Salamander shower pump with green details

Shower Pumps Explained – Guide to a Shower Pump Installation

Choosing the bathroom suite, the tiles and the furniture can all be very exciting. However, don’t forget about a bathroom’s most crucial part: the plumbing. It can be slightly more tedious and confusing than choosing the bathroom décor, but to create the perfect bathroom, you need the room to function perfectly. With the huge range of luxury showers available, many people find they suffer poor shower performance once installed. This is usually due to low water pressure in their home.

Many people choose to boost the water supply to create a more powerful showering experience to rejuvenate themselves. This is done by installing a shower pump. When it comes to choosing a shower pump, there are quite a few different options.  You will want to make sure you purchase the right one for your home. It’s not really about making a style decision. It’s more about matching the pump to your home’s specific water needs. Read our buyer’s guide to help you decide which shower pump will be most suitable for your home.

What Shower Pump do I Need? – Initial Considerations :

There are a range of different showers and shower heads, all requiring different bar pressures (pressure required to function to maximum capacity). For this reason, there are different pumps for different showers and water pressures. It is important that you know some basic information about your home

Water Tanks

  • The layout of the house: where the cold water storage tank is located
  • Location of the shower: is it above or below the cold water storage
  • The temperature of the water. Do you need to boost the hot water or cold water or both coming through the shower? Is your water supply balanced?


People living in urban and rural areas may experience different water pressure. In addition, if you live on a hill, it will also differ from those living on flat ground. Also, most shower pumps are designed to be fitted onto open vented hot and cold systems.

Shower Pumps Explained

One of the most frequently asked questions our customer services team answers regarding installing a shower pump is:

Customer: “Can I use this shower pump on my combi boiler system?”

Customer Services: “No, shower pumps are designed to be used only on open vented hot and cold systems. If you require a pump to boost your cold water mains pressure, look at the Salamander Home Boost.”

So if you are still with us and have an open vented hot and cold water supply in your home and want to boost the supply to your shower, first of all, let’s identify what set-up you have (or which you would like to have) in your home from the diagrams below.

Positive Head Installation

Negative Head Installation

Positive Head Shower Pump Installation:

If your shower head is below the cold water storage tank and when in use, you get a minimum flow rate of 0.6 litres per minute. To boost this, you will require a positive head shower pump.

Quick Tip: To calculate your flow rate, use a measuring jug and a stopwatch to see the volume of water you get into the jug in 60 seconds. If you haven’t got a measuring jug, use a 1-litre pop bottle, it should take less than 1 minute and 40 seconds to fill the 1-litre bottle.

Negative Head Shower Pump Installation:

If, like the diagram, you have the shower head level or above the cold water storage tank outlet. For example, you will require a negative head pump in a loft conversion or attic room.

Quick Tip: A negative head shower pump will also work if your property has a positive head installation (as shown in the diagram). So if in doubt, it’s a good choice.

Another frequently asked question our customer services team answers regarding shower pumps is:

Customer: “Do I need a twin or single shower pump?”

Customer Services: “This will depend on if you want to boost both or one of the Hot and Cold supplies”

A twin shower pump will be installed onto hot and cold stored water supplies. This ensures that both supplies are boosted to the same level, which is particularly effective for mixer showers. Therefore giving you a greater level of control over the temperature when showering. Depending on the power of the twin impeller pumps, they can boost multiple showers simultaneously.

A single shower pump can only be installed into a single supply, be it – premixed (see diagram), hot or cold supply. These days single shower pumps are mainly used to boost the hot supply if the cold is mains fed or if, due to location, it is easier to install two single shower pumps rather than one twin shower pump.

Quick Tip: The pressure of Shower Pumps is measured in ‘Bar’. If you are struggling to work out what pressure you need, this may help.

House Pumps

House PumpsHouse pumps can not only help to boost your shower but, indeed, the water supplies throughout your entire home. This type of pump is designed to pump hot and cold water separately as and when needed throughout your home. This will help improve the water performance for the entire home’s demands, such as baths, taps and toilets. A house pump is worth investing in if you live in an area where water pressure is naturally low. It will make your home running more efficient, especially if you have more than one bathroom space.

Bar Pressure

Pumps are rated in ‘bar’, which measures pressure – 1 bar pressure equal to 10 metres static head of water. The higher the bar rating, the higher the pressure. The following is a general guide for applications: Up to 1.0 bar pressure = Low boost, Up to 2.0 bar pressure = Medium boost 3.0 bar plus bar pressure = High boost

Hopefully, this short guide has helped you understand the different types of shower pumps available. Once you have decided which type of pump you require and what pressure is suitable, it’s down to you which pump you select. We stock a variety of shower pumps from the UK’s leading manufacturers. You can be sure they produce pumps of the highest quality and performance. Add a fantastic shower pump to your home, and you will wonder how you ever managed without one!

If you are still undecided and need help with which shower pump to choose, you can call friendly and knowledgeable technical advisers on

Stuart Turner on 01491 572655

Salamander Pumps on 0191 516 2002


How do I know what shower pump I need?

