The effects of winter on an electric shower

You might have noticed a significant drop in temperature this week - winter is definitely on its way.

However, the cold weather doesn't just affect how many layers you need to wear when you step outside or how often you rely on the central heating to keep you cosy at home. Did you know the effects of winter can also impact on the performance of your electric shower.

It seems like an odd link, but believe it or not we receive numerous calls around this time of year from concerned customers who just can't figure out why their shower is on the blink. As a result, we thought we'd settle the matter once and for all by explaining it here.

Why does the cold affect my shower?

The change in temperature can make a difference in two ways to your shower. Firstly, you might notice the water isn't getting as warm as it does during the rest of the year, while the other impact is that the flow rate of the water coming through the shower head may be reduced.

This is all down to the way electric showers work. Water is received via your home's mains supply and heated in a similar way to a kettle using two heating elements. The energy used to power your shower is shared between heating the elements and keeping the water flowing from the mains to the shower head.

Because of this, there is a balance between how hot your water is and the rate of your water flow.

However, what throws a spanner in the works is when it gets colder outside. This causes a reduction in the temperature of your mains supply and means that more power is required to heat your water to its usual levels when it passes through your shower.

As a result, the split between how your electricity is used shifts - so either less power is diverted towards maintaining a strong flow of water or the flow remains the same but the temperature suffers instead.

How can I keep my shower working properly in the winter?

In order to avoid being affected by this during the cold months, there are a few things you can do:

  • Avoid showering in the morning
  • Ensure any outside pipes are effectively insulated
  • Invest in a cover for your hot water cylinder

All three of these solutions look to address the problem from the source - literally. By not showering in the morning, you are giving your mains supply time to warm up, as outdoor temperatures are naturally colder at night.

We've previously talked about how you can act to avoid winter plumbing pains and lagging any water pipes is a key part of this. You're giving thermal protection to your water supply and therefore giving it as much chance as possible of keeping to a normal temperature, therefore reducing the amount of power your shower needs to heat it up.

Finally, keeping your hot water cylinder properly insulated means you can keep your water warmer for longer. As well as helping your shower out, this can improve your energy efficiency, meaning you spend less money continually trying to heat up your water supply around your home.

So, if you're experiencing trouble with your electric shower this winter, it might not necessarily be a problem you can solve by buying a new unit or replacing parts - don't waste money trying to solve the issue in this way!

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