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Shower Pumps explained – Guide to a Shower Pump Installation

Choosing the bathroom suite, the tiles and furniture can all be very exiting. However don’t forget about the most crucial part of a bathroom; the bathroom plumbing. It can be slightly more tedious and confusing than to choosing the bathroom décor, but to create the perfect bathroom you need room to function perfectly. With the huge range of luxury showers now available many people find that they suffer poor shower performance once installed. This is usually due to low water pressure in their home.

Many people choose to boost the water supply to create a more powerful showering experience. This is done by installing a shower pump. When it comes to choosing the best shower pump there are a few different options to consider; you will want to make sure you purchase the right one for your home, it’s not really about making a style decision but about matching the pump to your homes specific water need.

Read our guide to help you decide which shower pump will be most suitable for your home.

What Shower Pump do I need? – Initial Considerations:

There are a range of different showers and shower heads all of which require different bar pressures (pressure required to function to maximum capacity). For this reason there are different pumps for different showers and water pressures. It is important that you know some information about your home:

  • The layout of the house: Where the cold water storage tank is located.
  • Location of the shower: Is it above or below the cold water storage.
  • The temperature of the water: Do you need to boost the hot water or cold water or both coming through the shower?
  • Is your water supply balanced?

People living in urban and rural areas may experience different water pressure. In addition, if you live on a hill it will also be different to those who live on flat ground. Also, most shower pumps are designed to be fitted onto open vented hot and cold systems.

Shower Pumps Explained

One of the most frequently asked questions our engineers answer regarding installation a pump is:

Customer: Can I use this shower pump on my combi boiler system?

Baker Smith: No, shower pumps are designed to be used only on open vented hot and cold systems. If you require a pump to boost your cold water mains pressure take a look at the Salamander Home Boost.

So if you have an open vented hot and cold water supply in your home and want to boost the supply in your shower, first of all lets identify what set-up you have (or which you would like to have) in your home from the diagrams below.

Image result for negative and positive head pump diagram

Positive Head Shower Pump Installation:

If your shower head is below the cold water storage tank and when in use you are getting a minimum flow rate of 0.6 litres per minute from it, to boost this you will find a positive head shower pump.

Quick Tip: To calculate your flow rate use a measuring jug and a stop watch to see the volume of water you get into the jug in 60 seconds. If you haven’t got a measuring jug use a 1 litre pop bottle, it should take less than 1 minute and 40 seconds to fill the 1 litre bottle.

Negative Head Shower Pump Installation:

If like the diagram you have the shower head level or above the cold water storage tank outlet. For example a loft conversion or attic room you will require a negative head pump.

Quick Tip: A negative head shower pump will also work if your property also has a positive head installation (as shown in the diagram). So if in doubt it’s a good choice.

Another frequently asked question we get is:

Customer: Do I need a twin or single shower pump?

Baker Smith: This will depend on if you want to boost both or one of the hot and cold supplies.

A twin pump is designed to be installed onto both hot and cold stored water supplies. This is to ensure that both supplies are boosted to the same level which is particularly effective for mixer showers. Therefore giving you a greater level of control over the temperature when showering. Depending on how powerful the twin impeller pumps are they can be used to boost multiple showers simultaneously.

A single shower pump can only be installed into a single supply, be it – premixed, hot or cold. These days single shower pumps are mainly used to boost the hot supply if the cold mains fed or if due to location it is easier to install two single shower pumps rather than one twin shower pump.

Quick Tip: The pressure of the shower pumps is measured in ‘bar’. If you are struggling to work out what pressure you need this may help.

House Pumps

House pumps can not only help to boost your shower but indeed the water supplies throughout your entire home. This type of pump is designed to pump hot and cold water separately as and when it i needed throughout your home. This will help to improve the performance of water for the entire homes demand such as bathes, taps and toilets. If you live in an area where water pressure is naturally low then a house pump is well worth investing in. It will make the running of your home more efficient especially if you have more than one bathroom space.

Bar Pressure

Pumps are rated in ‘bar’ which is the measure of pressure – 1 bar pressure being equal to 10 metres static head of water. The higher the bar rating the higher the pressure. The following is a general guide for applications: Up to 1.0 bar pressure = Low boost up to 2.0 bar pressure = Medium boost 3.0 bar plus pressure  = High boost.

Hopefully this short guide has helped you to understand the different types of shower pumps that are available. Once you have decided which type of pump you require and which pressure is suitable then it’s down to you which pump to select. We stock a variety of shower pumps from the UK’s leading manufacturers. You can be sure they produce pumps of the highest quality and performance. Add a fantastic shower pump to your home and you will wonder how you ever managed without one.

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