Which shower ?

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sarahkeast
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Which shower ?

Post: #189483 sarahkeast
Mon Mar 08, 2010 10:45 pm

Folks, I need some advice on what would be the best/most economical/most environmentally friendly option for a bathroom shower. :grouphug:

Currently I have an ugly pink bathroom in my new [old] house. It will eventually be ripped out and replaced with simple white [partly Freecycle] bathroom. There is an electric shower over the bath. It works ok, nothing stunning, not a power shower or anything, but washes hair and bodies just fine.

I also have 2 children, pre and early teens, who would spend hours in shower [once I can get them in there] if allowed to :roll:

I also have a nice new efficient gas condensing boiler that makes hot water on demand right next to the bathroom. :sunny:

Sooooooo........

When I replace bathroom [which in itself is not enviro/finance friendly act as it is simply ugly and not very convenient] do I keep and move the electric shower or do I freecycle it and get a tap unit [about £150-200, but not massively more than just taps] that allows us to use water from the gas heated boiler ?

Whaddaya think ? advice, suggestion, guidance and experiences all appreciated.

Thanks

Sarah :flower:
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Re: Which shower ?

Post: #189486 Green Aura
Mon Mar 08, 2010 11:34 pm

Can't answer your question in terms of environmental benefit Sarah. Others will be able to answer better but I think both electric showers and the combi boiler are better options than anything else - you've got both so it may just be a question of choice.

In our first house we had a shower/tap ensemble and a combi-boiler and it was great. But I think gas is getting increasingly expensive so that's worth considering (of course a lot of electricity is produced from gas so in effect you're paying to burn it twice in your shower). Not a help I know.

What I can do, though, is empathise totally about the need to get rid of a hideous pink bathroom. We inherited one here (I may have mentioned it in a few other threads :roll: :lol: ). Fortunately there was a new(ish) white enamel bath in an outbuilding, I got 2 small, secondhand belfast sinks on fleabay (one for the kitchen) and got a bargain loo for £20 from B+Q!!! So hopefully this summer we'll get some time to fit it all.
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Re: Which shower ?

Post: #189498 seasidegirl
Tue Mar 09, 2010 6:38 am

We were in the same position as you last year. Only the need to replace bathroom was more urgent as water was leaking from pipes and coming through ceiling!

Anyway I had to make this same shower decision but very quickly and I went for the tap unit. I'd read that electric showers are power thirsty and decided that as, twice a day, we're heating the water with gas anyway why add on an additional cost? Also we're on a water meter so didn't want one too powerful for water usage.

One teenager describes shower as a trickle and the other says its fine. Me and husband enjoy the shower and find the flow more than adequate. When the moody one gets his own house I look forward to visiting his house and enjoying electric power showers on his bill :roll:

The shower tap unit we bought was about £90 but we did make one mistake and that was to fit it to the wall behind the taps using the hook supplied with tap unit. This meant that the water was falling very close to the taps so you had to stand too close to them for comfort to get under the water. From a plumbing shop I got a riser unit which solved this. There are lots of riser units in the DIY shops but they are straight and not much good. The one we got had a bend at the top which brings the shower head further into the bath making the flow more overhead. Works really well.

Good luck.

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Re: Which shower ?

Post: #189499 seasidegirl
Tue Mar 09, 2010 6:47 am

Just remembered that electrical showers do have the advantage of a thermostat which I think prevents cold or v hot bursts if taps are used elsewhere in the house.

I did ponder on this but we all shout if we are having a shower so that others will desist from using taps for five mins. So far this has worked out fine.

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Re: Which shower ?

Post: #189511 snapdragon
Tue Mar 09, 2010 9:05 am

Not quite sure how combi boilers work, but in general you'll need pressure or a 'head' of water to power a non electric shower, so will require your hot water 'storage' to be a metre above the head of the shower
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Re: Which shower ?

Post: #189530 red
Tue Mar 09, 2010 11:38 am

in my old house i had a combi boiler and a mira shower that was not a power shower, but a step up from a mixer tap shower.. basically it regulated the heat etc. worked very well and we were more than happy with it.
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Re: Which shower ?

Post: #200308 matt_w
Thu Jun 17, 2010 7:37 pm

My 9.5KW electric shower uses about 4 litres of water a minute. Bung a bucket under the shower head and try it yourself on a typical setting. Most electric showers use full power but change the water flow to regulate the temperature, so it will always use 9.5 KWH. We don't normally use the gas to heat the water (Solar heated), so it is often not hot enough in winter. So we kept our electric shower for this situation as no point in heating 100 litres of water when 20 is enough.

