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Installers Guide

Frequently asked questions about showers, wet rooms, shower pods and shower equipment
Frequently Asked Questions
 
We are contacted every day with a vast assortment of enquiries. Here are some of the questions we are asked and the most common solutions. Please remember that similar problems can be caused by differing factors. This page is provided only as a general guide to help you. It is not intended to provide definitive solutions.

If you feel you can contribute to this page for the benefit of other users please e-mail us with your comments to support@hants1.co.uk

Click on the topics below to view popular questions -

  1. My purchase is still under warranty and....

  2. Can you send me a brochure?

  3. Combination boiler and booster pump....

  4. Using a combination boilers in conjunction with shower body jets and large rain heads

  5. System requirement when installing a shower with body jets and/or multiple shower heads

  6. Manual shower mixer with combination boiler

  7. I need spare parts.

  8. Low shower pressure (using stored hot water)

  9. Temperature swings (electric showers and mixer valves)

  10. Additional parts?

  11. I need advice

  12. Operational and technical questions

  13. Low water pressure and electric showers

  14. My power shower is making 'banging and clanking' noises and spitting at the shower head.

  15. Installation service

 

Q. I have a problem with my purchase and it's still under warranty. What should I do?

A. Problems that require attention under warranty may be dealt with in several ways. It is worth remembering though, no matter how it is deemed best to solve a problem you remain our customer as your purchase is made through us. We will always seek satisfaction for you.

These days manufacturers tend to underwrite the statutory guarantee offered when you purchase a product. Because the manufacturer possesses expert technical knowledge of your product it is often more expedient to allow them to deal with any problem directly. For example, allowing them to make direct arrangements for an engineer to call (should this be deemed the appropriate solution) will shorten the chain of communication and can save an awful lot of time. You will only require proof of purchase when reporting a fault if you go directly to a manufacturer. A visiting engineer will either repair, replace or make a recommendation to the manufacturer based on findings.

If your product is faulty because of a manufacturing defect and is within the guarantee period a manufacturer will either deal with you directly to organise a replacement, or request you deal with us (your supplier) to make the necessary arrangements. Misuse, excessive use, abnormal use or normal wear and tear do not qualify for repairs or replacements under your warranty.

All products sold by us carry a statutory minimum warranty of one year from the date of purchase. Any variation to this (for example where a manufacturer might offer an extended warranty whether this be free or at extra cost) will be expressly stated in the sales particulars of the product. Extended warranty periods (outside the Statutory minimum of 12 months) are by agreement between you and the product manufacturer. Any claim made during an extended warranty period (i.e. after 12 months) must be made directly with the manufacturer or their warranty agent. We cannot deal with extended warranty issues save to help you with proof of purchase.

If you have a technical or warranty query you will need to speak with the customer services department.

For Mira products call 01242 262 888

For Aqualisa products call 01959 560010

For Bristan products call 0844 701 6279

For New Team products - New Team was absorbed by Bristan several years ago. Please contact Bristan (see above)

For Sanilfo (and KINEDO) Products call 020 8842 4040

For Triton products call - 02476 372222

 

For advice on other products please contact us via our Contact Page .

 

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Q. I would like a brochure, can you send me one?

A. Because we have such an extensive portfolio of products it is impossible to carry brochures for every product advertised on this website. We do however try to publish as much information on each product as is available (often more than contained in a sales brochure). Sometimes we will even publish a link to a brochure where possible. If we haven't offered a brochure, it's probably quicker to call the manufacturer and order a brochure by calling them direct. To assist here are some popular numbers -

Mira - Tel: 0800 975 8790 (Literature Hotline) Fax request: 0800 975 8791

Aqualisa - 01959 560020

Bristan - 01827 68525

Sanilfo - 020 8842 4040

Triton  -  024 7637 2222

For details of how other brochures may be obtained please call us on 02392 349636

Product information contained on this website is in many instances more comprehensive than will be found in sales brochures. Remember, web pages can be printed. By doing so you can avoid getting snowed under with information you don't want.

How? Find what interests you then click "File > Print" or click the icon of a printer on the toolbar of your browser.

 

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Q. I have a combination boiler. The flow isn't great, can I install a booster pump?

