Electric Shower vs Mains Fed

by Readers Question

14:48 PM, 2nd September 2015
About 3 years ago

Electric Shower vs Mains Fed

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Electric Shower vs Mains Fed

I just bought my first buy to let and currently refurbing the bathroom. I am putting a shower over the bath but can’t decide on electric shower or one fed from the combi boiler on mains pressure.shower

Electric shower pros/cons
P – If boiler breaks tenant can still get a hot shower
C – They have a crap flow rate. and I’m worried the first comment will be nice bathroom shame about the cheap shower. Can we pay to get a better one??? (Which then means redoing some tiling etc to fit one)

Fed from combi boiler pros/cons
P – Very good flow rate
C – If boiler breaks not hot water anywhere.

Advice greatly appreciated.

Thanks, Joe



Comments

Neil Patterson

14:52 PM, 2nd September 2015
About 3 years ago

Hi Joe,

I would put one vote in for a mixer shower from the hot water as I prefer the reliable water pressure if it is good on the property and they are a lot less complicated with few parts to go wrong.

Joe Marshall

15:14 PM, 2nd September 2015
About 3 years ago

Hi Neil,

Thanks for the comment. I am all for putting a mixer shower from combi boiler, its just that if the boiler breaks down, with an electric shower in at least the tenant would still be able to have a hot shower until the boiler is fixed.

I guess what ever I do I'll wish I did the opposite.

Thanks.

Neil Patterson

15:16 PM, 2nd September 2015
About 3 years ago

Best to get a good warranty/breakdown cover which ever way you go 🙂

Joe Marshall

15:23 PM, 2nd September 2015
About 3 years ago

Well the electric shower is existing so has no warranty and the mixer one is one I have had which is brand new but out of warranty.

Either will be fitted by me. And repaired by me if they break.

Dr Monty Drawbridge

15:34 PM, 2nd September 2015
About 3 years ago

I personally would not choose to live in a place with an electric shower - I hate them. Increasingly my tenants are testing water pressure in the shower. For the frequency which boilers go wrong (IME hardly ever if they are properly maintained) I'd go mains pressure every time.

Do use a thermostatic shower valve though.

Joe Marshall

15:43 PM, 2nd September 2015
About 3 years ago

I hate them too.

Just thought it would be a contingency plan having the electric if the boiler packed up.

Paul Shears

21:03 PM, 2nd September 2015
About 3 years ago

I used and fitted electric showers in the north and south of England with no pressure problems at all.
I had a combi boiler fed shower in a rental property.
The boiler broke.
I rang 17 Gas Safe registered plumbers before I found one that would come out.
He charged me £250 to fix the boiler which broke again two hours after he left.
He came back and did three hours labour for free before saying that he would need to seek advice.
He was very stressed and doing his best. He did not leave until 9pm.
I received a text message from him offering to order a new part at a further £250 but with no guarantee that this would fix the boiler. He offered to fit a new boiler.

All this dragged on for one month during which my tenants had no hot water.
Obviously this put a strain on an other wise healthy relationship with my tenants.
So I decided to start again from scratch.

I found a pair of plumbers whom I had confidence in to replace the boiler but they could not come for another two weeks.

So I got an electrician off Checkatrade to come and fit an electric shower as a interim solution.
He in turn, needed to install a new fuse board to connect the shower to and run a 10mm cable.
He had to hire a plumber at short notice to do the pipe work.
All this was done quickly and well but it cost me £1000!

Then I had the boiler replaced which was done well.

The result is that it's up to the tenants whether they use the electric shower or the combi fed shower.
But I now have resilience of hot water.

I have never figured out how you source good tradesman and neither has another landlord that I know with 25 properties. I eventually just got lucky this time. However from previous experience, a good tradesmen used once may not be reliable two years later.

I subsequently fitted exactly the same electric shower myself in my own home and it cost £140. I did not need a new fuse board and 10mm cable is cheap by the drum.
I have fitted about eight electric showers over the years.
I get the most powerful one that I can find.
Check the pressure drop across the shower before purchasing.
If the shower blocks with calcium after two years (assuming that you do not have a house water softener), then chuck it away and fit a physically similar model.
This took me 30 minutes on the one occasion that I had to do this.
I currently use Mira Vies which at 10.8KW are the most powerful on the market but cheap.
Always run 10mm cable and do not try to get away with 6mm cable.
This will reduce the volt drop across the cable when it is under load.
Thus this will maximise the heat that the shower can develop.
This in turn will enable the shower to produce the highest outlet of water at whatever temperature you require.
Raising the temperature will reduce the volume of water output as what you are doing is restricting the flow assuming that you are already maximum electrical heating capacity.

So once done, the above reduces your management problem and maintains happy tenants.
If you do the above yourself, the additional cost of the electric shower is minimal.

Puzzler

7:14 AM, 3rd September 2015
About 3 years ago

I have several electric showers and the flow rate is fine. It depends on the water pressure not the heating method.

Dr Monty Drawbridge

10:31 AM, 3rd September 2015
About 3 years ago

I agree with Paul about sourcing reliable maintenance people. I find it the singularly worst thing about being a landlord.

But I recently investigated electric showers for myself in my new place (there is no mains gas) and nothing came close to providing what I was after. Instead I fitted an electric Thermalstore. Lovely (but you wouldn't want one in a small flat - way too big!).

I think my Thermalstore uses about 1.5kW per day to maintain constant temperature, before accounting for any usage. It has a 9kW and a 3kW heater.

dom glynn

11:44 AM, 3rd September 2015
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Paul Shears" at "02/09/2015 - 21:03":

Hi Paul,
Have you considered Boiler cover from BGas? I have a fairly old combi at one of my properties that plays up almost every year at the start of the heating season.
Over the past 3 years, BGas have replaced virtually every part in the boiler apart from the case! It only costs me around £150 PA ( less I believe if you're outside London).
As one PCB alone can cost that I think it's very good value.
I've also used their fixed fee repair service at another property. It was a few years ago now, but I think it cost ~£200. Again, they replaced many parts till the found the problem.
In both cases, I've never had to wait more than 24 hours for an engineer to visit.

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