buy a cheap new shower in your shopping trolley on your way round a supermarket, but it is worth checking out specialist manufacturers, particularly those you can buy direct from. They can offer you quality aftersales support, and this shouldn’t be sniffed at – you never know when you may need some technical assistance with your shower. Buying online can be a convenient way to buy a  new shower – there’s no need to leave your house and you can order at any time of the day. Plus, with extra ‘goodies’ like our Free Next Working Day Delivery, you can have your new shower in no time!

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Top Five Benefits of Combi Showers

It’s hard to imagine a daily routine that doesn’t feature a hot shower. Most houses these days have modern hot water systems allowing an instant supply of hot water. In particular, combination boilers used in conjunction with mixer showers have become increasingly popular in the UK because of the wide range of benefits they offer. These types of mixer showers are commonly referred to as combi showers. Here are our top five benefits of combi showers.

1.) Combi Boilers are Efficient
Modern combi boilers only heat water when required, and so can be considered more energy efficient than some hot water systems. Because of this, combi boilers provide an instant and constant supply of hot water which results in an enjoyable showering experience when using a combi shower. Plus, combi boilers don’t require special tanks for storing hot water which saves space in the home.

2.) Easy to Install and Maintain
Generally, combi showers are easy to install and maintain. They don’t require pumps to increase water pressure and achieve an excellent and reliable shower performance.

3.) Great Range of Features
Most modern combi showers features thermostatic temperature controls. These eliminate sudden temperature fluctuations when water is used elsewhere in the house and prevent scalding – particularly handy if there are young children or elderly relatives using the shower.

4.) Stylish Designs
Combi showers are available in a range of appealing designs. It’s possible to choose from exposed and concealed models which offer two completely different styles of design. Exposed combi showers features the valve and pipework on top of the tiles or wall, whilst concealed combi showers provide a neat and elegant finish with the value located behind the wall. Combi showers commonly are finished in stylish chrome, which should complement any bathroom.

5.) Prices to Suit All Budgets
There should be a combi shower to suit all budgets. For example, our Ambassador combi shower is available at £120.00, down from £152.00, and comes in both exposed and concealed designs. Plus, all of our showers are conveniently available to buy on our website, and all come with free next working day delivery.

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Which Shower Is Best For You?

Buying a new shower can be a difficult task if you don’t know where to start. You may be looking for a shower as part of a bathroom or home refurbishment, or you may need a new shower as your current one has broken in which case you need to find a suitable replacement.

There are many different types of shower available, so it can be tricky to know which is the right shower for you. Showers can vary depending on which type of water system is used, the power type used, as well as the design and appearance.

The most important thing to note is that there are two main types of shower available: Electric and Mixer. The type that you choose may depend on the plumbing available in your bathroom so check what shower you currently have, and also speak to your plumber to get their advice on your options.

Electric Showers

An electric shower uses cold water which is passed through a heating element and then supplies hot water at your desired temperature. Electric showers usually come in three power types 8.5kW, 9.5kW and 10.5kW. The strength of shower you go for will depend on the power cables you have currently (higher wattage requires larger cables). The higher the wattage, the faster the shower is able to heat the water meaning that the flow rate will be stronger on a higher wattage shower. However, it’s also important to bear in mind that as the temperature is increased, the water flow becomes slower. This is because the water must pass over the heating element for a longer period of time, which ultimately slows down the flow rate. 

Electric showers are generally an economical and eco-friendly choice, as they only heat the water that is required, so this makes them appealing to many people. They are a fantastic choice for families as they provide hot water instantly, day or night.

Our Electric Showers

Our popular cse range of electric showers is currently on offer (May/June 2012). These satin chrome showers give a contemporary twist to the traditional electric shower design.

Choose from the following showers:

  • 8.5 cse – our most economical shower in the range;
  • 10.5 cse – our most powerful in the range;
  • 9.5 cse – for a middle of the range choice.