A. No. The DHW output from a combination boiler may not be boosted. You are at risk of contravening Water Bye Laws and you will invalidate the warranty of the pump. Shower booster pumps are designed to take a low pressure 'gravity' feed and boost. Combi boilers are deemed 'mains pressure' devices. Mains pressure fed to a booster pump may cause damage and invalidate pump warranty.

You should consider the type of boiler you wish to install based on your hot water demands. Once installed there is virtually nothing you can do if it fails to meet your expectations. Gravity water systems (with a stored water source) are the only types of system that may be boosted.

Combi boilers are generally poor at supplying simultaneous hot water demands. If you are likely to experience heavy demand you are advised not to install a combi boiler.

Having said this, combi boilers can often provide enough water for a good simple shower, provided the shower does not incorporate multiple body jets or super sized deluge or rain heads.

 

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Q. Can I use a combination boiler to supply a shower setup with body jets and/or a rain head?

A. Almost certainly no. This is a matter of flow rate. While combination boilers can produce endless amounts of hot water they do so at a relatively slow flow rate. Shower setups where large shower heads or body jets are used require pretty high flow rates at a reasonable pressure (2.5 bar +) for you to enjoy their potential.

Anything less than this and you will probably be disappointed. You'll get wet right enough, but water delivery will look more like a dribble than an invigorating jet.

Remember, the more jets or heads you have running at the same time the more this advice is pertinent.

 

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System requirement when installing a shower with body jets and/or multiple shower heads


Water pressure and the increased demand on volume are important considerations if you are considering the installation of a shower that incorporates multiple jets or shower heads.

As you increase the number of outlet points you increase the area over which your system pressure and supply volume must divide itself. Put another way, as you increase the number of outlets you must increase the supply pressure and flow rate to maintain a status quo.

A pre-requisite for installations where multiple outlets are incorporated is therefore good pressure and an equally good flow potential. (*see note to accompany this point below)

As each installation and equipment used will differ it is difficult to say exactly what your system should provide. As a useful guide you should aim to have at least 2.5 bar.

Your attention is drawn to the fact that everybody's expectation and desire from their shower will be different. Some people feel disappointed unless they have been exposed to a 'bruising' experience (also referred to a 'invigorating'!). Others might find such brutal pressure quite unpleasant. One thing is for sure, if you have just invested in a hydro massage shower pod and all you can achieve is a dribble from the body jets you are going to be devastated.

Make sure you look into your system capabilities before you spend any money. Some systems can be improved, other can't. Here is a general guide to your possibilities.

1. Combination boilers - These are generally OK for single outlet showers, what you might call the standard type with a hose and handset only. Combi boilers are not good at providing enough hot water for simultaneous demands, so they are totally unsuitable for use with body jets or multiple head showers. Don't allow anybody to tell you otherwise.

2. Mains pressure hot water systems - Providing you have decent mains pressure (2.5 + bar depending on what you wish to operate) a mains pressure system with sufficient hot water stored should work OK. Remember, everybody has a different definition of a 'good shower' so keep this in mind when deciding how much water should be stored and what pressure is functionally acceptable.

3. Gravity hot water systems - these are notorious for providing poor (low) water pressure. But happily this type of system can be boosted by installing a pump. [Only a system with a cistern fed supply of stored water may have a pump added. It is in contravention of Water Bye Laws to add a shower booster pump to a system fed directly from the main (unvented cylinder or thermal store), and there's no point in trying to up the performance of a combi.]

In many ways this makes the 'gravity system' the most versatile. You can add a pump with a pressure that suits both your shower setup and your shower expectations. Don't just rush out and buy a pump though. You must appreciate what your changes to the system will do.

*It is all too easy to focus on achieving impressive shower performance. When you open your shower valve you can marvel at all that water gushing out at good pressure. But take a moment to consider where it is coming from and you will realise that this high performance might not be sustainable. A booster pump can in fact do it's job too well. As fast as the pump is delivering water it is draining down your system. So much attention must be given to the amount of hot and cold water on store. Yes, cold water storage is most important. Remember, the cold water storage cistern (usually in the loft) has double demand placed on it - after all, it is supplying your hot water cylinder and it's your cold water supply to the pump. So you must ensure you have plenty of cold water on store otherwise you system will quickly run dry. Attention should also be given to the size of the hot water cylinder. It is unlikely you will want to stand in your all-singing shower and be blasted by cold water!

