We tend to get a lot of questions about our shower pumps, although installing a shower pump is actually generally straightforward. Here we’ve covered pretty much all of the common issues that arise both before and after installing a pump, but if you have a question that isn’t answered here feel free to pop it in the comments at the bottom of this post and we’ll get on to answering it.
I’m planning to buy a shower pump. Can I connect other bathroom items, like the basin, to it?
No. A shower pump is designed purely for the supply of showers.
Can I connect a toilet cistern to the water circuit supplied by the shower pump?
No. A typical cistern requires about 1.5 litres of water a minute to refill while a shower pump can deliver up to 40 litres a minute which could damage the valve in the cistern or overwhelm it and cause a flood!
I’ve got a restricted space in which to put the shower pump. Is it permissible to bend the connection hoses to connect to the pipework?
This is not recommended. For optimal operation of the shower pump, the hoses should be connected to the pipework and remain straight. If the connectors are bent, they will be put under stress and could fail, flooding the area around the pump. Remember that the connectors are flexible to reduce the noise from the pump, not to make up for poor pipework!
I’m worried about water in the pump freezing during cold spells. Can I insulate it with polystyrene or loft insulation?
Absolutely not. Like any electrical appliance, a shower pump heats up during operation and needs ventilation around it. Insulating it could cause the motor to overheat and burn it out. You should site your pump in a frost-free place – like the airing cupboard – and ensure that there is enough room around it to allow it to remain at a safe operating temperature.
I have a combi boiler. Can I install a shower pump?
No. A shower pump is designed to be supplied by low pressure, vented systems that include a cold water header tank and a hot water cylinder. A combi boiler delivers hot water at mains pressure.
I have a solid fuel boiler. Can I install a shower pump?
That depends on the temperature your boiler heats the water to, but this is not recommended. A pump should not be used to pump water that is over 65C and, given the nature of solid fuel heating systems, it is difficult to regulate the hot water temperature. You should consult a qualified expert.
I’ve installed a shower pump but when I turn on the mixer the water trickles out and the pump only kicks in if I hold the shower right down by my feet. What could be the problem?
It sounds like the problem could be that there is not enough head to activate the shower pump. The pump activates when it senses a drop in pressure at the delivery end. Consider fitting a negative head shower pump.
My cold water tank has a capacity of 25 gallons, but there are only two of us in the household. Is this setup suitable for a shower pump?
You really need a cold water storage tank with a capacity of 50 gallons. Remember that the shower pump is taking water from both the cold tank and the hot water cylinder which is itself being replenished from the cold tank. With only a 25 gallon cold tank, you might find that a hot shower is a pretty short-lived affair!
I’ve got two showers in my house. Can I supply these from one pump?
Yes. However, you have to make sure that the pump you fit is powerful enough for when you have both showers running at once and that your hot water cylinder and the cold water tank are big enough to keep up. Remember also that the larger your shower head (or rose) the more powerful the pump that you’ll need. Also, bear in mind that no matter how powerful the pump, running both showers at the same time will result in less water pressure than running one on its own.
My shower pump is becoming increasingly noisy and I’m concerned that the air might be being sucked into the system the system. How can I check this?
You can quickly determine whether air is entering the system when the pump is running by putting the shower head in a bucket of water and running the shower. If you see air bubbles then it’s likely that there is air being sucked into the system – most probably from the top of the hot water cylinder. Consider fitting a Surrey flange to the top of the cylinder.
For more help with shower pump care and maintenance, you can read our article on the topic. You can also find out what type of shower pump you actually need and whether you actually need a shower pump in the first place.
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