Mixer Showers

Mixer showers use water from both your hot and cold water supplies. They combine the two and blend them to reach your desired temperature. You control the flow and temperature with a dial or handle. Although mixer showers are usually the simplest type of shower to use they do require a good supply of hot and cold water, so may not be the best option for larger families. The type of water system in your home (low-pressure/gravity fed, combi boiler or high-pressure) can play an important factor is deciding which model you choose.

Many people prefer mixer showers over electrics as the shower valve which is mounted on the wall is often smaller and neater than an electric shower box. There are also options to have concealed mixer showers, where the shower valve and pipe work is concealed in the wall to give a neater and more stylish finish. Concealed mixer showers need to be mounted on a wall which has a cavity or space behind, such as an airing cupboard.

Our Mixer Showers

The Ambassador mixer shower is one of our best-selling models, and we have options for low-pressure, combi boiler or high pressure household water systems. Take a look at our range of mixer showers.

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Refurbishing Your Bathroom? Make Sure You Choose The Right Shower

This time of year is a popular one for bathroom refurbishments. The May Day Bank Holiday weekend is coming up, and a lot of people will use the extra day off work to do some home improvements. The bathroom is a common room to choose, and you’ll see that many bathroom showrooms and DIY stores have some great offers leading up to the Bank Holiday weekend.

Refurbishing your bathroom needn’t be a massive headache. With some prior planning and organisation, it can be a task you really enjoy. And think about how satisfying it will be when you have a lovely new bathroom at the end of it!

Romantic Style Bathroom

Rather than just redecorating your bathroom, refurbishment implies replacing the physical components of the room – bath ,sink, toilet and of course, the shower. Many stores sell fully-kitted bathroom suites that definitely make life easier, but may be an expensive way to buy. You’ll find that with a bit of extra effort and some clever research, you can save yourself some money by sourcing items from different suppliers, and get the bathroom that you really want!

Before you start the process, have a look in magazines and on the internet for the type of bathroom you want. Take the time to visit some showrooms to get inspiration. Think about the decoration – the colour of the walls, the type of flooring (e.g. tiles, lino, wooden boards). Do you want a particular theme in the room, and do you prefer certain colours?

Modern Style Bathroom

Once you’ve decided on the style and decoration, it’s time to think about the “hardware” of the room. This is usually one of the most difficult stages of the whole process. Depending on your skills and knowledge on plumbing and electrics, you may need assistance for this. It’s always best to do as much research as you can to save the most time and money. For example, when choosing a new shower, you have to consider much more than just the look, design and price of the shower. You need to think about the hot water system that is currently installed in your house and make sure that the shower you pick is compatible.

Firstly, do you want to use the household hot water system to heat the shower? If so, the next step is to find out what system you have as there are different showers designed for different systems. By picking the right shower for your water system, you can ensure that the shower will operate to its best performance. If you have a combi boiler, for example, then you should look for combi showers, which are optimised for these boilers. A combi boiler operates so that hot water is always available when required. Combi boilers are popular with new build properties as they are smaller than traditional boilers and therefore take up less space. They are commonly located in the kitchen. Those with gravity-fed hot water systems should look for gravity-fed showers, while those with high pressure systems should look for high pressure showers.

TT07 Concealed Mixer Shower

A stylish chrome concealed mixer shower is a great addition to almost any style of bathroom

If you prefer not to use your hot water system, for example, if you have a small hot water cylinder, then you may want to look at electric showers. Electric showers are extremely convenient for families and large households as they heat cold water instantly, so you don’t need to worry about running out of hot water or waiting to heat it up. Electric showers are also a good option for a second bathroom or en-suite bathroom.

Once you have bought your new bathroom suite, it’s time to get on with the installation. Depending on where you bought the products, you may be offered a fitting service or you may wish to use the services of a plumber. When installing electric showers from new, or upgrading or downgrading a previous electric shower, it may be necessary for a Part-P registered electrician to fit the new shower.

Whatever you decide to do with your bathroom refurbishment, have fun shopping this weekend!

