March 22, 2023 Electric Shower, Technical Guides 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 utilise the cold water, which flows into the unit and passes over an electric heating element. As an electric current passes through the heating element, it heats up and this subsequently heats up the water that passes over it. The heated water then flows to the shower head and, then, to you.

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?

Shower head with powerful flow of water

When using an electric shower, the rate at which water flows from the shower head is primarily determined by the desired water temperature. The electric shower can only allow as much water to pass through as it can heat up. Therefore, if you prefer a hotter shower, the shower must heat up more water, resulting in a lower flow rate from the shower head. However, there are a few ways to improve the electric shower's performance.

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.

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, and insulation can help mitigate this issue.

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 overall any electrics should 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 are a practical solution for individuals seeking to enhance their shower experience while also being energy efficient and cost-effective. Despite potential pressure issues, electric showers are an excellent choice for those who wish to replace an old shower or install a new one and have less restrictions about where to put the shower. They are straightforward and easy to use, ensuring that you feel clean, refreshed, and satisfied after each use.

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