Tag Archives: mains water

Are You Ready For Christmas?

Tomorrow is the 1st of December – the countdown to Christmas has truly begun! With less than a month left, may of us are starting to think about getting our homes ready for the arrival of Christmas guests and relatives. So, whether that’s putting up extra beds and getting bedding down from the loft, or making sure that the freezer is stocked with food, one area we tend to forget is the bathroom.

With extra people staying in the house, of course, there’s going to be increased pressure on household appliances, and showers, particularly electric showers, can often struggle if they’re old and getting a bit tired. Electric showers have to work much harder in the winter anyway (the incoming mains water is colder, and it takes more energy to heat it to the desired temperature), so unfortunately this means that shower breakdowns often occur over the winter. During the Christmas break it can be a nightmare to try and buy a replacement shower and then there’s the hassle of getting a plumber in to fit it!

christmas

Is your home ready for Christmas?

So if your shower is nearing the end of its life – don’t wait until its too late! Upgrade your shower today and make sure it’s prepared for the onslaught of Christmas guests and relatives.

If you have an older Gainsborough model that’s now obsolete, our replacement shower page should help you find a suitable retro-fit shower. The page lists each shower model with a handy link to each replacement product, all of which are available to buy online with free delivery. There’a also helpful advice about replacing electric showers and what can be involved in reducing or increasing the kilowatt rating.

Image courtesy of Beverly LR

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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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How do electric showers work?

For many of us, electric showers are a part of our everyday lives. They may be the first thing we use in the morning, or perhaps the last thing at night. But although your electric shower may be an important part of your daily routine, do you actually know how it works? Knowing the basics about electric showers can help you know what to do should anything ever going wrong.

The first point to note about electric showers is that they work independently of your hot water system and boiler. This means that should your boiler ever fail you’ll still be able to have a hot shower. This is because electric showers connect directly to the mains cold water supply and heat this water instantly on demand. Electric showers are therefore good for busy households as there is no chance that the hot water will run out. They are also good for households that have low hot water pressure, providing the mains pressure is adequate.

White Electric Shower

Almost any household can have an electric shower fitted, regardless of the hot water system. The cold mains water that is fed into the unit passes over a heating element and is heated up before being delivered through the shower head. An easy way to understand it is to think of the shower working in a similar way to a kettle, if a little bit more sophisticated!

The temperature of water selected by the user will affect the flow of water that is delivered. For example, the colder the water selected is, the more powerful the flow will be. This is because the water will need to spend less time passing over the heating element therefore resulting in a more powerful flow. Conversely, the hotter the temperature selected, the longer time the water will take to be heated by the element, and therefore the resulting flow of water will be lower. This is why the flow of water will always be lower when a high temperature is selected.

Satin Chrome Electric Shower

To combat lower flow rates, electric showers are available with different engine sizes. The engines are measured by kilowatt ratings, and the most commonly available sizes are 8.5kW, 9.5kW and 10.5kW. The higher the kilowatt rating, the more powerful the flow of the water will be as the engine has more power to heat it. Higher kilowatt showers will use more energy, however, resulting in higher running costs.

When installing an electric shower, a Part P registered electrician may be required to assess and carry out any electrical work. This is particularly important when replacing an old shower and upgrading or downgrading the kilowatt rating as it may be necessary to change the electrical cabling.

So, now you’ve found out how they work, why not browse our great range of electric showers to find the perfect one for you?

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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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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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“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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