Now onto your condensing boiler - what type of system do you have? Is it a tank in the loft which connects to a storage tank also called gravity feed? It means that your hot water pressure is typically low in an upstairs bathroom - about 0.1-0.2 bar typically which will be too low for a lot of mixer shower taps. You can get around this with using a high flow tap unit or mixer but not everyone (especially kids) may find it acceptable especially if your water tank is directly on the rafters as you'll have less water coming through (especially if you are uised to a mains pressure electric shower)

Alternatively you may have a pressurised tank or heat store, in this case you have mains pressure hot water at the bathroom tap, most taps/mixers will be fine with this kind of system, but you may need to restrict the flow a little.

Let me know a few more details and I'll try and give you some pointers

sarahkeast
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Re: Which shower ?

Post: #200312 sarahkeast
Thu Jun 17, 2010 8:35 pm

Thanks Matt. I dont have any water tanks, no water stored inside the house ! It comes in, goes thru the gas heating tank thingy that also does the central heating, mains fed is a term that sounds about right. We are still on the electric shower, but I hope/plan to do the bathroom over the summer holidays, still considering if gas thru heater would be more efficient and cost effective than electric [we have Ecotricity now, so not so worried about eco side there at least]
Sarah :flower:

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Re: Which shower ?

Post: #200371 matt_w
Fri Jun 18, 2010 10:46 am

If you have no water tanks at all (including hot water tank?), it sounds like you have a combination boiler. Depends how it works exactly but it would need a minimum flow to heat the water. When you switch your hot tap on, does the boiler ignite within a few seconds (in which case you have a combi boiler). You need to get it fired up and keep the water coming out hot and measure the amount of water that comes out in a fixed time. That will be the minimum flow you need to maintain for mixer shower to work. With a combi you may find that you cannot use any other hot tap in the house at the same time, so a shower from one may not be the best idea. You can also measure the amount of gas it uses from your gas meter (run a bath at your desired flow rate for 5 minutes or similar).

I don't think there will be too much in it, but gas is probably going to be cheaper and more efficient, however the environmental impacts of each are open to debate of course.

HTH

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Re: Which shower ?

Post: #200404 Thomzo
Fri Jun 18, 2010 6:24 pm

Hi
I've just had a combi boiler fitted. I then found out that my existing electric shower isn't compatible with the new boiler. Basically, a combi boiler runs at the mains water pressure of your house. It's too high here for the shower to cope with. The plumber has put a pressure control valve on the shower for me but has warned that it may not work well enough.

On the plus side, the shower tap over the bath has much better pressure now.

One thing that does worry me now is that I have no way of heating water if the boiler breaks down. I'm thinking that if I have to replace the shower at some point, I'll replace it with one that heats the water so that I can still have a shower,even if the boiler isn't working.

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Re: Which shower ?

Post: #200412 crowsashes
Fri Jun 18, 2010 10:19 pm

i personally would stick to an electric shower. here if the gas goes, boiler goes (as it frequently does) the last thing i want to do is boil a kettle to wash in! i dont have a shower yet and when the boiler stopped working at xmas. we had to wash with a bucket in front of the fire! i would have given anything to have a hot shower

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Re: Which shower ?

Post: #200554 matt_w
Sun Jun 20, 2010 9:04 pm

There are basically two kinds of electric shower
(1) "Electric shower" Cold only electric heating shower - this has a cold feed only, normally mains pressure, it has a small boiler inside which heats the water as it is used. This is the kind fitted in perhaps a majority of British houses. They tend to use about 5 litres per minute, and have an electricity demand of 9.5 KW.
(2) "Power shower" - this has both hot and cold feeds and a small pump to raise the pressure of the outgoing water. They typically use up 15 litres per minute and have a typical power rating of about 200 watts. A ten minute shower will the same amount of water as a typical bath!

@Thomzo - it sounds like you have a power shower (2), fitting a pressure reduction valve then using a power shower to get the pressure back up again is a bit, sorry to say, daft. You would probably be better off using a standard mixer (un-powered) shower. I'm not sure the minimum flow a combi boiler needs to recognise that it needs to heat water but if the standard over bath shower unit works then you should be fine. I wouldn't worry too much about the boiler breaking down, modern gas boilers are generally very reliable, I've not had a breakdown in the last 10 years that I can remember :) You an always ask the neighbours nicely or wash in the sink ;)


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