Before delving into the details of choosing a shower pump, it is crucial to understand your existing water system. There are two main types of water systems in homes:
Gravity-Fed System: This system relies on gravity to deliver water to your shower. It is usually found in older properties and tends to have lower water pressure.
Mains Fed System: Also known as a high-pressure system, this type receives water directly from the mains supply, providing better pressure.
Identifying your water system is the first step towards selecting the appropriate shower pump.

What are the types of shower pumps?

There are primarily two types of shower pumps available:
Single Impeller Shower Pumps: These pumps have one impeller and are suitable for boosting water pressure in one water outlet, such as a showerhead.
Twin Impeller Shower Pumps: Twin impeller pumps are more powerful as they can boost water pressure for both hot and cold water supplies. They are ideal for showers with a mixer or blending valve.

What is the difference between a Centrifugal and Regenerative shower pump?

Your shower pump will fall into one of two categories that you’ll need to consider: centrifugal or regenerative. The centrifugal pump, which is the most common type, utilises centrifugal force to move water in and out. The flow of water exiting the pump is at right angles to the direction of the flow entering it. When the pump is switched on, water is drawn onto the impellers, which then push the water out at a high speed.

On the other hand, a regenerative pump operates differently. In this type of pump, the incoming and outgoing flows move in the same direction as the impeller’s axis of rotation. Water is driven around the casing surrounding the impeller blades, and the energy generated is harnessed to draw more water into the pump.

Generally, centrifugal pumps tend to be quieter and more efficient, whereas regenerative shower pumps are more cost-effective and simpler to install.

If you consider situating your pump in the loft or above the hot water cylinder, a regenerative pump might be the more suitable option. This type of pump is less prone to be influenced by air that may become trapped above the water in the hot cylinder. However, remember that these pumps might be noisier than their centrifugal counterparts.

Can you put a shower pump on mains water?

Connecting a shower pump directly to the mains water in the UK is not permissible. The water regulations and bylaws typically prevent the use of pumps that could increase the pressure of the mains water supply, as it might lead to potential contamination or other issues within the public water system.

If you are experiencing low water pressure and considering a shower pump, it’s usually applied to gravity-fed systems rather than mains-fed systems. Different solutions might be appropriate to address low pressure in a mains-fed system, such as a mains booster pump that complies with regulations.

Always consult with a qualified plumber or relevant local water authority to ensure that any modifications to your plumbing adhere to your area’s legal requirements and regulations.

Do I need a shower pump with a combi?

A shower pump is not needed with a combi boiler. Combi boilers are designed to provide hot water on demand by heating it directly from the mains, thus usually delivering it at a good pressure. Since the pressure is often sufficient, a shower pump, which increases water pressure, is generally unnecessary. However, it would be advisable to consult with a qualified plumber or heating engineer who is familiar with your specific system and needs, as there might be unique circumstances or requirements in your particular case.

Do shower pumps use a lot of electricity?

Shower pumps typically don’t consume a large amount of electricity, but their consumption can vary depending on factors such as the power rating, efficiency, and how often the pump is used. Most standard shower pumps operate at a power range between 100 to 600 watts.

If the pump is used for short durations, such as the average length of a shower, the electricity consumption is generally quite minimal. However, if used frequently or for extended periods, the energy usage may add up over time.

To understand the specific electricity consumption of a particular shower pump, it’s advisable to refer to the manufacturer’s specifications and, if possible, consult with a plumbing professional. Energy-efficient models may also be available, which could further reduce consumption.

Where should a shower pump be installed?

A shower pump should be installed in a location that adheres to the manufacturer’s guidelines and local regulations. Here are some general considerations for installing a shower pump:

  1. Accessibility: The shower pump should be installed in a place where it can be easily accessed for maintenance or repairs, such as an airing cupboard or a loft space.
  2. Proximity to Shower: Ideally, the pump should be located close to the shower or bathroom to minimise the distance the water travels, which can affect performance.
  3. Above or Below Water Source: The pump should usually be installed at or below the level of the water source, such as a cold-water tank. It’s essential to consult the manufacturer’s instructions, as some pumps are designed to be installed above the water level.
  4. Noise Considerations: Since shower pumps can generate noise, installing them in an area where the noise won’t be disruptive or with appropriate noise-dampening materials may be preferable.
  5. Ventilation: The pump should be installed in a well-ventilated area to avoid overheating and ensure efficient operation.
  6. Compliance with Regulations: The installation should comply with local building and plumbing regulations, which may have specific requirements for installing shower pumps.
  7. Professional Installation: It’s generally recommended to have a shower pump installed by a qualified plumber or technician familiar with the specific product and local regulations, to ensure a safe and effective installation.
  8. Avoiding Mains Water Connection: As previously mentioned, connecting a shower pump directly to mains water is not permitted, so the pump should be connected to a gravity-fed water system.

Following these guidelines and the specific instructions provided by the manufacturer, a shower pump can be installed in a location that ensures efficient and safe operation.