25 HPM 0813

HPM August 2013

WWW.HPMMAG.COM Got a story? Ring us on 01732 748041 or e-mail twood@unity-media.com SPECIALREPORT With significant market share, electric showers are here to stay. Bristan’s Rachel Smith, explains why... The electric shower is an easy, low-cost showering solution. Products can be quick and simple to fit and, since they only require a cold water mains supply and a suitable electrical connection, they can be installed just about anywhere. As an electric shower instantaneously heats up cold mains water as it passes through the shower unit - rather than being fed from a hot water storage tank or boiler - it only heats the amount of water that’s needed. Electric showers also provide an endless supply of hot water - so they are ideal for all types of household, whether comprising a single person, couple or family. They also work independently to the home’s heating and hot water system, so if the boiler or hot water cylinder breaks down, there will still be a shower to use. Therefore, electric showers still have a very definite place in the UK shower market and are very much in demand. With significant market share, they are a real mainstay of the industry, and manufacturers have continued to invest in their electric products to make them more attractive to installers and end users, and in recent years things have really moved on. LESS TIME CONSUMING Understanding that electric showers are very often fitted retrospectively, (when an electric shower comes to the end of its working life, the end user tends to opt for a like-for-like replacement, especially if it’s a distress purchase) manufacturers have worked hard to make retrofit installations easier and less time consuming. This ensures that the installer will be on site for a minimal amount of time and the customer won’t be disrupted unnecessarily, or be without a shower for too long. Fitting the new shower in exactly the same place as the existing one and using the original pipework and cable is the ideal scenario. To ensure there’s enough flexibility, choosing an electric shower with multiple water inlet options and electrical cable entry points is highly recommended. Another important consideration is the size of the electric shower unit, as this can have an impact on the amount of refurbishment and retiling involved. For example, if the new shower is smaller than the existing one - or has different dimensions - new fixing holes will have to be created in the tiles. The customer will be left with unsightly holes, and the unattractive option of either replacing the tiles, or filling the holes. We have ensured the footprint of our units is large enough to comfortably fit over most other manufacturers’ showers. The same goes for the riser rail. Ours has an adjustable bracket - so again, previous fixing holes can usually be used or covered over. With such flexibility, we believe installers can confidently carry our range of electric showers in their vans, knowing they will be suitable for any retrofit application. And, for the benefit of the end user, electric showers are more aesthetically pleasing than they have been in the past, with stylised covers and contemporary colour options being available, as well as chrome headsets that are slimmer and wider than ever before, and often multimode. Some products include modern features such as digital temperature indicators and touch controls. Manufacturers have also increased kilowatt outputs to improve performance, and some electric showers now include technology to reduce the build-up of lime-scale, which can significantly prolong the life of products installed in hard water areas. These are all major steps forward, but possibly the most important product advancement has been the introduction of thermostatic technology - following the trend set by the mixer shower market. Just like any other type of shower, electric showers can pose a risk of scalding if there’s a sudden change in water temperature at the outlet. If someone in a household is using a standard electric shower and someone else draws off cold water from another outlet, the temperature of the water will fluctuate, potentially causing a scalding hazard. This can occur whether it’s a slight or a substantial amount of cold water - so anything from filling a kettle or flushing the toilet to using the washing machine or dishwasher can have an effect. Where the actual technology is concerned, it’s not just simply the case of replicating a thermostatic mixer shower - as electric showers operate in a completely different way. Mixer showers are fed by a hot water storage tank or boiler, plus the cold water supply, so thermostatic varieties regulate the water temperature through a mixing valve, which blends the hot and cold water. In comparison, electric showers are fed purely by cold mains water, and work completely independently to the home’s hot water system. As there is no thermostatic standard for electric showers, apart from those installed in care environments, the technology used tends to vary between manufacturers. Our Joy ThermoSafe®, for example, uses phased control of the heater elements, which react in accordance to outlet temperature changes. This helps to balance extreme changes - not only reducing the risk of scalding but also providing a more comfortable showering experience. Offering installers and end users many benefits, the electric shower isn’t going anywhere. And, in response, we have seen many positive changes being made in recent years, especially in terms of ease of installation, aesthetics, performance, safety and comfort. Taking the electric avenue HEATING & PLUMBING MONTHLY AUGUST 2013 25 enquiry number 147 Electric showers are quick and simple to fit and can be installed almost anywhere


HPM August 2013
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