THE PATHFINDER TO YOUR SHOWER
The most important things to know
to choose meaningfully.
A shower consists of a fixture that sprays warm or cold water for a person to clean himself. It has an additional drainage system set in place, which is especially needed by indoor showers. Usually taking a shower is done to wash dirt from our bodies after a long day or to help us wake up when we still feel drowsy after sleeping. Humans have been taking showers since the time of ancient civilizations. Nature, in the form of waterfalls and rain, offered the first showers which creatives are still today trying to copy.
In the past, before the invention of pipes, showers were for the elite. Slaves would wash their master's body by carrying a pot of water over their master's heads. Non-elites would wash their laundry along with their bodies together with other people.
Ancient Greeks and ancient Romans believed so much in the healing properties of the bathing that they had community centres dedicated to the cause. Other Asian countries thought the same as well, with the culture of bathhouses continuing in present times. While the mysticism has subsided, the researchers of the 1800s found that taking showers frequently was indeed beneficial to the health.
Brands continued to innovate showers, for example by replacing knobs to buttons to define temperature levels with more precision. Today, with smart showers, the modernization has brought along several features including temperature and flow rate control, shower duration, remote controls, voice activation, music streaming and other functions.
There are a lot of different gimmicks each smart shower can offer. For example, the device can remember given your past inputs how warm you would like the water to be, how much water flow you would prefer, or how long your shower should last. Different shower heads can be remotely switched on to create the desired effect or even stream music from your phone.
Taking a shower can bring several benefits, besides its primary cleaning function, and they may vary with temperature. A hot shower can, for example, relax muscles, help with colds, alleviate phlegm or mucus and open pores up for proper cleaning. Instead, a cold shower can, for example, relieve itchiness, increase oxygen intake, raise heart rate, relieve muscle pain and tighten skin.
Time saved thanks to the possibility of using shower presets and timers.
Quality of life improved thanks to presets that prevent to scald yourself or other members accidentally.
Peace of mind increased thanks to increased transparency on water consumption.
Savings increased thanks to the possibility of monitoring water consumption and using timers to limit shower durations.
Throughout the years, there has been an evolution in the shower industry. Here you can find a short description of the major shower types currently on the market.
Mixer showers are ordinary showers often present in older homes. They mix hot and cold water in a valve to reach the chosen temperature before flowing through the showerhead. Water supply requires, therefore dedicated hot and cold plumbs and work best when high flow or high pressure is available.
Thermostatic mixer showers have an additional thermostatic valve, compared with simple mixer showers, which mixes hot and cold water keeping it at a constant predefined temperature by reacting fast to each change in the pressure or temperature of the water supply. So, even if the sink or the toilet needs the cold-water supply, the shower won't only use the hot water supply that could scald you.
Power showers generally use both supplies of hot and cold water to mix it through a thermostatic valve and additionally include an integral pump to boost water pressure. If your home has low water pressure, a power shower is an excellent option to consider. The shower pumps available are usually made of plastic or more durable brass.
Electric showers require only a cold-water supply, which is then heated to preference through an electric heating element. These types of showers are generally less expensive and faster in reaching the desired temperature and usage of water. It is recommended a high kilowatt rating for houses with a low flow of water.
Electronic showers include both digital and smart showers. The Digital showers mix hot and cold water inside the digital receiver until the predefined temperature is reached. A thermostat controls the water temperature, avoiding, therefore, the generation of random spikes. The Smart showers are digital shower with increased connectivity: customization of different controls is made possible, for example, by the use of a dedicated app to turn on and off the shower, to adjust the temperature, to set the duration or play music.
If you are about to purchase your desired shower, there are a few variables that you should consider:
In a review of the discussion earlier, the different shower types are the mixer, thermostatic mixer, power, electric and electronic showers. When purchasing a shower, consider how many will use the shower. Do you live with other people? Maybe a mixer shower isn’t a great idea because water temperatures may be unpredictable when somebody else uses a sink or toilet from a different part of the house. A thermostatic mixer shower could do, but if you do not have a hot water supply, you will only use cold water. While an electric shower can work with only cold-water supply, an electronic shower can precisely specify what temperature and shower settings you prefer. It ultimately depends on your current living conditions and preferences.
There are different methods to create a hot water supply for your shower. Make sure that your water heating system will respect the incoming water temperature and pressure ranges supported by the shower. For your information, the most common water heating systems are:
- The gravity-fed system. It relies on gravity for its water flow. Often comprises of a cold-water tank and a water cylinder, which is heated by external or internal sources.
- The combination boiler system. Comprised of a boiler and a primary water pressure to supply good water flow at a preferred temperature.
- The unvented system. It heats water directly by a combi boiler or immersion heater. A hot water cylinder stores hot water at mains pressure. A secondary coil on the central heating system can heat hot water stored in high-pressure in the cylinder as well.
Different heating systems and shower types require a specific minimum pressure. For example, and in general terms: the gravity-fed water system gives a 0.1 bar pressure for every meter in height; while a combi boiler heating system will need at least 10 litres per minute of flow, unvented heating systems require at least 1.5 bar working pressure and 15 litres per minute of flux; a thermostatic mixer type requires at least 0.5 bar pressure and eight litres per minute of flow; while electric showers require a similar flow rate, they require 0.7 bar pressure.
Your home should be able to give a steady flow enough for you to install the shower or bath type and heating system you prefer. Otherwise, you should find a way to increase the pressure of water to cater to the minimum required.
Electric and electronic types require electricity in producing hot water or in providing additional features to your shower. The number of outlets depends on the type and model you are getting. One outlet is often the requirement of an electric shower, while a digital or a smart shower can require more, depending on the accessories.
Cold showers are a possible risk with mixer, thermostatic, power, electric and digital shower types. Instead, some smart showers can better control the temperature range, with the minimum generally set around 15 degrees Celsius. Most have a maximum temperature as well to make sure you do not burn yourself.
For the electric, digital, and smart showers the power source is essential as it is the source of hot water and use of features such as the regulation of temperature by buttons or the complete control in smart showers. Digital showers can also use batteries as a source for their remote control. Smart showers differ in their need of alternative power, but it would be convenient to have one in case of a power outage. It would be best to choose a brand that requires batteries for emergencies.