Electric Shower vs Mains Fed

Electric Shower vs Mains Fed

14:48 PM, 2nd September 2015, About 7 years ago 40

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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


Dr Monty Drawbridge

11:50 AM, 3rd September 2015, About 7 years ago

The fixed fee repairs can be a gamble (if it is a small fault it is a very expensive repair!) but give you some certainty. Many of the manufacturers offer them too.

Yvette Newbury

11:57 AM, 3rd September 2015, About 7 years ago

No-one above seems to have had our experience with combi-boiler and shower. We had a normal boiiler with mains fed shower for years with no issues. Then it was time to fit a new boiler and we chose a combi-boiler. After complaints from tenants about how difficult it was to obtain the right temperature for the shower and after the attendance of a gas safe engineer who confirmed there was absolutely nothing wrong with the boiler we researched this further. We found that combi-boilers and mains fed showers do not work well together and have now installed an electric shower so that the water maintains an even temperature for the duration of any shower.

Dr Monty Drawbridge

12:09 PM, 3rd September 2015, About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Y L Newbury " at "03/09/2015 - 11:57":

YLN - as mentioned above, you need a thermostatic valve on your shower mixer. Then they work fine together.

Paul Shears

12:33 PM, 3rd September 2015, About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Dom " at "03/09/2015 - 11:44":

I had British Gas come out to do a repair on the old boiler. I explained to the helpdesk that the engineer would need to stand on the third step of a ladder to work on the bolier due to it's location. The engineer came out and refused to work on the boiler because it involved standing on a ladder. Despite the helpdesk telling me that he would bring his own ladder, I had one ready for him but he refused to use it. British Gas took my money anyway. It took me several weeks and phone calls to get my money back. British gas told me that would not offer the contract that you suggest due to the old boilers location. I am not inclined to employ any organisation with this degree of idiot process following. I gave them one chance and they totally blew it.

Joe Marshall

16:52 PM, 3rd September 2015, About 7 years ago

Seems to have jumped off topic a little but some insightful comments into the world of boiler cover. I am fortunately a time served plumber and heating engineer so boiler issues aren't the worst thing in the world for me. Although I have always found British Gas to be very good with their cover etc, for friends and family who have used them.

But that aside any more on the debate of electric vs boiler fed showers??? I am going out of my mind trying to decide and might end up with both installed just out of shear madness!!!


Darlington Landlord

16:56 PM, 3rd September 2015, About 7 years ago

I always install electric showers (at least 8.5kw) so there is a backup to the combi and also because unless you have high mains pressure a combi fed shower is feeble.

Its worth it just so you're not having to call an emergency plumber if the combi develops a fault (unless its mid winter).

The cost of a thermostatic valve shower is usually slightly more than the electric shower.

As you have both I think its down to how good the water pressure on the current shower is - tenants do complain or move on if its low

Recardo Knights

14:23 PM, 4th September 2015, About 7 years ago

Hi Joe,
why not have both. I have a large shower cubicle and it has a thermostatic mixer that runs from the boiler so good pressure, I also have a 9kw electric shower. in the past when the boiler was not working we had the back up for a few days until the boiler was repaired.

In my BTL I have mixer taps with shower attachment again good pressure but not thermostatically controlled, so tenants have to be aware when others are in the shower. there is also an electric shower incase the boiler needs repaired.

I find it a good point for tenants, if the boiler goes down repairs may take a few days but you have an electric back up in emergencies.

21:23 PM, 5th September 2015, About 7 years ago

I agree, I've fitted both, although had a few strange reactions from plumbers. With modern electric showers, and 10 mm cable, ( without any water pressure issues ) you can get a perfectly acceptable shower, and I would use the thermo mixer vale fee off the combi as a first preference. But believe me, not if, rather, When the boiler breaks, as they all will invariably, its Russian roulette as to how long it will take you to get plumber ( unless you pay through nose for British gas Homecare. Then, ANY hot water, is good hot water 😉


11:29 AM, 6th September 2015, About 7 years ago

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

It is just worth noting that it is now, unfortunately, illegal for unqualified people to fit new electrical kit (with a few very simple exceptions of which fitting a shower is definitely not one).

As a fully qualified electrical engineer myself (whose work is generally to a significantly higher standard than many tradesmen though I say so myself) I find it most irksome that I am required to employ electricians to perform this kind of work for me just because they have the appropriate piece of paper which it would be necessary to have available to wave about in court should, god forbid, anything go awry.

Having said that, wiring in an electric shower is just about as safety critical as it is possible to get in terms of a domestic installation so I would urge anyone contemplating fitting a shower for themselves to absolutely not have a go at this unless you are a qualified electrical engineer or electrician yourself.

Paul Shears

14:08 PM, 6th September 2015, About 7 years ago

I am put in this position increasingly in life. I am far more qualified than most electricians. My usual reaction to people who ask if I have the necessary knowledge is to ask them what they want me to teach them. I well recall asking this of yet another gym manager who insisted that I am "trained" to use gym equipment.
However over the years things in this over regulated and over populated country (City wide 20mph speed limits being one example which then introduced the instant inability of the general public to cross roads or walk on the pavement - perhaps we should bring in more regulation and training to cover that one) have got so bad that it is utterly impossible to comply responsibly with all the regulations. An example that really gets my goat is that I am required to employ "qualified" tradesman who have no ability in their chosen profession. Then I am required to employ the same calibre of staff to correct the mistakes of the first lot. Then I either keep this up until I get lucky or do the low skilled task myself as I did over 40 years ago.

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