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Understanding Home Water Systems & Shower Performance

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Understanding Home Water Systems & Shower Performance

Before undertaking any plumbing, bathroom or appliance changes in your home – it’s important that you understand what water system your home operates. It’s important to understand this, as the products that you choose need to be designed to operate in conjunction with your system, helping you enjoy high performance and reliability. In this post, we will cover the two most common water systems in the UK, the gravity fed system and the mains fed system. Once we have explained the two different systems, we will also discuss the best showers for each system.

Gravity Fed Systems

Gravity Fed Systems are the most common type of water system for homes across the UK. This system contains a hot water cylinder, which can usually be found in a cupboard, which is fed with cold water from a header tank – which is typically found in the loft.
The hot water is heated by a boiler or immersion heater. Water pressure in this system is provided only by the height of the header tank above the water outlet.
One of the biggest advantages of gravity fed systems, is their ease of install.

Showers for Gravity Fed Systems

As water pressure is dictated by the height of the header tank above your shower head, you need to choose your shower carefully. If a header tank is located one metre above your shower head, the water pressure from your shower will be 0.1 bar. This is generally the minimum requirement for an adequate shower.
Mixer showers, many of which are designed to perform well under lower water pressure, are the best solution for gravity fed water systems. Mixer showers mix the hot and cold water in a valve, before it is sent to the shower head. These showers typically offer better water pressure than electric showers, but this is dependent on the height of your header tank.
You can view our full range of mixer showers, here.

Mains Fed Systems

A mains fed system, also known as a mains pressure system refers to your home being supplied with cold water directly via the cold water mains. This system can provide excellent water pressure across the home, but can also be liable to bad performance at peak times. The main advantage over gravity fed systems is that mains fed water systems run at a consistently higher water pressure, meaning you can enjoy better performance from your appliances within the home.
The most common option for this mains water to be heated is through a combi boiler. These boilers take in cold water directly from the mains, before heating it and sending it to where it is needed within the home.
If you have a mains water system, a number of showers are suitable, including Mixer showers and thermostatic mixer showers. 

Low Water Pressure

If you have low water pressure in your home, or particularly in your shower, there are a number of options for you to review. You can either choose a mains water pump or shower pump – which can drastically increase shower performance.
If you have any questions about your homes water system and shower performance, just get in touch and we will be happy to help.

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About Us
George Thomson established "The Shower Doctor" in 1993 to focus on shower repair in the Edinburgh area. George is a second generation plumber; he and his father ran a successful plumbing and heating business. In the late 80's this 40-year-old family business was sold.
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