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How To Choose Between Electric and Mixer Showers

Choosing a suitable shower system for your home can be a challenge. Do you know the type of water system in your home and how it works? Some homes have hot water tanks which store hot water for staggered use. Others have combination boilers which provide hot water on demand. Before choosing an electric or mixer shower, it’s important to decide whether you want to use your hot water system or not to supply water to the shower.

Some households have plenty of hot water on demand and a good level of water pressure, whereas other store their hot water and as such, it may run out quickly. By taking all of this information into account before buying a shower, you can choose the best shower for your household.

Electric Shower

A typical electric shower

If you’d rather not use your hot water system, then an electric shower is the best choice for you. Electric showers connect to your cold mains fed water supply and heat this water instantly and on demand. This means that electric showers are ideal for large families and busy households, particularly when there is not a large hot water tank. Having an electric shower means that there is no waiting for the hot water tank to heat up – you simply turn the shower on and away you go! Electric showers are available with different electrical power ratings, so it may be necessary to check that your current electricity supply, cable and fuse size are compatible with the requirements of the shower before buying one. A Part P registered electrician may need to install the shower depending on whether it is a replacement shower or not.

Mixer shower

A typical concealed mixer shower

On the other hand, if you are happy to use your hot water system then a mixer shower is the best choice for you. Mixer showers are compatible with almost any water system, including gravity fed systems, combination boiler systems and other high pressure systems. A mixer shower blends hot and cold water from different sources to reach your perfect temperature. This means there’s no endless tap-twiddling to get the right temperature.

Furthermore, thermostatic mixer showers automatically adjust to maintain a constant temperature even when a tap or another water source is turned on elsewhere in the house. This is an important safety feature to prevent users getting an unpleasant shock from scalding hot or freezing cold water as well as making showering much more convenient!

Mixer showers come in a range of designs, both exposed (with the valve and pipework mounted on the tiles) and concealed (where everything is fitted in a cavity behind the tiling). Exposed showers are easier to install and more flexible in terms of positioning, whereas concealed showers give a neater finish but are more complex to install. Before buying a shower, make sure you consider installation costs in your budget.

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What are the Best Showers for Combi Boilers?

Combination boilers, frequently referred to as combi boilers, are now one of the most popular types of new boiler installations in the UK. Their popularity comes from their compact size and the fact that they are highly efficient. They are called combi as they not only work as a water heater, but also a central heating unit.

With a combi boiler, the need to store hot water is completely removed as the boiler heats water on demand. This therefore eliminates the need for a hot water cylinder, giving you more space in your airing cupboard. It is essential to have an adequate supply of mains cold water with a combi boiler to ensure that the flow rate is good.

The best showers for combi boilers are mixer showers. To ensure the best performance from your shower, it’s advisable to buy a shower that works with the characteristics of a combination boiler. Our popular Ambassador Range has a category of mixer showers that are specifically designed to work best with combi boilers.

Combi mixer showers

The Ambassador combi showers are available either as exposed or concealed, depending on your needs. Exposed showers are quicker to install, but take up more space in the showering area. Concealed showers require a more complex installation, but give a minimalist finish once installed. All Ambassador mixer showers come in a stylish chrome finish, which should suit most bathroom designs.

Universal Mixer Showers for Combi Boilers

There are also universal mixer showers that are designed to work with any hot water system. These are an ideal choice if you are unsure of your water system, as no matter what system you have, the shower will work. Our new GT mixer shower range will work with any domestic water system – so if you have a combi boiler why don’t you take a look at this shiny new range?

GT250 Bar Shower – only £99.99!

The entry level GT250 Bar Mixer Shower is only £99.99 and comes with a whole host of features including an adjustable height shower head so that the whole family can shower in comfort, rub clean nozzles on the shower head, and a maximum temperature override button to provide extra peace of mind when selecting higher temperatures. This stylish chrome bar mixer shower is ideal as a replacement for any bar valves with standard ¾” connectors at 150mm centres.