As a rule of thumb and a means to begin your calculation you should make provision for about 10 minutes of shower time. This gives you the ability to guesstimate the amount of hot and cold water you will need to make available. To make the calculation you need to establish roughly the amount of water your shower equipment will deliver (the flow rate). So, for example....

Shower equipment will deliver a total of 30 litres of hot/cold blended water water per minute. Multiply this by 10 minutes.

30 litres x 10 minutes = 300 litres of cold water needed on store.

If we were to assume a 50/50 mix of hot/cold water this would mean you would need at least 150 litres of hot water available for you shower demand. Equipment type and pump spec will vary calculations. The more jets, the more water you will inevitably use.

Never let your system run dry. You could damage your pump. It is better to have more water on store than no enough.

Just another thought, keep in mind that pump output will remain the same. So don't loose sight of the fact that switching between body jets to an single handset can change the experience from good to brutal as the number of outlets reduces. It's a compromise. A similar logic applies when using a single pump to supply two showers. Remember you will divide the output from the pump when both showers are used simultaneously.

Remember, we all differ in our expectation of a 'good' shower. Some just want to get wet, others want to feel like they've had a layer of skin blasted off them. It is impossible to say what is right for everybody, so you must decide what is right for you. The purpose of this article is simply to draw your attention to the pitfalls.

 

 

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Q. Can I use a manual shower mixer with my combination boiler?

A. Not advised. You should use a pressure balancing mixer valve, or better still a thermostatic mixer valve. Mains pressure is subject to constant changes in pressure. This results in an unstable water blend and temperature fluctuations that can be quite severe.

 

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Q. Where can I obtain spares?

A. It is normally possible to obtain spares and service kits for shower valves complete with easy to follow instructions. Provided there is nothing more serious wrong with your unit this will often cure things like dripping due to internal wear and tear on seals and 'o' rings. Thermostatic cartridges will in time become stiff to operate and unreliable, sometimes impossible to stop dripping. Replacement cartridges are obtainable for the better quality branded products.

If you cannot identify your shower valve Please do not assume because 'it looks like' something else that the spares will be the same. Spares are specific to a product (make/model).

 

Action: Service kits and spare parts may usually be obtained by calling us through the Contact Page

Just a thought...

Consider carefully. Are you repairing something that might develop some other fault next month? Repairs can sometimes save you money, but you might be throwing good money after bad.

 

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Q. I have a cylinder with stored hot water and a loft tank, however the pressure at my shower head is poor. Can I do anything about this?

A. The pressure at which the hot water leaves a vented storage cylinder is directly related to the height of the loft tank (header tank) above the cylinder, or, more importantly, the height of the loft tank above the outlet point (e.g. the shower head) will determine the pressure at that point. The greater the distance the greater the pressure. Make sure there is a good head of water. If you are technically minded, a 33ft (10m) head of water will produce 1 bar of pressure.

There are only a couple of things you can do to improve performance:

  1. Raise your loft tank to increase your 'head' of water (creating a slight increase in pressure)
  2. You should also ensure there a no restrictions or constrictions in the pipework.
  3. Ensure the pipework is the appropriate size for the outlet.
  4. Also check that the shower is not scaled or furred through limescale deposits.
  5. Consider installing a booster pump*.

*There are several things to consider (including legalities and operational considerations/limitations) when thinking about a booster pump. You are welcome to call us and discuss the issues.

 also see Mira, Aqualisa, Stuart Turner Pumps and New Team

 

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Q. Why does the water temperature from my shower sometimes fluctuate from freezing cold to scalding hot?

There can be different reasons for this problem, but we deal with a couple of the more common scenarios below:

 

Mixer Showers

A1. The most common reason for this symptom is that you are using a manual mixer valve supplied on a system with other appliances demanding water while you are showering. This can cause the differential pressure of the hot and/or cold supply to fluctuate. If for example somebody flushes a toilet elsewhere in the house the cold water pressure drops as the cistern fills and the result is usually a sudden increase in temperature at the shower head. Conversely, if somebody turns on a hot water tap elsewhere your shower will go cold (as hot pressure drops). Washing machines and dishwashers commonly cause this effect.

The above description can apply to both gravity and mains pressure hot water systems (including Combi boiler systems).

