With so many cheap mixer showers and valves on the market why would anyone choose an electric shower as their main means of getting clean day to day over the alternatives? What are the advantages? It seems the market for cheap replacement units as well as high end branded models is growing rapidly so we thought we’d take a look at some of the key benefits and a look at some of the best electric showers available.
Hot Water Always Available
An electric shower gets its water from a single mains cold water inlet which makes it a very flexible product in terms of fitting. It also means the shower works independently from your boiler or other stored hot water tank and thus there is always hot water available on demand. You’ll never need to wait for the water to heat up and it will never run out half way through. Furthermore you’ll never be reprimanding anyone for using all the hot water!
Energy Efficient Products Reduce Bills
Energy efficiency is a hot topic these days with home owners trying to come up with ever ingenious ways of lower consumption and reduce energy bills. Because an electric shower is put to use only when needed it’s supremely efficient as only the water used is heated. This is unlike with stored water solutions which eventually go cool if not used or continually reheated.
Great For Low Pressure Systems
With an electric shower installation the water comes directly from the cold water feed. This usually comes by way of a tank in your loft space. Because the water is above you it creates pressure so the problems of a low pressure hot water circuit don’t generally have any impact on an electric shower. The dribble of water available from a standard mixer shower will be a thing of the past. However if you do have severe low pressure you may want to consider a power shower instead.
Easy To Locate
A lot of electric showers are installed over a bath. They’ve been added as an upgrade by people with a traditional 3 piece furniture layout. After all you only need a cable and a cold water outlet and you’ve added a convenience product that reduces cleaning time in a single bathroom home.
Easy to Replace or to Upgrade
Should you decide to upgrade or if your current model is a bit long in the tooth then it’s fair to say electric showers are easy to replace. Partly because they’re located on the surface of the wall rather than being concealed. A first time installation will probably take 2-4 hours or a bit longer if accessibility isn’t so great. If your plumber has to go into the loft then insuring they have easy access to the cold water tank or mains pipe might save you a few pounds.
The Best Electric Showers
A retrofit might only take 30mins as long as the electrical cable and water inlet pipe are in similar locations on the new model. The Triton T80Z is one of the best electric showers on the market not only because of the great specification list but also because its one of the easiest and most flexible in terms of fitting with multiple water inlets and cable access points. It’s also worth noting that with a like for like product with the same kilowatt rating a plumber can fit the shower but if the power rating of the new unit is different then an Part P qualified electrician must fit it.
Fit & Forget Settings
All but the very cheapest of electric showers tend to have settings that can be left in place ready for the next use. In fact anything over about £100 will probably have a push button start to get the flow of water going rather than a rotary dial. Push on, push off all while leaving the temperature settings in place. Higher end products from the likes of Mira, Aqualisa and Triton even have digital displays with personalised user settings that can be saved.
Considerations if Choosing an Electric Shower
They certainly have lots of benefits but it’s also prudent to point out some of their minor flaws that may or may not be a consideration for you.
It’s less of a problem today but electric showers have traditionally had a weaker flow of hot water. To insure that isn’t the case it’s best to opt for the most powerful model you can. Showers tend to start at about 8kw going up to 10.5kw. If your electrical installation will allow go for the higher ratings, these are a little more expensive but will give you a more consistent and enjoyable showering experience.
Electric showers also seem to be a little more prone to limescale build up. If you live in a heavy limescale area then check your shower handset and flex regularly to catch any build up early, then clean or renew.
It used to be that if someone turned the cold tap on whilst you were showering the flow would be interrupted and you were at risk of being scalded. Manufacturers have spent fortunes on introducing technologies to avoid this, all of them using there own brand names for the technology. Basically it all comes down to sensing the water pressure, flow and temperature and then restricting or halting the supply for safety as required. There are 100’s of electric showers for sale that can be purchased for as little as £50 up to around £400. We would suggest going for a reputable brand name and choosing a thermostatic model.
These are the safest with more accurate temperature control.
Wrapping Things Up
In summary electric showers do offer considerable benefits that may suit a lot of people. If you have low pressure, an older boiler or many people in your household putting demand on hot water then definitely consider one. While style is important spend as much as you can afford on ensuring you get the right features, particularly those related to safety. The best electric showers are those that are safe, flexible to fit and have a host of built in convenience functions.
Hello, my name is Dean.
Together with my business partner we own and operate Shower Enclosures UK.com Ltd.
We’ve been running the business for over 9 years and have amassed a reasonable amount of knowledge and expertise on the subject of shower and bathroom hardware. Enough that we’ve been able to put together a series of blog posts that should make buying bathroom goods that little bit simpler and help answer all the most popular questions.
If there’s anything that doesn’t make sense or needs expanding on please let us know in the comments. You can also reach out to me on LinkedIn
Thanks for taking the time to read our posts.