Shower buying advice

Not sure this is the right place to post but couldn't find anywhere more suitable!

I've just moved into a new house and unfortunately the flow of water coming from the shower head is really poor. I have a regular boiler system installed (cold water tank in attic, cylinder on first floor next to the bathroom) with a mixer shower in the bathroom. The cold water pressure seems fine however the hot water pressure is very low. It seems to me that I'm going to have to either get a shower pump fitted somewhere? or get an electric or power shower installed?

Just looking for some advice on which would be the best option!

Thanks
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Comments

  • Cardew
    Cardew Posts: 29,034
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    It is a very simple job for a plumber to fit a shower booster pump. One of these will do the job. http://www.screwfix.com/c/bathrooms-kitchens/shower-pumps/cat820270

    I had one fitted before I had an unvented(pressurised) HW tank(
    an expensive solution.). The only downside is that they can be noisy.

    A pumped shower is a far better option than an electric shower IMO and cheaper. The flow remains the same in winter.

    Firstly you(presumably) are heating water with gas which is much cheaper than electricity.

    Secondly do not underestimate the cost of getting heavy duty electrical wiring to a bathroom as a retro-fit.
  • dogshome
    dogshome Posts: 3,877
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    Yes - I'm afraid a pump is called for, but from your text the shower itself hasn't been installed correctly in that the cold is high pressure and the hot low.

    Seems that the Cold is coming directly from the main and the Hot via the loft tank & hot water cylinder - If this is the case it's dangerous
    If for any reason whilst the shower is in use the cold supply fails - Think waterboard street works, burst main, house stopcock quickly closed because of sudden leak, then the shower occupant will be exposed to undiluted hot water at it's maximum temperature.

    I had the problem of low water pressure in a shower fitted just one floor lower than the loft tank, which was resolved with a low voltage pump made by Stormforce that 'pulled' water through from the shower mixer valve to the shower rose - Hopefully they still make them
  • Thanks fot the replies. Sounds like a shower booster pump would be a good solution. There seem to be lots of different options ranging in price from £100-£400, do you think something at the lower end of the price range will be sufficient?
  • macman
    macman Posts: 52,955
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    Before you start spending big money, have you checked that the showerhead, hose and valve are not just scaled up?
    If the hot water cylinder is not higher than the showerhead, then that is the problem. It may be possible to raise the tank.
    No free lunch, and no free laptop ;)
  • matelodave
    matelodave Posts: 8,577
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    edited 12 September 2017 at 8:32AM
    Having the hot water tank at the same level as the shower is fine, it's the height of the tank in the loft that determines the the pressure and the size of the pipe work that determines the flow.

    The bottom of the loft tank should be at least 1 metre above the shower head and both the hot and cold feed to the mixer should be derived from the loft tank to balance the flow ideally with 22mm pipework. It should also be a low pressure mixer designed to work from a head of 0.5bar

    If you can't manage that then a booster pump will improve the flow and pressure, however bear in mind that a higher flow rate will cost you more in both water consumption and heating costs especially if you stand in the shower for more than 5 minutes at a time. You also need to ensure that the flow pipes to the pump are balanced (ie both from the loft tank and not the cold from the mains and the hot from the hot tank)

    We improved the shower at our previous house by raisng the loft tank onto a platform to around 75cm above the ceiling joists and replumbing the feeds to the mixer which were all scaled and restricted.

    Giving the shower head, hoses and mixer unit a de-crud can make a big difference if you live in a hard water area and they are coated in scale.
    Never under estimate the power of stupid people in large numbers
  • Definitely no issues with limescale in the shower head, hose or mixer unit, it's a pretty new bathroom by the looks of things.

    I had a plumber come round today to take a look, he said he wouldn't be able to easily fit a shower pump as he couldn't find the hot water pipe, he seems to think its inside the wall behind the shower unit. This means we'd have to get the tiles off the wall, then get the plumber in to fit a pump, then put the tiles back on the wall. I don't really want to disturb the tiles as, like I said, it's a nice newish bathroom and we don't have any spare tiles!

    The other option he mentioned would be to replace the regular boiler with a combi system. He quoted ~£3.5K to get the combi system installed. Would having a combi boiler installed save us money in the long run?
  • matelodave
    matelodave Posts: 8,577
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    not really.

    If it's going to cost you £3500 and you were lucky enough to save, say £250 a year on your gas bill it would take 14 years to break even. So if your boiler is still working OK I'd be inclined to keep it until it dies.
    Never under estimate the power of stupid people in large numbers
  • Cardew
    Cardew Posts: 29,034
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    edited 12 September 2017 at 9:50PM
    ncobo1664 wrote: »
    The other option he mentioned would be to replace the regular boiler with a combi system. He quoted ~£3.5K to get the combi system installed. Would having a combi boiler installed save us money in the long run?

    Given your issue is with hot water to a shower, I can't think of worse advice than move to a combi boiler.

    If you read through the many threads on the subject of combi boiler v conventional boiler system it is generally recognised that the Achilles heel of a combi is the failure to deliver adequate hot water supply to a shower in cold weather. This is particularly so if another hot water tap is switched on whilst someone is showering.

    As for spending £3,500 for an inferior CH system(IMO and that of many others) the mind boggles. There is no evidence that a Combi boiler is cheaper to run than a conventional system; albeit a new boiler might be more efficient than an old conventional boiler.

    Whilst it might be inconvenient to disturb tiles, it ain't £3,500 worth of inconvenience!!

    The two other options that come to mind are to raise the cold water tank, as suggested earlier.

    Or the Rolls Royce of solutions would be to get an unvented(pressurised) hot water tank.
    Hot water cylinders are continually increasing in popularity and can now be found in most homes across the UK. They are commonly used to ensure that a copious amount of stored hot water is available on demand for a multitude of domestic uses. Unvented cylinders are connected directly to the mains water system which means they offer high water flow rates to provide higher water pressure for showers and baths.
    The unvented hot water cylinder doesn’t require a feeder tank in the loft as it works straight from the mains water supply which frees up valuable space in the property. Unlike vented cylinders, the unvented cylinder does not rely on gravity to function, so they can be installed almost anywhere on a property. Regardless of these different functionalities of hot water cylinders, both styles are manufactured from high quality stainless steel to ensure long life and durability.
    Whilst expensive - but a lot less than £3.5k - an unvented HW tank makes a huge difference to the HW supply all over the house.

    P.S. get several quotes
  • matelodave
    matelodave Posts: 8,577
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    edited 13 September 2017 at 8:50AM
    Cardew's suggestion of a pressurised hot water tank would solve your problem but at a price - I doubt you'd get a lot of change out of £800 but it's worth considering. We've had one for seven years and it does give a good shower although one disadvantage of a powerful shower is the extra water and energy it will use.

    As suggested get several quotes - this will give you some idea of the price ranges but you'll have installation and other costs to take into account as well https://www.plumbnation.co.uk/site/standard-unvented-cylinders/

    If you've got the headroom in your loft then raising the tank is probably the cheapest solution.
    Never under estimate the power of stupid people in large numbers
  • ncobo1664
    ncobo1664 Posts: 21
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    edited 13 September 2017 at 10:16AM
    I've read in a few places that my regular boiler wouldn't be compatible with a pressurised HW cylinder and that I'd need a system boiler. Is this not the case?

    Also seems to be a risk that the pipes might not be able to handle pressurised water flow. I think we have headroom in the attic so I'll lok into raising the cold water tank.
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