Install an Electric Shower
There are many types of shower that can be installed in a property. The following information is designed to aid in the process of selecting a shower by outlining the basic installation process required to install an electric shower - it is not intended to provide detailed fitting instructions.*
Electric showers take mains pressure cold water and heat it as it passes through the unit. They are not connected to the property's heating system so you can install them in virtually any property, regardless of the heating system in-situ.
To install an electric shower a cable needs to be run from the main electrical board through the house, flat or apartment to the site of the shower cubicle or bath. The cable needs to be quite large as electric showers draw a lot of power. The size of cable will depend on local regulations, the Kw rating of the shower and the length of cable run. Running a cable invisibly right through the house can be slightly tricky, especially if the mains board is at the front of the house and the shower at the rear of the property. Methods of concealing cables include running the cable in trunking, running inside cavity walls, running under floorboards or chased into the walls and plastered over. The chosen method can also have an affect on the size and length of cable allowed.
The type of connection to the mains electrics will vary depending on the type of consumer unit fitted at the property. The cable is run from the consumer unit through the property to a suitable pull switch inside the bathroom and on to the electric shower. All of the work will need to be carried out by a qualified professional tradesman.
Mains cold water needs to be supplied to the electric shower. The pipework can be run on the surface, buried in the wall (check your local building regulations to see if this is allowed) or can enter the shower casing from the rear - depending on the type of walls, the location of the pipes and the design of the shower. Many showers have more than one entry point for the pipework making installation a little more flexible - some even have a push fit connector built in that can pivot through 180 degrees. Many manufacturers (and building regulations) insist on an isolating valve being installed in the supply to enable the unit to be removed or replaced if required. Some also insist on a check valve to prevent dirty water coming into contact with mains water, which could happen if the shower head was placed in bath water.
If you are fitting the shower as a replacement for an existing shower try to find the same model as used previously. If this is not possible then you need to ask yourself the following questions before buying :
- will the shape and size of the replacement unit cover missing tiles/pipe holes/screw holes of the previous shower?
- are the electrical connections on the same side to enable the existing cable to be retained?
- is the water connection on the same side or can the connector be rotated?
- is the Kw rating of the shower suitable for the cable, circuit breaker and pull switch used for the previous unit?
The operating pressure of the mains water supplied to the shower needs to be within the limits laid down by the shower manufacturer. The vast majority of electric showers are designed to be used with mains water pressure, but there are one or two models available that will work with low pressure water as supplied by a cold water storage tank. These electric showers have a small pump built in to boost pressure and are not suitable for connection to a mains water supply.
See the following pages for more information on installing showers:
- installing an electric shower
- installing a mixer shower
- installing a power shower
- installing a venturi shower
*There are many rules and regulations that govern the installation of bathroom, plumbing and electrical components. These vary from time to time and also from country to country. Always use a qualified tradesman to install plumbing or electrical components to ensure your products are installed in accordance with the local regulations applicable at the time of installation.