Replacing an electric shower can seem like a complex job; and while it isn’t simple if you’ve never tried anything like this before, the good news is that it’s not impossible. There are of course some hazards involved with replacing showers because electricity and plumbing both have the capacity to go badly wrong, but if you take care and always disconnect the power then things should work out fine.
If you are not trained or qualified in electrics work DO NOT take the risk. It is essential that you get a Part P-certified plumber or a qualified electrician to undertake the installation process for you. While the cost of installing an electric shower can often be more than the shower itself, it’s not worth putting yourself at risk to save a bit of money. Ensure the installer is registered with a trade body such as the NICEIC.
However, if you do know your way around electrics and just need a refresher – read on!
You can also see the many types of models of electric showers available here.
Step by Step
Firstly, a quick refresher. As we’re only replacing an electric shower here, everything should already be in place to ease the installation process. It’s best if the shower you’re about to install has cable and pipe entry points at the top, bottom, side, and rear so there’s more flexibility for routing all the cables and pipes. It also needs to be connected to independent electric circuits as it requires more power to heat the cold water independently of a hot water tank.
Step 1: Disconnect the power supply to the shower and then check the electrical supply with an electrical tester which you are certain is in good working order. After this, switch off the water supply.
Step 2: Remove the shower unit itself; this is easily done as most units are held on by four screws and there should be no difficulty in taking these out and simply lifting the unit off the wall.
Step 3: Check the new shower unit to see where the water supply connects; it is best if this is located in the same spot as your old unit. Next remove the front panel of the new shower unit. There are usually four screws which hold this in place top and bottom. You will now be able to see the electrical connections within the unit as well as the water connection which should move up and down on a hinge.
Step 4: Fitting the new unit over the place where the old one was fitted, you will be able to try to cover up the old holes where the previous unit was attached to the wall. Make sure the wires will fit easily into the connection block and then mark the areas where you need to screw new screws into the wall.
Step 5: Drilling into tiles is tricky if you’re not experienced so be careful to always use a masonry bit and do not use the drill on “hammer” setting as this will result in broken tiles. Also, ensure that you have the correct sized bit for the job. When you have drilled the holes for the screws, fit rawl plugs and then screw in your new shower.
Step 6: When reconnecting the power, ensure that it is still off before you begin. Check that the neutrals lives and earth’s are in the right places and connect the water supply. Screw the fascia back in place and then you can turn the power supply back on and test your new shower. Again, take extreme care when you test and be certain that your wiring is correct. One mistake can result in disaster when it comes to fitting showers.
As with any DIY if you feel that you are unsure about any aspects then seek professional advice. DIY in the bathroom or kitchen is particularly risky for beginners, for obvious reasons. Water and electricity make a volatile mixture and, unless you are savvy, when it comes to electrics and plumbing, you will need some help.
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