Written by Dale Richardson - Updated: June 23, 2023
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Power showers are really cool little contraptions. They’re, for all intents and purposes, highly-customizable shower setups that prevent scalding and provide solid pressure – even on low-pressure systems. Questions like whether or not you can have a power shower with a condensing boiler are super common, and easily answered!
Today’s Topics Include:
Today’s topic of discussion is power showers – how do they work, why, and what can be done with them? We’ve got a great deal to talk about, so let’s dive right in!
Let’s start with the simple stuff, yeah? We’ll get into the technicalities a bit later in the article, but for now, we’re going to focus on the super basic principles that make a power shower work. First up – what even is a power shower?
Power showers operate by combining both hot and cold water from their respective supplies to bring water to the perfect temperature. Often designed with an in-built thermostat, there are two main benefits that are often lauded in power showers:
What about electric showers? They’re pretty much the same thing, right? Well actually, no!
We’ve already explained power showers – the long and short of it is that they’re designed to mix water on low-pressure or gravity-fed systems. In contrast, an electric shower actually can’t work on gravity-fed or low-pressure systems.
They’re designed to solve a single major issue – small hot water capacity. They also are easier to install in harder-to-reach parts of the house, but that’s more of an added benefit than a genuine selling point. The major draw of electric showers is that they heat water internally, requiring only cold water access. This prevents you from running out of hot water and generally results in a more relaxed household (something we can all use).
One final benefit of electric showers is budget. They use only electricity, rather than a power shower’s need to constantly have heated water. Something a lot of people don’t really process is how much their electric bill would drop if their boiler weren’t heating water 24/7 – surprise, it’s a lot! This simultaneously makes electric showers a bit more eco-friendly, especially if your power is supplied through a renewable source.
With that out of the way, let’s answer a few common questions about power showers.
There are a lot of questions floating around on the internet about power showers. Since we’re such benevolent rulers (of this website), I figured it would be appropriate to answer a few of them.
This could be a potentially very complicated answer, but luckily for you, I think complicated answers are icky.
The quick answer is that no – you cannot have a power shower on a system with a condensing boiler.
This is because power showers require a built-in pump, meaning they’re incompatible as a whole with combi/condensing boilers. While you can certainly work around this, it would require a great deal of reworking your home’s water system – and that’s both spendy and not fun at all.
Again, no. Shower pumps are designed for entirely different systems, and as such, are not compatible with a condensing or combi boiler. In order to hook up a shower pump, you’d need a hot water cylinder – something that’s notably absent from combi boilers.
A traditional shower delivers one degree of pressure and is generally unmonitored in terms of temperature. Power showers, on the other hand, have a wider valve and provide better (customisable) pressure and often come with thermostatic controls. This larger valve does have a cost, though – depending on your bathroom, you will likely need to have plumbing work done to accommodate a power shower.
Additionally, traditional showers can struggle when placed above the boiler (second/third-floor bathrooms). Power showers, on the other hand, require a pump – this cuts out the issue of pressure entirely.
Yes, but there’s a caveat. Because power showers only need a cold water supply, it is easier to hook up two showers to the same line. However, having two in the same house (especially if they’re running simultaneously) can be spendy.
And the fact that you’re using up more energy generally means you’re doing more harm to the planet, so, there’s also that. At the end of the day it’s up to you, just be sure to weigh the benefits.
How much water does a power shower use?
This is where the news about power showers sours a bit. Some showers (read – electric showers) take up the bare minimum of water. Power showers, on the other hand, use a much greater amount. On average, an electric shower will use up ~25-30 litres of water in ten minutes.
A power shower will use up ~125 litres in that same ten-minute span.
Do you get why I’ve been hammering the importance of eco-friendly power grids now?
Power showers are super cool contraptions, especially for those on gravity-fed or low-pressure systems. They allow a full-pressure, hot, comfy shower in homes that previously would have struggled with getting ~10 minutes of hot water. While they certainly have their own drawbacks, power showers are great for certain people.
Their main drawback, though is that you really just can’t be an eco-friendly home with one installed. But if you’re looking at trying to install a power shower with a condensing boiler, be warned – that’s not how they work. A combi/condensing boiler simply cannot function with power showers, so don’t attempt it – you’ll regret it.
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