Electric shower or combi fed shower in a tenanted property?

by Readers Question

13:32 PM, 23rd May 2018
About 9 months ago

Electric shower or combi fed shower in a tenanted property?

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Electric shower or combi fed shower in a tenanted property?

To my surprise I find that one of my units is currently without a shower.

So I need to get one fitted.

The question is – should I go for an electric one (given the possibly considerable expense and inconvenience of running a new cable) or would a direct from the (combi) boiler one be a good choice?

Pretty well all my other units have electric showers, but my personal preference has always been for non-electrical ones – albeit fed from a hot water storage tank rather than direct from a combi boiler.

What does the panel think – are showers fed from combi boilers a good viable and long term solution – i.e. reliable and provide a good showering experience for the user? I have some concerns about the boiler shutting off at low flow rates due to high temperatures in the heat exchanger thus delivering a sudden dose of freezing cold water to the tenant in the shower – followed very shortly by a dose of scaldingly hot water as the user whacks up the shower mixer control temperature in an urgent attempt to compensate and the boiler responds accordingly. Obviously not a desirable situation!

Clearly, a combi fed shower would be more economical to install as the local hot water plumbing is already in place for the bath and it does not entail the possibly difficult chasing in and subsequent redecoration needed by a new cable run, but the decision is not fundamentally about cost – I want the shower to be a good experience for the tenants.

What are your views?



david porter

14:20 PM, 24th May 2018
About 9 months ago

If it is possible to cock it up your tenent
will cock it up.
No waste disposal units, nor dishwashers. Keep it simple.

Mike T

14:31 PM, 24th May 2018
About 9 months ago

Reply to the comment left by D at 24/05/2018 - 10:32
I would recommend an electric shower for the same reason others have mentioned i.e the boiler breakdown or water not heating due to low pressure in the combi system for instance (something tenants are not always aware of). Go for a good well known brand/model of at least 8.5 Kw, Why ? because , as has been mentioned, every thing will breakdown at some time & a known good make will be easy to replace with all the existing connections the same - would be a dodle for yourself to change or your maintenance team.

Ian Narbeth

15:37 PM, 24th May 2018
About 9 months ago

An issue we came up against with one property is that we would have to upgrade the power supply (c £10K to the electric company) if we wanted more than one electric shower. Get an electrician to advise before you decide.


8:06 AM, 26th May 2018
About 9 months ago

Many thanks for all your thoughts.

I have decided to fit an electrical shower as, whilst the cost and disruption is very much higher, the benefits to the tenant of at least being able to take a shower in the event of the boiler being out of action trumps the alternative.

Also, an electric shower means that it is possible to use the kitchen sink hot tap at the same time as somebody is taking a shower - something that a combi boiler would not usually support.

Michael Barnes

16:25 PM, 28th May 2018
About 9 months ago

I go for a good quality combi boiler (using Which? reports) and a thermostatically-controlled mixer.

Gas engineer can advise on required size for the number of taps/baths/showers in the property to avoid shower running cold.

John Walker

14:21 PM, 31st May 2018
About 9 months ago

In my own home I have a large hw cylinder, well insulated, fed directly from the mains cws. With off peak electric heating and emergency top up this has proved ideal for providing ample water to the shower through a good thermostatic mixer.
No high level cold tanks required. I shall probably install the same system in my next refurb property. I would then also consider electric heating, thus obviating the need for gas on site.

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