GT250 Bar Mixer Shower: £99.99

GT250 Bar Mixer Shower: £99.99

GT350 Luxury Bar Shower – £129.99

The luxurious GT350 bar mixer shower is a sleek and stylish addition to your bathroom. Upgraded features include a deluxe easy-clean shower hose and three spray shower head as well as a longer shower rail and adjustable fixing brackets, which allows you to cover existing holes much easier.

GT350 Bar Mixer Shower: £129.99

GT350 Bar Mixer Shower: £129.99

GT450 Dual Head Bar Shower – £199.99

If you like the luxury of two shower heads, then the GT450 is the ideal option for you. Featuring an 180mm drencher head and an adjustable head, the GT450 bar mixer shower has an integrated diverter allowing users to switch effortlessly between the two heads – bliss!

GT450 Dual Head Bar Shower: £199.99

GT450 Dual Head Bar Shower: £199.99

GT550 Exposed and GT650 Concealed Chrome Mixer Showers – both £199.99

For those who prefer a concentric valve over a bar valve, we have 2 other choices: the GT550 Exposed Mixer Shower and GT650 Concealed Mixer Shower. Both priced at £199.99, these chrome mixer showers would be a stylish addition to any bathroom. Exposed showers are ideal as quick replacement showers, whilst concealed showers are a fantastic choice for those who prefer a more minimalist look and are planning a bathroom refurbishment

GT550 Exposed Mixer Shower: £199.99

GT550 Exposed Mixer Shower: £199.99

GT650 Concealed Mixer Shower: £199.99

GT650 Concealed Mixer Shower: £199.99

Gainsborough mixer showers are all thermostatic, meaning that you are protected from sudden changes in the water temperature. Plus, our mixer shower all have a free 2 year guarantee, giving you peace of mind. Take a look at our full range of mixer showers for combi boilers.

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What is a Mixer Shower?

One of the most common questions we get asked by our customers is ‘What exactly is a mixer shower?’ Many people have mixer showers in their homes yet don’t really understand how they work. By understanding how a mixer shower works you’ll have a better idea of what to do should anything ever go wrong.

How do Mixer Showers Work?

The clue is behind the name – mixer showers mix together hot and cold water to deliver a shower at your selected temperature. The cold water is fed from your mains cold water, while the hot water comes from your hot water system into the shower’s valve where it is blended and sent to the shower head to deliver your shower. Your hot water supply could be a hot water cylinder in your airing cupboard, a combination boiler (usually in the kitchen) depending on the type of water system your household has.

A valve inside the shower blends the two water types together to reach the temperature selected on the controls on your shower.

Does My Hot Water System Matter?

Unlike electric showers, which work in the same way in any household, mixer showers work from your hot water system, and it’s therefore important that when buying a mixer shower that you select the correct model for your particular water system. There are now some mixer showers that are universal i.e. the same model will work on any hot water system which may not be as effective as a system-specific shower but may be easier to install.

So, what’s Thermostatic then?

Thermostatic mixer showers have an inbuilt preset thermostat that regulates the temperature of the water. If it senses a dramatic change in the water temperature (i.e. by someone else in the household flushing a toilet) it will rectify the situation. Not only does this provide the user with a more comfortable showering experience, it’s also an important safety feature and is particularly useful in households with elderly people or young children. Most thermostatic mixer showers will also have a maximum hot water setting to limit the temperature of the water.

Mixer Shower Designs and Style

As well as delivering a good shower performance, mixer showers are also known for their stylish designs. After all, it’s important that the shower looks good in your bathroom. Most mixer showers come in contemporary chrome finishes, which will complement almost any bathroom. Furthermore, with many mixer showers, you have the choice of whether you’d like an exposed or concealed shower. 

Exposed Mixer Shower                              
An exposed shower features the valve and pipe work mounted on the wall, while concealed showers hide everything behind the tile work. As would be expected, exposed showers are quicker and easier to install, but take up more room within the showering area.

Concealed mixer shower

Concealed showers offer a more minimalist design and are ideal for small shower enclosures where space is limited, but have a more complicated installation process and may therefore have higher associated labour costs.

For more information and to buy online, take a look at our range of mixer showers.

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