If you are struggling with water pressure in your home to have a decent shower, then adding a booster shower pump could be a sensible solution. The reason for low pressure often comes from a typical gravity feed system, where the hot feed and maybe the cold to the bath only, starts from a header tank in the loft, rather than the mains feed. This could mean that the hot pressure and bath cold flow is much lower than what emanates from the mains cold.
For the benefit of this piece, the subject will relate to positive head pumps only and not combi boiler systems.
By buying a shower pump, all the water that comes from the gravity feed system can gain extra pressure, to have a better shower experience. This is where the booster pump is installed below the header tank to give at least some pressure before the water enters the pump. The recommended bar pressure and height will be written on the box of each pump. Typical values could be .2 bar or .6m below header tank.
- You should run yourself one basic test to see if the flow rate is not up to par. Second, get a stopwatch or turn to the stopwatch mode for your smartphone;
What Is A Power Shower?
These are independent units that look like a typical electric shower, but instead of housing a heating element, that houses a pump to increase the water pressure.
These units are mounted within the shower itself and the controls are on the actual box. It is important to now confuse these with an electric shower as they look the same.
- You can also consider whether there is a twin impeller on the pump you are looking at, which will allow you to raise the pressure of both hot and cold water temperatures equally.
The Pump Used To Increase Water Pressure Throughout The Home
Although often labelled as shower booster pumps, if installed correctly can in fact work throughout the whole hot water system, and cold feed system from the header tank. Or can be a stand alone water pump, only used for shower pressure.
Decide if a single or twin impeller shower pump is better for the system. In better words hot or cold is pressurized, or both hot and cold are pressurised. The twin system will work independently of hot and cold. So, if only the hot tap is turned on, only one side of the twin water pump will switch on
Some shower pumps can be connected to the mains water pressure, but that will need to be checked out first.
- A positive head pump needs a flow rate of at least 0.6 litres per minute and depends on gravity to start draining hot and cold water from the impellers.
Do Shower Pumps Have To Be Switched On Before Use?
This is one of the great advantages of a positive head shower pump. There is no need to switch on the gravity fed water pump before every use. When a tap or shower valve is turned on, the pump recognises the shift in water and will automatically switch the electric motor on and will also recognise when the tap has been turned off. This means, these water pressure pumps can be left alone in situ, there is no need for access.
- The amount of water pressure coming through the pump usually depends on the actual water pump. If you base this on look at the normal water pressure, you should have a minimum of three times as much water pressure coming through your shower.
What Bar Pressure Pump Do I Need?
The most common water pressure pumps tend to range from 1.5bar to around 3bar. (there are of course larger units). The answer to what pressure is needed for each situation is based around, what distance the water tank is from the actual shower location, what size pipe (I.e. 22mm and 15mm), how many taps or showers are likely to be used at the same time, what shower heads are being used.
In most family homes, where it is likely that one shower and maybe another hot tap at the same is to be used, a 1.5bar water pump should do the job. Where the factors change, is if more than one shower happens in two different bathrooms at the same time, especially if large shower heads are being used.
- Again if the shower is located a longer than normal distance from the pump, then a higher pressure version may be the way to go.
- Some water pumps have a 15mm feed and outlet, which sometimes can lower the pressure from 22mm pipes, this is amplified over distance.
- Of course having a larger pump than is actually needed, will only mean, not turning the taps on full, so no damage.
Installing A Shower Pump
There are many YouTube videos out there, that show the different processes for installing a positive head shower pump. This of course changes, if you only want the shower pressure to increase rather than the whole gravity feed pressure, throughout the house.
Professional advice is needed other than what is written here but-
The basic theory is to create an in and out from the hot feed and an in and out from the cold gravity fed feed to the booster pump. This normally can be done around the hot water boiler. Sometimes an air pressure valve may have to be added to the top of the hot water tap also.
Installing the shower pump above the hot water tank may cause problems, so most manufacturers recommend the water pump is installed at the foot to the hot water tank.
This sometimes can be done with plastic pipe, there will be recommendations of how to fit to keep the noise down.
- The pump should be placed as close to the hot water tank as possible when mounting a shower pump.
How Loud Are Shower Pumps?
Most sales literature will talk about the technology that makes their pumps quieter than before. But the reality is that there will be some pump noise, these are not silent. Using the feet supplied or installing the pump on to a shower pump mat may help.
Ensuring pipes are fitted to the wall or together will reduce vibration, air locks can be the biggest reason for a loud pump operation.
- Around 90% of British homes have a shower today, and the pattern has been for showers to get more powerful over the last twenty years.
Electric Wiring Of A Shower Pump
Again only someone proficient should be dealing with anything electric.
However some manufacturers allow the electric powered water pump, to be plugged into a typical 3 pin socket. Looking out for this, may help with a purchase decision.
Other water pumps will need to be wired into a circuit with a fused switch. These specification should be researched before purchase, so not to be disappointed.
- Just one kind of water can be pumped by a single impeller shower pump, either hot or cold.
When All Is Fitted
Having a nice hot shower with loads of pressure can really help with the stresses of life. Or maybe, the bath that took 30 mins to fill, can now be dine in 10 mins.
The most common brands are
- Salamander Shower Pumps
- Grundfos Shower Pumps
- Stuart Turner Shower Pumps
- Aqualisa Shower Pumps
- Monsoon Shower Pumps
Which can be bought from typical DIY retailers such as
- B&Q Shower Pumps
- Screwfix Shower Pumps
- Homebase Shower Pumps
- Wickes Shower Pumps
- Amazon Shower Pumps
Although each retailer has a different range.