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How to choose an electric shower

Cold, intermittent showers are a common problem for many homeowners and it often forces them to consider a new electric unit for their bathroom. Installing an electric shower means they never again have to stand around waiting for water to heat up, or worry about the hot water cutting out in the middle of a wash.

There’s a huge variety of electric showers out there and this can make it difficult to decide what’s best for each home. As such, we’ve put together this handy electric shower guide to help you choose the right model.

How do electric showers work?

Electric showers include a heating element in the unit and rely on an electrical connection with a cold-water supply. Electricity fires up the heating element in the unit which warms water as it passes through towards the head unit. The end result is an almost-instant hot shower on demand.

Why should I recommend an electric shower?

The most obvious benefit is you don’t have to rely on the hot water tank supply. That said, there a several other advantages to purchasing an electric shower:

  • It minimises water and power usage, saving a lot of money on utility bills in the long run
  • You get a constant desired water temperature
  • Easy to install and fits into most plumbing systems
  • Offers great versatility with various controls available

How do I choose a good electric shower?

There is a vast amount of choice when it comes to electric showers – each with a range of controls, styles, functions and pressure ratings available. We’ll run through all the different factors and features to consider so you can choose the best model for clients’ homes.

Choosing thermostatic controls

Electric showers come with thermostatic controls for tweaking the temperature, and there are multiple types available:

  • Digital interface – display screen that can include a digital thermostat and various buttons for temperature control. These can also be touch screen
  • Remote – Digital remotes can be used instead of the usual control attachments for a shower
  • Dials – More traditional models come with dials for adjusting the temperature

The type of controls you choose is up to the customer’s needs, so make sure you keep their preference in mind. They might prefer having more control functions on a touchscreen, or instead may want a less complicated interface with simple dials. Whichever you choose, look out for the higher quality showers which will do a better job of keeping the temperature steady when the controls are adjusted.

Environmentally friendly options

Some electric showers come with an eco setting to reduce water waste and power consumption. Homeowners can also save more money on their utility bills with these models. If this is important to a customer, try to avoid showers with a high wattage rating as these typically use more energy and water.

Temperature safety functions

When choosing a shower, make sure it comes with built-in functions for temperature safety. The two features to look out for are:

  • A safety stop function — electric showers should have a safety function which stops the flow immediately if the water gets too hot
  • A high-temperature cap to prevent accidental scalding

Limescale protection features

Limescale build-up will damage the shower head and pipes, which can also affect a property’s water pressure in the long term. For this reason, you should choose a shower that is designed to prevent this from occurring. These models will usually have lengthened heating elements and wider coil gaps in the shower unit, so make sure you pay close attention to the specifications.

Water pressure

Each household has its own water pressure system that must be factored in when choosing an electric shower. You should ensure the shower is suitable for the level of water pressure in the pipes, otherwise the appliance wont function properly. For example, low-pressure systems may need an electric shower with an integrated pump to achieve a sufficient pressure level.

Shower heads

This will be based on customer preference, but keep in mind there is a range of shower heads to choose from with different functionalities. Some will have multiple spray patterns to switch between, while others come with eco performance options to help save energy and water.

Installation

For the most part, electric showers are pretty easy to install, but you should still pay attention to some design features that can potentially cause problems. Look out for the number of water and cable entry points on the appliance, because just one or two entry points can make the shower more difficult to install. It could lead to rewiring problems or make it too impractical to install a shower in the desired position.

Also, check the wall fixings. Some showers will only have a wall fixing aperture at one end, meaning they’re only suitable for replacements instead of installations.

Steam

Electric showers produce large amounts of steam due to the way they heat water. This can create damp in the home so it’s best to purchase a model that minimises the amount produced, especially for clients with older properties that aren’t as insulated.

Best electric showers

There are hundreds of different electric shower models. To narrow it down and make your life easier, here’s a list of the best electric showers on the market today:

  • REDRING Pure
  • Mira Sport Max
  • Mira Azora
  • Bristan BL3105 B
  • Bristan Glee 3
  • Gainsborough Electric Shower
  • Aqualisa Quartz
  • Triton MOSV07SG Seville
  • Triton Martinique
  • Triton Kito

As well as shortlisting, always make sure to look at reviews to help you make your decision.

What wattage electric shower do I need?

Electric showers generally range between 5kW and 10.5kW ratings. They need this electrical power to generate water pressure and heat the water, resulting in a consistent temperature with strong water flow. Higher voltage means higher pressure, but keep in mind these models will be pricier. What’s more, not every home should install the most powerful electric shower. It’s best to purchase a shower with a wattage range that suits the size of the home’s water tank and the reliability of its water supply.

Here’s a guideline:

  • If the water supply is somewhat unreliable or the property has a small water tank, aim to buy in the 5kW-8kW range
  • If there’s a large water tank and steady water flow in the home, you can choose from the 8kW-10.5kW range

FAQs

Do electric showers need hot water?

Electric showers heat the cold-water supply using electricity, so you don’t need hot water for it to operate.

Is a power shower the same as an electric shower?

Power showers and electric showers operate differently when it comes to water supply. Only cold water is fed into an electric shower, whereas a power shower uses both hot and cold water from the home’s storage tank.

What size cable and pipe are required for an electric shower?

The size of cable for an electric shower will depend on the wattage. That being said, it’s probably best to install a 10 mm² cable to avoid needing a larger one if the electric shower is replaced in the future.

Water pipes for electric showers are usually 15mm in diameter.

Do electric showers have pumps?

Although some models can be bought with a small internal pump, most electric showers don’t have one built in. That’s why you need to make sure the water mains pressure is performing properly.

Do I need an electric shower?

If members of the household take long showers in succession, they may find the water tank is running out of hot water too quickly. In this case, electric showers will be the way to go to ensure a steady supply. They also tend to be more environmentally friendly in terms of both energy and water consumption.

What is a good flow rate for an electric shower?

A flow rate of four litres per minute is considered the minimum for an adequate shower. Five litres per minute would be considered a good flow rate.

How much does it cost to run an electric shower?

This varies depending on the water provider, water flow and temperature. But as a guideline, you can expect the cost to be around 40p per 10 minutes running time. Power-wise, electric showers are slightly more expensive than traditional systems, but you have the benefits of faster heating, better water pressure and constant hot water.

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