A standard shower arrangement can be installed by feeding separate hot and cold water supplies to a shower mixer. In its simplest form, it is similar to a mixer tap where the temperature and flow of water are controlled by individual taps.
One step up from this is the single lever control. Left and right movement of the lever controls temperature. Back and forth movement of the same lever controls the flow.
At the top end of this range is a thermostatic control. This is the best option to go for when choosing a new standard shower arrangement if money permits. Within the unit itself is an automatic adjuster which maintains temperature by adjusting the flow of each supply. Should, for example, the water begin to get colder, the thermostatic device will automatically close down the flow of cold water a little to compensate. This is particularly useful in guarding against the possibility of scalding. If the WC downstairs is flushed whilst the shower is in use, a drop in cold supply to the shower will occur. The result without thermostatic control would be that the temperature of water at the shower would suddenly rise. With a thermostatic device, however, the flow of hot water will immediately be closed down sufficiently to compensate.
Bear in mind, however, that they will not be able to cope with great differences in pressure.
For this reason, they should not be fitted where the cold water is supplied directly from the rising main. Where both hot and cold are supplied via the tank in the attic, the pressure due to gravity will be similar. (Don’t forget that the pressure of hot water delivered by the hot water cylinder is governed by the pressure of replacement cold water being fed into the cylinder from the tank in the attic.)
When selecting a thermostatic type, check the supplier’s details regarding maximum temperature input. Above certain temperatures they will not be able to cope, so the temperature of the supply of hot water should be adjusted to suit.
Installing and plumbing the shower
Installation of these showers is basically the same as for installing taps. The difference being that the mixer is mounted on the wall of the shower area rather than on the bath or basin.
Assemble and mount the tap on the wall. Mark the position of the connections for hot and cold.
Independent supplies are required for the hot and cold water to manual mixer type showers.
Thermostatic types can be supplied by branching off supplies from the existing plumbing, but bear in mind that the nearer the branch to the cold tank and hot cylinder the better. However, it is preferable to have an independent supply for these as well.
The cold should be supplied from the storage tank, from a point below the outlet that feeds the hot water system. The hot water supply should be taken by branching off from the vent pipe above the hot water cylinder.
Run the new supplies in copper pipe to the positions marked, and connect with the specified or supplied fitting. As with all shower arrangements, if these pipes can be concealed, the final result will be more pleasing and professional in appearance.