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Helpful hints: All about showers part 1

This is a 5 part article To skip to other parts use these links:
Part 1 - Types of showers
Part 2 - Shower flow rates
Part 3 - Water pressure and terminology
Part 4 - Selecting a shower
Part 5 - Changing a bath to a shower

1. Types of showers

The first step The first step in understanding showers, be it for a new installation or replacement is to have some knowledge of the differing types of shower which exist. There is a huge range of showers to choose from but most are one of five shower types.
Electric showers have a cold water only feed and heat and pump the water as it flows through. The heating requires a lot of electricity so a direct separate supply from an electrical consumer unit (fuse box) is required. The cost of electric showers has fallen in the last few years to the extent that in many cases the cost of the shower itself is only around 20% of the overall installation cost.
Power showers are also electric but simply pump the hot & cold supplies, the hot water being heated by the household water heating system. They require only limited electricity and are thus cheaper to install.
Digital showers are are usually a variant of a power shower with a controller in the shower linked to the main apparatus which is in the loft or elsewhere.
Mixer showers run on the hot and cold water supply and need no electricity. They come in two temperature control types, thermostatic and manual and two mounting types, recessed (the body is hidden in the wall) and exposed.
Balancing showers are usually a variant of the mixer shower but unlike regular mixer valves can operate with differing hot and cold water pressure.
Shower pumps. Some showers have a separate optional pump. These are used to pump water to mixer showers, increasing the pressure considerably. They replicate the power shower with the pump in a separate location.

This article is continued in part 2 - Shower flow rates

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