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Electric showers can be used within any domestic water system. They, in most cases, are connected to the mains cold water and an element within the shower heats the water as it passes through the unit. If you can arrange a clearance of 10 metres from your shower spray to the underside of the cold water tank, you can fit an electric shower to this. In this situation the shower must have an independent cold supply from the tank.
The water at your mains entry must have a running pressure of min 1 bar, must flow at a rate of 8 liters per minute, and have a maximum static pressure of 10 bars. Most electric showers will be configured for these water bye law stipulations but it is as well to check with the manufactures instructions.
Your shower must be connected to the mains via a 15mm water pipe and it is just as well to install an isolation valve in this run. The valve can be turned off if and when maintenance is required to the shower and this removes the need for water to be turned off at the mains, disrupting all other water uses. A description and installation of isolating valves can be found in our bathroom project page.
The electrical connections to an electric shower are covered by many regulations. An electric shower must be installed on its own circuit and not spurred from any other connections or appliance. First you must check that your fuse board is capable of providing the current necessary and must be rated above 60 amps. An RCD (residual current device) must be installed as, either part of your existing fuse board, or separately, interrupting the circuit to the shower. Connection to the fuse board should be by means of a MCB (miniature circuit breaker). Fuse, switch, and cable ratings are also vital and we would suggest that 10mm cable is used for all installations. This makes upgrading your shower much easier in the future.
The shower must be permanently connected to the electricity supply via a double pole isolating switch with a minimum contact gap of 3mm in both poles. The switch must be readily accessible but out of reach of a person using a fixed bath or shower, except for the cord of a pull cord operated switch. The wiring must be connected to the switch without the use of a plug or socket outlet. The supply cable selected for installation must conform to the relevant table in the current I.E.E. regulations. The minimum size will be 6mm2 but in some cases 10mm2 or larger will be required. In the interests of electrical safety a 30mA RCD (Residual Current Device) should be installed in all UK electric and pumped shower circuits. This may be part of the consumer unit or a separate unit.
Site Requirements – Water
To ensure activation of the heating elements the shower must be connected to a cold rising main water supply with a minimum running pressure of 1.0 bar (14.5 psi) at a minimum flow rate of 8 litres/minute and a maximum static pressure of 10 bar (145 psi). Minimum running pressure of 1.3 bar (20 psi) required for the T200re model. Minimum running pressure must be obtained at 9 litres/minute for the 9.5kW rate models.
An isolation valve must be fitted in a convenient position in the supply pipe to allow the shower to be serviced.
Where installation could result in the sprayhead falling below the top of the bath or shower tray, it will be necessary to fit a Double Check Valve to the inlet to prevent back flow, in accordance with Water By-Laws.
Electric showers must not be installed in steam rooms/cubicles. To reduce the effects of condensation, rooms containing a shower should be adequately ventilated.
Advantages - Economical, constant
Disadvantages - More expensive, some models prone to scaling
About the Author: Cryste Wisne has been in the California Custom Shower Business for the past 10 years. She has used her vast experience as a Contractor , design, installation, and implementation of custom showers in California.