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


Ethical Man

0:00 AM, 29th September 2015, About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Joe Marshall" at "22/09/2015 - 08:43":

Hi Joe

Thanks, that is helpful.

Renovate To let

8:17 AM, 30th September 2015, About 7 years ago

You can't say what size cable is needed without checking the installation method. If it's clipped then you could be correct. If it's within insulation then you're not correct.

The point is that saving a few quid on cable size now could fail a periodic inspection later because someone laid new or extra insulation over the cable. For example IWI to upgrade the EPC rating or taking the loft up to 300mm, burying the cable.

If the tester can't be sure of the route, he will not be able to assume 'clipped direct' and therefore will de rate the cable.

What's the point?

Paul Shears

8:33 AM, 30th September 2015, About 7 years ago

Reply to Renovate To let:
Common sense at last. Just put in the 10mm cable and the biggest electric shower (10.8KW at £150) and have done with it. The cost of materials is irrelevant.


12:47 PM, 1st October 2015, About 7 years ago

Electric showers use a vast amount of electricity and need special wiring so make sure its up to reg's!

Darren Bell

5:49 AM, 2nd October 2015, About 7 years ago

Having both set ups in rentals, I would go for an electric shower rather than straight off the combi.
- Less complaints about pressure drops with the subsequent burn freeze cycle if another member of the house hold flushes the loo or turns on a tap.
- Boilers break down, so in this event it allows the tenant to at least wash whilst a boiler repair is being procured.
- Electric showers once fitted are cheap to replace.

I have also toyed with the idea of fitting electric instant hot water to the kitchen and bathroom taps leaving the boiler to deal mostly with winter heating. The theory being that the load would be taken off the boiler so I would hope to get more years out of it. Not sure if that is a sound solution though.

Young Iserlohn

16:05 PM, 14th October 2015, About 7 years ago

I am always a bit dubious about electric shower. Unless you have a very high power one, the heating power is not sufficient to keep giving you hot water at a reasonable flow rate (particularly in Winter when the incoming water is at an even lower temperature). I agree with the posts that at least you require 9.5kW. But thicker electrical cable is needed to carry the larger current. Also remember that you will probably get a handsome electricity bill. Electric shower is a major eater of electricity. As such, I would prefer a combi.


21:10 PM, 14th October 2015, About 7 years ago

I had never heard electric showers were expensive so I did a search and found this which suggests they're cheapest to run, they heat only the water needed


I have one in northern Scotland (where it is very cold) and it is fine both for flow and heat, I would just suggest getting a decent one, mine is a Triton Opal II which was here when I moved in 7 years ago and is still going strong - I don't think it's an expensive brand as I have put it in rental properties at a reasonable price. My heating is electric so a boiler is not an option and the immersion IS expensive

Cledwyn Williams

21:34 PM, 14th October 2015, About 7 years ago

Re the shower debate, I have been a plumber for the last 52 years and have advised customers always to install an electric shower where a combi boiler is relied upon for hot water. Combi boilers are religiously installed in homes whether they are adequate or not because today's "plumbers" do not understand any other system properly. Combi boilers have a poor hot water delivery and are unable to deliver at busy times such as mornings. I have a buy to let also and this is what I did. Good luck!

Ray Grahams

13:01 PM, 29th October 2015, About 7 years ago

If you are purchasing a shower for a buy to let property then you're best bet is to buy an electric shower. Like you've just said one of the primary reasons been that it operates off a Cold water feed only! So there is no need to have it linked ot a boiler should your heating system go down and under your tennants will still be able to enjoy a nice hot shower. Secondly in terms of running costs, for your tennants it is definitely the more economic option! You don't want them, complaining about the cost of having a shower either! The reason been that electric showers only heat the amount of water needed for a shower using an inbuilt element, as oppossed to a mains fed shower that heats a tank wasting electricity and water! And if you're unfortunate enough to be living in the UK (apart from NI) then you also pay water charges. So from a running point of view it;s more economic for your tenants to have an electric shower. Thirdly their easy to replace, should your shower break it's easy to find another electric shower quicky and efficiently.


12:25 PM, 14th November 2015, About 7 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Darren Bell" at "02/10/2015 - 05:49":

"The theory being that the load would be taken off the boiler so I would hope to get more years out of it."

Tempting, but I would not personally.

The reason is that certain electro-mechancial components within a system such as a modern combi-boiler benefit from regular exercising if they are not to cease up due to scale build-up.

It is noted and to be applauded that some of the new generation of individually electrically controllable radiator valves (as used in home automation installations for example) come with algorithms that will exercise the valve on a weekly basis by opening and closing it to guard against scale build-up which might otherwise occur during the summer months when the heating system is not in use.

The last thing you need in a rental property is unreliable valves! 🙂

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