Is your shower lacking enough power to give you the best possible washing experience? Are you getting ready to install a new shower in your bathroom? Do you want to save money and do the job yourself?
Answering yes to any of these questions means that you are in the right place. The following guide will take you through the ins and outs of fitting a shower pump into your home. Once the pump is installed, showering will become a whole new experience, and a pretty euphoric one at that.
Get your toolkit and a notebook; you are ready to learn how to install a shower pump (UK edition).
How Long Should a Shower Pump Last?
Shower pumps are small machines that are designed to boost water flow to your shower. There are various kinds of showers and shower heads out there, which means that they each require different bar pressures and pumps. Bar pressure is the pressure required for the shower to function at maximum capacity, and there are pumps for every bar pressure.
If properly installed and taken care of, shower pumps last for around eight years on average. Higher quality pumps may last up to double that amount of time with proper care and maintenance.
Can You Fit a Shower Pump to a Combi Boiler?
A combi boiler is a water heater and central heating boiler in one unit. Combi boilers are excellent ways to conserve space in a home, but the lack of a separate hot water cylinder means that you cannot install a shower pump to this system.
There are alternative cold-water mains boosters available for those who have combi boilers. Shower pumps are specifically designed for use in open vented hot and cold systems.
What’s the Difference Between Negative and Positive Shower Pumps?
Before you purchase a shower pump, you need to check what kind of set-up you have or want to install. If your shower head is below your cold-water tank and the flow rate at 0.6 litres a minute, then you need a positive shower pump.
Positive shower pumps use gravity to allow the water to flow downwards. If your shower head is level with or above your cold-water tank, then a negative shower pump will be required.
Negative shower pumps have a pressure switch that recognizes when the shower is on even if the water is not flowing. If you are unsure which type of shower pump to purchase, a negative shower pump works with both a positive and negative installation.
Why Do I Need a Shower Pump?
Shower pumps are designed to improve the water pressure within your shower. Increasing the water pressure improves a shower’s performance, which can mean a more luxurious showering experience. A higher-pressure shower can be more rejuvenating and be a more efficient system overall – even going so far as to save a little on your water bills.
Things to Consider
Before ordering your shower pump, there are a few things to consider to ensure you get the best one for you;
Once you have the information to these questions, you will know which shower pump is right for your needs.
Preparation Before Installation
Now that you have your shower pump, it is time to get your toolkit and begin transforming your shower. Before you begin, make sure that there is a minimum height of 10 inches or 250mm between the water level in the cold-water tank and the shower rose.
Anything less and it may not be possible to get the 0.5 litres a minute flow that activates many shower pumps. Also, ensure that the cold-water header tank has a capacity of at least 225 litres or 50 gallons to maintain supply to your shower pump and the hot water cylinder.
How to Fit a Shower Pump
#1 When planning where to place the shower pump, make sure you put it in an easy to access spot. This will make maintenance and cleaning easier in the future. Ensure that the pump will not be covered to prevent the motor from overheating and getting damaged.
Being placed in a low-temperature environment that has a frost risk will damage the shower pump, so make sure you choose a warm and dry place. Safety and following regulations are important; the shower pump must be at least 2 feet or 600mm away from the shower tray or basin. Examples of good places are lofts, airing cupboards, under baths, and above cylinders
#2 Once you have chosen where to install your shower pump, you can connect it to the house’s electrical supply using a 230v switched spur off a ring main. Do not connect it to the supply for the hot water cylinder heater or anything else that needs a dedicated supply of energy.
If you want to avoid a noisy shower pump, sit it on a 2 inch or 50mm thick concrete block or foundation. Do not screw the shower pump into the floor.
Also Read: What is a Thermostatic Shower
#3 Fitting a 22mm full bore isolating valve onto the cold-water supply pump will allow you to isolate the water supply to and from the pump. The size of the pipework should be around 22mm to reduce flow resistance regardless of whether there are 22mm or 15mm connections.
#4 To seal the pump and prevent air ventilation, have a Surrey flange fitted to the top of the hot water cylinder for 15mm connections and an Essex flange fitted for 22mm connections.
#5 To prevent damage to the pump itself and reduce noise, use the flexible hoses to link to both the incoming and outgoing delivery pipes.
#6 Properly flush the pipework before connection to the pump to avoid debris damaging it.
#7 Once the shower pump is installed, switch off the electrical supply and run a bucket of water out of both the hot and cold sides. Once the water runs clear, the shower pump will be primed and ready. Doing this stops air from getting trapped and preventing proper operation.
#8 Take note of when cleaning and maintenance should be carried out. Put it on your calendar or in your diary so that you don’t forget.
#9 Turn on the power supply and enjoy your newly improved shower.
Further Reading: Shower Pump Problems
How to Fit A Shower Pump Under A Bath?
It is possible to fit a shower pump under a bath; however proper protocol must be followed. Ensure that the pump is 2 feet from the shower basin or tray.
If you need to access the pump after installation, a tool must be used to open the bath enclosure. The pump must not be covered or in a cold environment, as stated above, and should be as easy as possible to access.
How to Fit A Shower Pump Above Cylinder?
If you cannot have a raised cold-water storage tank in the loft, you can fit the shower pump above the cylinder but below the ceiling.
Make sure you have around 225 litres or 50 gallons of cold water for the shower. Then use the separate connection that is not restricted to ensure that little air can get into the pump impellors. Use a dedicated flange and make an anti-gravity loop. An anti-gravity loop is a pipe that bends towards the floor by a minimum of 350mm in 15mm.
Fit the full-bore isolation valves to the cylinder’s hot outlet either before or after making the loop. Flush the pipework before connecting the pump and connect the hot supply pipe to the inlet of the pump.
If the pump is not in the hot water cylinder cupboard, then you will have to fit another full-bore isolation valve just prior to the pump. Now prime the pump and follow the instructions in the installation section to finish.
Where should a shower pump be located?
If there is, you need a positive head system, which generally requires a minimum inlet pressure of 0.2 bar. It is best if you can place your shower pump close to the hot and cold water storage tanks. At the same time, however, shower pumps should also be easily accessible for maintenance.
Hopefully, you feel more confident in knowing how to install a shower pump yourself. Not only do you know your negative shower pumps from your positive ones, but you also know the ins and outs of how they work.
As always, if you have any concerns or get stuck, then we advise that you should seek professional help from a local handyman. Following this guide and asking advice from professionals will ultimately lead to the perfect shower experience; it’s all worth it in the end.