If you have recently had your central heating system or boiler changed, make sure your shower valve is compatible. Manual mixer valves for example do not stabilise water temperature, so when used in conjunction with a combination boiler or a main pressure hot water system are subjected to pressure fluctuations that affect the hot/cold mix leaving the shower valve.

Remedy: Install a thermostatic mixer valve. This will stabilise the temperature regardless of other household demands. A thermostatic shower valve makes internal adjustments to maintain the output temperature typically within +/- one degree.

A pressure balancing valve may help, but as the name suggests simply equalises the supply pressures within the valve giving a chance of adjusting the output temperature with some precision. PB valves do not however take into account water temperature, so if supply temperatures change so will the output temperature.

 

Electric Showers

A2. If you have an Electric Shower and experience temperature swings it is likely that the unit is not thermostatically controlled. Manual electric showers are at the mercy of the incoming cold water pressure upon which they rely. Mains pressure fluctuates all the time, and should somebody open a tap elsewhere in the house this too will affect the pressure and hence the water temperature.

The solution is to install a thermostatically controlled electric shower. This will make internal adjustments to compensate for incoming pressure, temperature or flow rate changes, stabilising the output temperature to +/- one degree C.

If you already have thermostatic equipment and are experiencing problems it is likely that the thermostatic cartridge is faulty. In this case you will need a service replacement.

 

 

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Q. Is it possible to buy additional parts, such as a new shower head, complete mixer valve or riser rail without having to purchase the complete shower?

A. Yes. If you require individual components or hardware (e.g. internal service kits, handset holders, knobs, covers or replacement thermostatic cartridges) we should be able to help.  -

 

Action: Call us. We will be able to advise on products, availability and cost. If you wish to place an order this can be done over the telephone. If we cannot help for any reason we will try to assist you in your search. Alternatively, click here to look through our website for the spares you require.

 

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Q. I have looked through the website, used the product selectors and have read the FAQ's, but am still unsure. Can you give advice?

A. Yes. If you are still unsure which product will suit your needs we will be happy to advise on product suitability. Please remember though, advice is based on information you provide and can only be given in general terms. You are recommended to seek the opinion of a reputable plumber who is familiar with your specific installation or check with the equipment manufacturer.

Action: Call us.

 

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Q. I have an operational / technical problem with my shower. What could it be?

(issues include: unit cuts out when in use, unit makes whistling sound during use, difficulty obtaining correct temperature, schematic diagrams, faults, lost and damaged parts)


A. If we can help then we will. But remember, whilst we have experience we do not hold ourselves to be experts. You need to speak with customer services for your manufacturer. Below are a few numbers to the larger manufacturers. Please call us if you need additional assistance.

For Mira products call 01242 262 888

For Aqualisa products call 01959 560010

For Bristan products call 01827 311345

For Triton products call 024 7637 2222

For Sanilfo Products call 020 8842 4040

 

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My shower pump is making peculiar noises. What could be causing this?

It goes almost without saying that your pump might simply be tired and worn out. With pumps, noise can be generated by different things so you need to establish what kind of noise you can hear.

Pumps have bearings on the armature that runs through the motor. These days pumps are generally configured to have an impellor housing located at either end (on just one end with single impellor pumps) inside which is an impellor mounted on the end of the armature.

After much use it is not uncommon for bearings (be they ball type, bush type or ceramic) to wear. Worn bearings can resonate, oscillate or vibrate causing peculiar noises. If this is the case it may simply be time to bite the bullet and replace the pump. Repairs, when possible, can often cost as much as replacement by the time you've removed, repaired and replaced, and there's no guarantee that you have diagnosed the fault correctly. Furthermore, one fault can often be the precursor to others and so having repaired one thing you fall foul of something else.

There are however other 'noises' that systems with booster pumps can manifest that have absolutely nothing to do with wear and tear.

If you are experiencing noises that might be described as 'clanking', 'banging' or 'knocking' in the pipework, often accompanied by water 'spitting' from the shower head then is is possible you are suffering from a problem known as 'cavitation'.

Cavitation is a problem where tiny air bubbles form into a pocket of air, getting trapped at the low pressure zone immediately ahead of the pump impellor. Noise is generated as the impellor scavenges for water in the air pocket - occasionally grabbing an aerated mixture and firing it from the outlet. This is what causes the banging noise in the pipework and spitting at the shower head.

