Showers are more economical than baths, and many people prefer them for their speed and ‘wake up’ qualities. However there is nothing exhilarating about stepping in and turning one on to be presented with a small trickle down your neck – especially if it veers from being an icy trickle one minute to one that scalds you the next.
The installation of a good shower pump is essential for most showers, but if you have a combination boiler then you may not be able to fit one. You need to have about a metre (yard) between the bottom of your water storage cold tank and the top of the shower head if you are not using a pump – the greater the distance (fall) for the water, then the better the pressure is going to be.
Take some advice from your plumber about whether you are going to need a pump, and if you do, whether it needs to pump the whole bathroom (which is unlikely unless your bathroom is in the attic) or just the shower. If your bathroom takes hot water from the tank and cold water direct from the mains, then the pump may not be able to handle the difference in pressure between the two.
Shower Head and Controls
Of course no shower is halfway decent without a good shower head. These range from hand-held ones (very good for washing hair in the bash and rinsing down animals), to those on slider bars, to types fixed to the ceiling or wall. They come in styles to suit every type of bathroom. Strategically placed body jets can massage your body in much the same way as a whirlpool bath does. Steam showers are also available.
Shower controls also offer a bewildering choice, but the important thing is to have a thermostatic control to maintain the water temperature no matter what other appliances are being used in the house.
If you have the space, install a separate shower enclosure rather than having one over the bath. If you have no choice but to combine the two, then you should choose a bath that is as wide and flat-bottomed as possible.
Shower Enclosures come in a range of styles and materials, some with accessories such as shower seats and towel rails, but enclosures can be difficult to integrate well into an existing bathroom. Take a look at your plan and see if there is a niche that could be utilized for a shower.
Position the controls near the door so that you can pre-set and turn on the shower before you get in, and make sure that the walls, floor and ceiling of the shower are waterproofed and that the rest of the bathroom is also protected from the splashes.