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How to improve shower in a house with no boiler?

Discussion in 'Home and Garden' started by sampo, 2 Sep 2015.

  1. sampo

    Gangster

    Joined: 15 Oct 2006

    Posts: 268

    Calling any plumbers!

    We have a beautiful hill farm in Snowdonia, but one of the minor downsides of such a property is the fact that the nearest mains gas/water supplies are about 4 miles away! The plumbing in the house has been cobbled together over the years but is basically centred around unpressurised cold water header tanks. We currently have a ground floor shower (8.5 kw Triton T90si power shower) that draws from the first floor loft cold water header tank. It's pretty feeble in terms of pressure, and this doesn't seem to change much from very low to very high output water temperature.

    We would like to improve this shower. Because of the nature of the house, the traditional best option of a combi-fed mixer is off the cards, so we need to be a little more inventive.

    I am wondering whether one option might be to install a single shower pump to boost the cold supply pressure from the tank to 2-3 bar. I would then replace the old power shower with a 10.8 kw electric shower (cabling is up to scratch). The house is primarily used April - October, with only light usage in winter, so one thing in our favour is that ambient water temperature in the tanks shouldn't be too low when the shower is most used. Does anyone have experience of this type of setup?

    I guess the other alternative would be to install a hot water tank and electric boiler, and then pump both the cold and hot supplies to a traditional mixer shower? However I am concerned that the loft space may be inadequate for this...
     
  2. Mark M

    Mobster

    Joined: 6 Jan 2006

    Posts: 3,285

    Location: Newcastle upon Tyne

    Im not a plumber but what is the typical pressure of mains cold water? Assuming its 2-3 bar then I cant see any problems pumping the cold water into a electric shower? Might be worth having a look at a manual for a shower and see what the specs says for pressure in etc.
     
  3. sampo

    Gangster

    Joined: 15 Oct 2006

    Posts: 268

    Yes, I believe it would become equivalent to running the most powerful electric shower available off a room temperature 3 bar mains supply. I'm hoping this would provide a decent improvement over the current 8.5 kw power shower, where the 8.5 kw unit both pumps and heats. I guess my question is whether anyone has experience of this kind of set up.
     
  4. a1ex2001

    Capodecina

    Joined: 14 Mar 2005

    Posts: 14,564

    Location: Here and There...

    I wouldn't bother with the separate pump it won't actually gain you anything that just buying a high Kw pumped electric will so if you decide to stick with Electric then you can get a Mira Elite ST which is 10.8KW with an integrated pump which will give you exactly the same output as the separate pump and a 10.8 kw shower would do. We have a 9.5Kw version in our second bathroom and while it's not exactly amazing it is more than adequate and a big improvement over 7-8 Kw electric showers I've used elsewhere.

    The only other option open to you is I guess a pumped power shower off hot and cold water tanks assuming you have a hot water tank!
     
  5. sampo

    Gangster

    Joined: 15 Oct 2006

    Posts: 268

    There isn't a supply from the hot water tank to the 'new' part of the house with the showers, so this isn't an option (and the tank is an old fashioned immersion / stove heated job, so not up to running showers anyway).

    I figured a separate pump would be better than the small ones installed in power showers, and the 10.8 kW electric would have more power for the heating element as it is not also having to run a pump?

    The 'main' supply to the property is from a borehole, with a minimum pressure of 1 bar. Perhaps this would be enough to skip the tank directly and connect directly to the shower?
     
  6. a1ex2001

    Capodecina

    Joined: 14 Mar 2005

    Posts: 14,564

    Location: Here and There...

    I'd keep the tank given your mains supply.

    The pump is doing very little work to get the mains up to pressure so I doubt you will see any difference between the integrated job and a standalone pump all you will do is complicate the install. To a certain extent your just going to have to accept the poor shower performance unless you willing to go for major upheaval with an oil/gas tank and a combi or new hot water cylinder in the right part of the house.
     
  7. Caged

    Capodecina

    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 24,479

    Get a biomass pellet boiler. Obviously a more long-term option.
     
  8. Skiddley

    Mobster

    Joined: 1 Aug 2003

    Posts: 3,796

    Location: Cheshire

    Is an LPG tank not an option?
     
  9. a1ex2001

    Capodecina

    Joined: 14 Mar 2005

    Posts: 14,564

    Location: Here and There...

    just slightly more expensive and complicated than a new shower :) but your right it would probably be the best solution asuming a tank could be installed.