Last Updated: Sunday, 11th February 2024

How Do Electric Showers Work?

Electric showers are a convenient and popular choice for households seeking an easy-to-use solution for on-demand hot water. These showers only require a cold water pipe and an electrical supply, which removes the need to plumb a hot water supply to the shower unit. So you can install these showers in any room of the house, flat, mobile home, or any other place you can think of that has an electrical and a cold water supply.

The versatility and simplicity of electric showers make them a practical option for many homeowners. But how do they work? Let's take a look!

How Does an Electric Shower Work?

The first thing to understand is that electric showers operate independently of a your home's central heating system. Instead, they only take in cold water, which flows into the shower unit and passes over an electric heating element. As an electric current passes through the heating element, it heats up and this subsequently heats any water up that passes over it. The heated water then flows to the shower head and, then, to you.

Image showing a shower head with excellent water pressure

On the whole, hot water from an electric shower is considered instant. So, by choosing an electric shower, you don't have to fire up your boiler. Nor do you have to worry about running out of hot water, or waiting for a hot water tank to refill.

How Can I Make My Electric Shower More Powerful?

We discuss all of this exclusively in our article "How To Improve Your Electric Shower", but to summarise, often the flow rate of the electric shower is dictated by its kW rating, as electric shower can only allow as much water to pass through as it can heat up. However, there are a few things you can do:

  • Buy a Higher kW Shower: One option is to select an electric shower with a higher kW rating, as this provides more power to heat the water, which can increase the flow rate.

  • Install a Shower Pump: If you think the water pressure coming into the electric shower is an issue, then you may want to consider a shower pump. Check out our list of Electric Shower Compatible Shower Pumps to learn more.

  • Insulate Your Pipework: Another option is to insulate the pipework of the cold feed. During the colder months, the electric shower's performance may decrease due to the lower outside temperature, which can cause the incoming water to be colder than usual. Consequently, the shower must work harder to heat up the water, slowing the flow rate. Pipe insulation can help mitigate this issue.

Learn more about improving your electric shower here

Are Electric Showers Expensive To Run?

Electric showers have become increasingly energy-efficient in recent years, with the latest models designed to use only the necessary amount of electricity to heat the water to your desired temperature. Nonetheless, it is helpful to understand the estimated running cost of an electric shower.

Electric showers are typically rated between 7.5kW and 10.8kW, and the average shower time in the UK is 8 minutes. As of the time of writing, the average cost of electricity in the UK is 34p per kW.

Using these figures, we can estimate that the cost of running an electric shower for an 8-minute shower would be between £0.32 and £0.40.

How Do You Install an Electric Shower?

Electric showers are incredibly easy to install. They require only two things: a cold water supply and an electrical connection. You could probably DIY the plumbing aspect, but any electrics should always be done by a qualified electrician.

However, the general steps are as follows:

  1. Make sure you've turned off your electrical supply, and also your cold water supply,

  2. If you're replacing an existing electric shower, remove this from the wall. You should be able to do this by removing screws. You may need to remove the casing in order to access the screws,

  3. Open the case of your new shower and look for the holes to help you mount the shower unit to the wall,

  4. Mark these holes and if it is necessary to drill new holes for the screws, go ahead and do this,

  5. Mount the shower unit on the wall, and follow the manufacturers instructions as to how to connect the water and the electrical supplies,

  6. Replace the casing,

  7. If you also wish to install a new shower head, supporting rails or a new shower hose, then you should go ahead and do this now,

  8. When you're confident all is in place, and the supplies have been connected properly and safely, go ahead and turn on the mains water and electrical supplies, test that the shower works and if all is ok, enjoy a quick shower before anyone else does!

Wrapping Up

Electric showers offer a convenient and energy-efficient way to elevate your shower experience without breaking the bank. While they may have some limitations in terms of water pressure, their versatility makes them a top pick for those looking to either upgrade an existing shower or install a new one with greater flexibility in placement. Simple to operate, electric showers are a great way to achieve a refreshing and invigorating shower experience every time.

Frequently asked questions

What is an electric shower?

An electric shower is a type of shower that heats water independently of a home's central heating system. It only requires a cold water supply and an electrical connection.

How does an electric shower work?

Electric showers work by passing cold water over an electric heating element, which heats up the water. The heated water is then delivered to the shower head and to you.

How can I make my electric shower more powerful?

The power of electric showers is determined by their kW rating. Additionally, the amount of water the shower can provide is limited by its heating capacity. For a more powerful shower, you can try adjusting the temperature, opting for a higher kW rated shower, or insulating your cold water feed.

Are electric showers expensive to run?

Electric showers have become more energy-efficient in recent years. Currently, the estimated cost of running an electric shower for an 8-minute shower ranges between £0.32 and £0.40 in the UK.

How do you install an electric shower?

Installing an electric shower is straightforward and requires a cold water supply and an electrical connection. For the electrical connection, you may need a qualified electrician's assistance. The general steps include turning off electrical and cold water supplies, removing an existing electric shower, mounting the new unit, connecting water and electrical supplies, and testing the shower.

Any more questions?

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