Showers are commonplace in most homes these days, therefore it’s not surprising that fitting a shower is top of the ‘to do lists’ of most homeowners! Not only is washing via shower often seen as a necessity these days, but it makes resale a lot easier.
Whilst you might think this is a suitable DIY job, the introductions of the revised Building Regulations in 2005 (notably Part P) state that electric showers are best installed by professionals. The fitting costs alone will make up a large proportion of the cost, however it is always advisable you save up and pay for a qualified shower fitter for safety as well as a professional job.
When picking a model, opt for one which has top, bottom, side and rear pipe and cable entries as this makes it much easier to install and will allow shower fitters greater flexibility when they install a shower. Due to the large size of the cables, pick a model with adequate space inside the casing, as well as well thought out connection blocks.
How much does it cost to install a shower?
It depends what type of shower you want, most people these days opt for a thermostatic mixer shower as they allow you to preset the temperature you want the shower at, they will then maintain this temperature, unlike traditional mains-fed showers which can change if somebody flushes the toilet, for instance. So if you are thinking about installing a mixer shower make sure it is compatible with your water system before you buy it, most can be used with pumped systems, gravity, standard mains pressure as well as combination boiler-fed supplies. If you are looking for a little more luxury you might want to think about fitting a power shower, the cost will of course increase, but it could be worth it!
Materials needed to fit a shower
Installing an electric shower is best left to the professionals, this well ensure that the job is done safely and with sufficient skill. It is between you and your contractor to decide who will supply the material, but in either case you will need to ensure you have the following:
– Thermostatic shower mixer
– Shower head
– Double-sided tape
– Shut-off valves
– Copper and plastic pipe
– Copper and plastic connections
How to install a shower
This is a guide to how a professional will fit your shower. Obviously steps may vary depending on your specific situation.
- First of all it must be decided where the hot and cold supplies will be taken from. This will vary depending on if you are installing a shower over your bath, or if you are fitting a thermostatic shower to a separate cubicle. If it is the latter, the plumber will have to access your hot and cold water pipes which are usually found underneath floorboards.
- The plumber will then isolate the supply by turning off the stopcock, then the taps must be opened to drain away any excess water in the pipes.
- Your plumber will then need to tee into the hot and cold supplies, and run the pipework toward the shower. Once that has been done they will turn the stopcock back on and check for any leaks on the new pipe runs.
- As shower valves will be damaged if there is any dirt in the water, your plumber should now flush the new pipework through.
- The plumber will then mark off the amount of outlet pipe required to allow the valve to fit perfectly to the wall. They should they cut the pipes to the correct length.
- Once that is done the plumber will mark off and drill holes for the thermostatic valve. They will then put a collapsible olive into each inlet on the shower valve and ensure it is secure by screwing the retaining nut on by one turn.
- They will then align the shower valve with supple pipes, to make sure they slide into the inlet pipes entirely. Then the valve should be screwed to the wall, before tightening the retaining nuts with a spanner. They should then check for leaks again, by making sure the shower is turned off and the stopcock is on.
- The mixed hot and cold water from the shower valve is transported to the shower head by a conventional flexible shower hose, or by a solid riser pipe. If it is the hose, simply connect it up and fix the bracket that holds the head in place. If it is a solid rise pipe, they may need to cut it down to size. First they will measure the depth of the recess that the pipe sits in on the thermostatic valve, and then on the bracket that secures the top of the rise.
- They will then use double-sided tape on the top bracket, and stick it at the desired height above the shower valve. Then they will measure between the bottom of the bracket and the top-mounting nut on the valve. They will add this measurement to the previous measurement, and then cut the pipe to length with a pipe cutter.
- Check the riser pipe fits between the valve and the bracket, and they will also make sure the pipe is vertical using a spirit level. Then drill and plug the holes.
- It is then time for them to fully fit the riser and tighten the nuts at both top and bottom. Make sure the thermostat works by switching on taps and checking that the shower temperature remains the same.