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Shower Pumps Explained

There is nothing quite like a powerful shower for awakening the senses in the morning or for helping us to unwind and relax at the end of a busy day. The majority of households now include at least one shower, with families more keen on showering than bathing because of the time-saving and sheer convenience it offers.

Posted on 11th June 2019, 2 minute read

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However, depending on the level of water pressure delivered to the property and whereabouts within the home the shower is situated, a shower pump may be necessary to deliver the level of water required and to prevent your powerful, rejuvenating morning shower being little more than a dribble.

That is because water is fed in an upwards direction into the hose and towards the shower head, resulting in the required spray which all requires gravity. Generally, the further the distance the water needs to travel, the more pressure it needs to get there. Water pressure is normally measured in bars and in UK homes is often low, meaning a shower pump will be required.

To determine whether or not you require a shower pump it is important to measure your home’s flow rate. This can be done by simply using a measuring jug and a stopwatch and recording how much water gathers in the jug in one minute. Turn all other water-based appliances, such as the washing machine and dishwasher off first. If it takes longer than 8 seconds to fill a 1-litre jug, then you have a poor flow rate likely due to low water pressure.

Regardless of which shower type you opt for or how large your showerhead may be, to enjoy a powerful, invigorating showering experience a shower pump will be required.

What is a shower pump and which kind do I need?

A shower pump increases the volume of water that is pumped through the pipes resulting in a more powerful shower spray. Deciding which type of shower pump you need will depend on several factors, including whereabouts in your home the cold water storage is located, whether the shower is below or above the cold water storage and whether or not the temperature of the shower water needs to be boosted, or if it is already balanced.

If the cold water storage tank is above the shower head, perhaps located in the loft, then a positive head shower pump will be needed. Alternatively, if the shower head is level or above the cold water storage tank, perhaps in a bathroom as part of a loft conversion, a negative head pump will be necessary.

Shower pump pressure ratings explained

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All shower pumps have a pressure rating, each suitable for varying shower conditions. 1 bar shower pumps, for example, are ideal for small shower heads while a 2.5 or 3 bar shower pump is best for power showers and larger shower heads. Look out for the pump’s flow rate too, though as that will determine the number of litres per minute it can pump out at the given pressure.

Should I purchase a twin or single shower pump?

The answer to this question will depend on if you want to boost both or one of the hot and cold supplies. A single shower pump is designed to improve just one feed, usually, the hot water feed although it can be used for cold water feeds and mixed water feeds.

Twin shower pumps, such as the Stuart Turner pumps available from Building Supplies Online, on the other hand, are a popular option as they increase the pressure in both hot and cold water feeds. This ensures that both supplies are boosted to the same level which is particularly effective for mixer showers, giving you greater control over the temperature when showering.

With your home’s flow rate established it will be time to decide on whether to purchase a standard or universal shower pump. Standard shower pumps are ideal for boosting the flow in open vented hot and cold systems, as long as there is a minimum gravity flow of 0.6 litres per minute and a positive head present.

If you are unsure whether you have a negative or positive head then a fully automatic, universal shower pump may be the better option. As it is fully automatic, a universal shower pump will perform under both positive and negative head conditions and doesn't require a minimum gravity flow of water to work.

A final consideration when it comes to shower pumps is the level of noise they make. Obviously, the quieter the better, particularly if the shower is to be used early in the mornings and last thing at night, but if the pump does prove too noisy then perhaps consider fitting a noise reduction kit or setting a timer so the pump is only active during certain hours of the day.

Once fitted, a shower pump will ensure that the whole family can relax and enjoy a rejuvenating shower.