There are a few things more frustrating than getting in the shower after a long day at work, looking forward to a hot soak in a drenching downpour, only to find out that the water pressure is so low that it barely tickles you. If you’ve been experiencing similar problems like these for a while now, it may be time to update your shower tap.
Choosing shower tapware may be a bit more complicated than choosing most other bathroom fixtures. There are a number of things to consider before you can even think about aesthetics.
Which Water System Do You Have?
Everyone wants a huge shower head that drenches them in water that has just the right temperature. However, many people often experience poor water pressure and water temperature fluctuations while showering, which is not the most pleasant thing when you’re trying to relax. This can be avoided by choosing the right shower tap for your hot water system. Manufacturers of shower taps usually specify the minimum water pressure required for their products to operate optimally. This is an important factor that can affect the quality of your showering experience.
There are three main types of water systems:
- A gravity-fed system has a cold-water tank that’s typically located n the loft and a water cylinder right below it. This is a low-pressure system found in many homes.
- Unvented systems include a hot-water storage cylinder that takes cold water directly from the mains (no cold-water tank needed). An in-built coil is responsible for heating the water. As the coil gets hot, the water within the cylinder heats up as well. This is a high-pressure system.
- A combi boiler system heats water on demand whenever a hot tap is turned on. The water is connected directly from the mains, without a tank or cylinder. It is also a high-pressure system.
Once you’ve figured out your water system, choose the suitable shower type for it.
As their name suggests, a shower mixer tap combines hot and cold water on demand. It can suit either a low or a high-pressure water system, so make sure that the one you are considering is appropriate for your needs. A luxurious rain shower tap will require high water pressure. If yours is low, you can consider investing in a separate pump to increase the water flow.
If you don’t have a boiler or a hot-water supply, an electric shower may be the solution. An electric shower heats the water to the perfect showering temperature but it provides less water volume than mixer showers. To improve water pressure, look for electric shower models that have a built-in pump.
Bath Shower Mixers
If you want to combine a bath and a shower, you’ll need a bath shower mixer. These taps come in a range of styles and prices, so make sure to shop around. A popular option is combining a bath tap with a shower attachment. All you have to do is turn on the tap as if to fill the bath or pull the diverter and the water will flow through the showerhead instead. Look for diverters that are of good quality and easy to use.
Your showerhead choice can also affect your showering experience. While there’s a wide range of products to choose from, most fall into four main categories: handheld showerheads, rain showers, body spray panels and standard wall-mounted showers. If you like the feeling of being drenched from above, then a rain shower might be for you. If you prefer an arc of water in a height and direction you can control, a handheld shower is probably the best option. As you can see, it all comes down to your preferences.
Don’t worry about your shower tapware having various sprays. Modern products make it easy to find just what you need by combining multiple functions and spray options. For example, you can choose a wall-mounted unit that comes with an integrated handheld showerhead so that water can flow from both of them at the same time.
Consider the Shower Valve
This may not sound very exciting, but it’s what drives the water to your shower head. It’s what allows you to control the water and temperature for your shower. Unless you choose an electric shower, then the shower valve can be either concealed or exposed.
- Concealed valves are set to the wall – their controls can be seen but all the pipes and water outlets that are connected to them are hidden inside the wall. With concealed valves, you have more design options to choose from and they also allow easy access for maintenance and repair.
- Exposed valves generally consist of a part for water control and a horizontal bar. Here, all the outlets and associated pipes are visible on the wall. As there is no disruption to the tiling of the bathroom, they are quick and easy to install. These valves also tend to be cheaper and can offer features like a separate flow and thermostatic temperature control. However, there are fewer design options to choose from and they can also take up more room in your shower.