Here’s the thing: You want a shower, right? You’ve heard all this talk about mixer showers, right? But you don’t know what they are, right?
If you’ve answered wrong to all those then you’re probably in the wrong place. But if you’re looking for a mixer shower and want to know everything that you need to know about them, you’ve definitely come to the right place. So, welcome! Without further delay let’s delve straight into this topic.
What are mixer showers?
Mixer showers are created by wizards, who fire blazing golden magic at a plain ordinary shower to turn it into a wondrous device that blends hot and cold water from different sources before it even spurts out of the shower head, hits your body and makes you scream in shock at the freezing cold water.
Ok, so the wizards in question didn’t actually use real magic (and they weren’t wizards either) but it really is an ingenious invention that a lot of bathrooms around the UK are equipped with. Basically, it’s a shower that connects to both cold and hot water supplies in your home. They mix the existing hot and cold water in a valve before sending it on to the shower head, where it finally flies out at what’s normally a stronger flow than you can get with electric showers. The flow you receive is entirely dependent on the pressure of your water system. The water flow and temperature can either be controlled via a shower valve or it can be controlled by adjusting bath taps. Whichever you choose it gives you fine control to ensure you can pick whatever temperature you desire.
It’s important that you check a mixer shower can work with your home water system before you buy it. While many of them are equipped to work with any system, others will only work with high-pressure systems (such as a combination boiler) or low-pressure systems (a cold water tank in your loft and hot water tank in an airing cupboard). We’ve put together a handy infographic guide so you know exactly what showers you can use in your home.
Thankfully if you do have a low-pressure system you can always add a shower pump to increase the flow rate. If you need to know more about shower pumps you can consult our guide on which pump you need and our common questions about shower pumps.
Types of Mixer Showers
Let’s take a brief look at the types of mixer showers out there on the market.
Single lever mixer showers – This features a single lever that can be moved up and down to control the flow of water from the shower. Moving the lever from side to side allows you to control the water temperature. There are also two types; exposed showers, where both the plumbing and shower valve sits on the wall, or concealed showers, where the plumbing fixtures are inside the wall and the shower lever valve remains on the outside.
Sequential mixer showers – This is the simplest to use thanks to a single rotary control. You start the shower by turning the control and the more you turn it, the hotter the temperature. The downside to this type is that you can’t control the flow rate. As with a single lever mixer shower, you can buy this type in either exposed or concealed form.
Concentric mixer showers – Here you have two rotary style controls that sit on top of each other. By turning the outer control, you can turn the shower on and operate the water flow. The inner control regulates the temperature; turning one way will make it hot and the other will make it cold. The good thing about this type of mixer shower is that you can leave the inner control set to your preferred temperature before turning the shower off, so the next time you turn the shower on it will instantly reach the temperature you had it set to last time you used it. As usual, exposed and concealed models are available.
Dual control mixer showers – These feature two controls; one which operates the flow and one which operates the temperature. As in concentric models, the temperature can be left at your chosen setting for next time you use it. Some models replace flow controls with diverter valves, which allow you to switch the flow of water between two shower heads or a bath filler. Dual controls are normally concealed.
Bar mixer showers – This has two controls too, but they are both on one bar. One control is for the water flow while the other manages the temperature. They can also have diverter valves instead of flow controls, which allow you to switch the water between an overflow shower head and a separate shower handset. You can buy these in both vertical and horizontal models.
What sort of designs can you expect?
As well as proving functional you most likely want your shower to look good and not stick out like a sore thumb that’s been hit more than once with a hammer by accident. Just because you’ve done the rest of your bathroom in a particular style it doesn’t mean you can’t fit a mixer shower – after all, there arise a variety of different styles available to you. Chief among them is the modern design, which is usually shiny chrome and quite minimalist. On the other hand, you may want to go down the traditional design mixer shower route, and here you might get old style tap heads and long pipes to make for a taller shower.
As noted earlier you also need to make the choice over exposed or concealed shower installation. Exposed has everything on show and is far easier to install, whereas concealed has all the pipework hidden behind a wall. The latter takes more work, but it’s also the best choice if you’re looking to adopt a minimalist style in your bathroom.
What’s all this about thermostatic mixer showers?
When you’re looking to buy a mixer shower your best option would certainly be a thermostatic mixer shower, but why is this? Convenience and safety are your two buzz words here. This system constantly regulates the temperature and flow of your water, so once you’ve set the temperature you want you should have no rude interruptions with a change in temperature as it works to correct any imbalances. If the cold water supplied suddenly failed; the thermostatic mixer shower will shut down for safety reasons.
For starters this means you can enjoy your shower much more without the worry of your hot water suddenly going colder than an Eskimo naked in the snow. Secondly it’s great from a safety perspective, particularly when it comes to your children, because you won’t suddenly get scalding hot water pumping out of your shower just because someone turned on a cold tap elsewhere in the house.
So, to sum up mixer showers let you relax after a hard day’s work without having to worry about if your shower is actually going to do its job properly. You simply set the desired temperature, jump in and take to some time to actually relax for yourself. You deserve it!
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