If you're the sort of person who can't function in the morning without having five minutes in the shower to wake you up, you're not alone. Over 90% of British homes now have a shower, and over the last twenty years the trend has been for showers to get bigger, better and more powerful. One of the main options which people talk about for increasing the power of your shower is adding a shower pump into the system which makes the water flow faster, increases the pressure and gives you the “power shower” feeling. Choosing the correct pump for your shower, or indeed deciding whether you need a pump at all is not always straightforward.
The basic idea of installing a pump is to increase the pressure of the water coming out of the shower head. It sounds simple and indeed it is, but you can only install a pump to power certain types of shower. If you have a shower which is fed by water heated on demand by a combi boiler, you will not be able to install a pump to increase the flow of hot water from the boiler and will have to explore other options for boosting its power. If your shower is electric, it may also not be able to cope with an increase flow of water through your shower, and therefore in these two cases there are better options for getting a better flow through your shower. The most appropriate type of system on which to install a pump is a water system which has a cold water tank in the loft and a hot water cylinder somewhere else in the house. Often, the vertical distance (known as the drop) between the bottom of the cold water tank and the top of the shower is relatively short, and this makes for a weak shower. In these cases, adding in a pump can make the shower far more powerful. If you are unsure whether your system is appropriate for a pump, or whether a pump would provide a benefit, get a plumber out and ask for his opinion.
Every home is different, and water pressure can vary greatly from place to place in the UK. The type of pump you will need will depend on a wide range of factors such as the pressure at present, the pressure you wish to achieve, your budget and the space available for the fitting of a pump. The cost for a new pump for your shower can be anything from £100 to £500, so it is vitally important that you get proper advice from a plumber who has installed pumps before and can advise on the best option for your home. A lay person looking at the various different types of pumps and brands on offer would struggle to know which one was most suited to their home, and even though the staff in many plumbing stores are knowledgeable, they will not be able to come into your home and do the measurements required to advise you correctly. Another thing to consider is that an electric power shower can be bought for around £150, and although you will have to get an electrician in to make sure it is fitted properly you may end up spending around the same amount as you would installing a pump on the existing system. Think through the advantages and disadvantages of all of the options before you commit one way or the other.
Fitting a pump to an existing shower system is not a straightforward job. You need to make sure you get the right width of pipes, the right pipe for the system and install it correctly for the desired results. It's not really a job which the amateur DIY enthusiast can take on, so you will need a plumber to come in and fit the pump for you, which will also bump up the cost. Expect to pay around £150 for fitting of the pump and factor this cost into your budget from the outset. Check out the video below to learn even more about shower pumps from Plumber Parts – Honest Reviews and Advice or for more advice on buying a shower check our buying guide.