Cavitation can be caused if your pipework runs in such a way that air bubbles are permitted to congregate around the pump impellor. Careful attention must be paid to the run of pipework to avoid such a scenario. Firstly, a dedicated shower take off (or special flange known as an 'Essex' or 'Surrey' flange) should be used to draw hot water from the cylinder. A dedicated shower take off or flange is designed to prevent air bubbles from the hot water within the cylinder from being sucked towards the pump. Simply teeing into a hot water pipe somewhere enroute to the pump can exacerbate this problem. Furthermore, when the system is dormant (pump not running) air bubbles should be able to vent. Poorly designed pipe runs and attempts to cheat the laws of physics more often than not result in a noisy system.

There is however another reason for cavitation to manifest itself. As hot water approaches the low pressure zone ahead of the pump it is encouraged to give up its saturated gasses (all fluids contain saturated gasses).

An attempt to explain

When you boil a kettle, as water reaches boiling point it bubbles vigorously. In other words, the hotter water gets the greater the propensity for it to give up the saturated gas contained within.

Another condition that can cause this 'boiling effect' is a vacuum. The vacuum of space will cause an astronaut's blood to boil without adequate protection.

Now combine the two in lesser terms.... very hot water entering a low pressure zone ahead on the pump impellor.... saturated gasses find it easy to come out of solution and form an air pocket.

The solution?

If indeed this is the problem take a look at the temperature of the hot water. Check your cylinderstat. Try reducing the temperature at which you store your hot water. If it is set to 60 degrees you might find by turning it down to 55 degrees you eliminate the problem. If this cures your 'klanking and spitting' issue you have just saved yourself a heap of money by twiddling the knob on your cylinderstat!!!

A lengthy explanation maybe, but designed to help you understand the cause and cure for a very common yet little understood issue.

 

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Q. I live in an area with low water pressure and would like to install an electric shower. Is this possible and what should I do?

A. There are a couple of options. You could install an adequately sized loft tank at a suitable height above the shower head to give you low (but acceptable pressure) and use this to supply water to a shower, or consider a shower such as the Mira Elite 2.

The Mira Elite is a 'pumped electric' model (Other manufacturers such as Triton make similar models). The pumped electric shower is a slightly unusual variant on a standard electric model. Standard electric showers require a mains pressure water supply. Indeed, it is the water pressure that 'drives' water through the unit and is responsible for the performance. The pumped electric shower requires a low pressure 'gravity' feed from a header tank. An internal pump boosts the supply pressure to an acceptable level then heats it electrically hence - pumped electric.

Please note, the pumped electric shower (like the Mira Elite) should not be confused with a power shower. Furthermore, it must not be connected to a mains pressure supply. Water Bye Laws prevent you from connecting shower booster pumps to the incoming main. And, should you do so, you will invalidate the warranty on the shower unit.

Don't hesitate to Call for more advice.

A 'pumped electric shower may not be connected directly to mains pressure water.

 

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Q. Do you offer an installation service or recommend installers?

A. No. I'm afraid we do not offer an installation service. See our Guide to Plumbing and Heating Installers

We suggest you look locally. If possible choose a company by recommendation. Obtain competitive quotes for the work you want done. If you are considering somebody, try to see previous works carried out to check for quality. Don't be guided too much by price - it's quality of workmanship, reliability and service that are important.

It is advisable to ensure that your installer is fully competent and insured to perform the task. If an installer objects to you asking questions, look elsewhere.

There is nothing to stop you buying goods and engaging a tradesperson to install. There is often a saving to be made this way. If the installer objects to you doing this it is likely they were going to make a profit on the supply as well. Some installers see marking up the cost of hardware as a legitimate earning, not a hidden surcharge. You decide whether you want to pay the extra.

Never forget, you are the boss. Do not be brow-beaten into having work done and don't be frightened to challenge the cost. If the installer objects strongly when you ask questions maybe you should look elsewhere and get another opinion. An honest tradesperson won't object to you asking questions. Why should they?

 

Note: We would be interested to hear from you if you have had a particularly poor service from an installer, or if you wish to praise the service you have received. We may at a later date dedicate a new section and include your comments.

Useful information about showers, wet rooms, shower pods and shower equipment

 


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