Tag Archives: shower technology

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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Fancy using your iPad in the shower?

As our lives get more and more busy, our need to multitask gets greater. Now, here at Gainsborough, when we have a shower, we like to concentrate on enjoying the shower (surprise, surprise), but there are some people who would prefer to surf the web, or maybe check their email while they shampoo and condition.

There are already studies proving that we get anxious when separated from our phones, so there are probably many of us out there who would prefer to keep hold of the phone or tablet in the shower. Now, with water and technology not really getting along, these workaholics have been previously unable to multitask with their iPhone or iPad in the shower, but in the not-so-distant future, they may indeed get their wish.

Le Terme

A design concept called “Le Terme” has been created by Fei Chung Billy Ho and was a finalist in the Reece Bathroom Innovation Award in Australia. Le Terme is made of stainless steel with interactive glass panels that can be synced to any smart phone or tablet, meaning you can use the phone, watch videos or surf the web at no risk to your phone or tablet. The shower also allows you to listen to music – a huge plus for anyone who likes listening to songs and singing while in the shower (and let’s face it, who doesn’t?) The base of Le Terme is made from cypress wood, which kills bacteria, fungus and viral infections, helping to maintain a hygienic environment, with no need for deep-cleaning.

Le Terme

 We’re quite impressed by the technology, but what do you think? Would you like a shower like this in your home?

Images courtesy of http://www.bathroominnovation.com.au/

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What is a Thermostatic Shower?

 A lot of the terminology that we use on our website can be confusing – particularly if you’re not used to shower-related terms on a daily basis.

So we’ve come up with a Jargon Buster Glossary that should explain the most commonly used terms. We’ll be adding the full glossary to our website shortly, but for a taster, here are some of the most common questions we get asked about:

What is a Thermostatic Shower?

Thermostatic means the shower has an inbuilt thermostat which compensates for any variations in water temperature and maintains the shower’s temperature should anyone use water elsewhere in the house. Thermostatic showers are ideal for busy households, and are particularly useful for children and the elderly. Take a look at our thermostatic mixer showers to find out what we can offer.

What is a PRD?

A PRD (Pressure Relief Device) is a safety device which is fitted to all electric showers to prevent excess pressure building up. The PRD is designed to open should the pressure get too high. You can find the correct PRD for your electric shower from our parts store.

What Exactly are Digital Showers?

On a digital shower, instead of a valve controlling the shower, a digital processor controls the water flow and temperature. The processor is stored away from the shower (either in the loft, airing cupboard or under the bath). Digital showers are simple to use with one button operation and illuminate when the shower water temperature is ready. Unpumped versions are suitable for combi and high-pressure systems, and pumped are suitable for gravity-fed systems. Take a look at our range of digital showers to find out more.

Keep your eyes peeled for the glossary coming soon!

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Buying A Mixer Shower – What You Need To Know

It’s important to note when buying a new shower, that there are three different types of shower technology – electric, mixer and digital – each with its own benefits, plumbing requirements and installation needs. One of the most popular types is the mixer shower, as they are incredibly hard-wearing, easy to maintain and usually modern in design.

Mixer Showers – Suitable For All Households

Mixer showers blend hot and cold water together to create a flow of water at your desired temperature. Your home’s household hot water system will determine which type of mixer shower you get – whether it’s gravity-fed, combi or high pressure. There are mixer showers specifically designed to work perfectly with each type of system – take a look at our Ambassador range, for example. In homes with low-pressure (gravity-fed), a pump may be required to increase the water flow from your shower.

Thermostatic Mixer Showers – Safer and More Comfortable

Today, most mixer showers are thermostatic. Thermostatic showers automatically adjust to maintain a constant water temperature even when water is being used elsewhere. This means, gone are the days when the shower would run freezing cold just because someone flushed a toilet, so no more nasty pranks between siblings! On a sensible note, this feature is an important safety one, especially in households with young children or elderly people.

Mixer Showers & Limescale

Mixer showers are more resistant to limescale, which makes them ideal for homes in hard water areas. For example, our Ambassador range of mixer showers features an integral bi-metallic thermostatic coil which is resistant to limescale build-up. Not only does it improve the performance of your shower by allowing more water to pass through, but it will also prolong the life of the shower.

Mixer Showers – Exposed or Concealed?

Mixer showers are usually available in 2 different styles: exposed or concealed. Exposed showers have the pipe work mounted on the surface of the wall. They are easier to install, and therefore usually cheaper, however, they do take up more space and are therefore not ideal for smaller showering enclosures.

Concealed mixer showers (sometimes called recessed showers) have the shower valve and pipe work positioned in the wall to give a neater and more minimalist finish. In order to have a concealed shower installed, there must be a cavity or space behind the wall. It is a more complex installation, compared to an exposed shower, so the labour costs may be slightly higher.

Stylish and Contemporary Designs

For those looking for a stylish and modern looking shower, you can’t really go wrong with a mixer shower. They usually come in stylish chrome designs that complement most bathrooms, so there’s bound to be a mixer shower to suit you.

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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 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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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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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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