When looking to replace a shower, you need to bear in mind that there are different kinds of showers which are designed for use with different boiler systems. Therefore, when you’re choosing a shower, you should know what kind of water heating system you have.

Mixer showers use the same hot water that feeds the taps in your kitchen, utility and bathroom. However, there are two ways that you can have a plentiful supply of hot water in your home:

The traditional boiler

In this system, water is heated by a separate heating boiler and then stored in a cylinder – or hot water tank – usually housed in an airing cupboard.

The combination boiler

Combination boilers are now found in over 50% of UK homes. Their popularity is due to the number of smaller households – one or two people don’t need a full tank of hot water heated twice a day. Combination boilers heat water on demand – when the hot tap is opened.

The advantage of having a shower heated by a combi boiler is that you usually get a high flow rate as the showers are mains fed and designed for pressurised water systems. They’re economical as they only heat the water when you need it. However, if your combi boiler were to break down then you would have no hot water in your taps or to shower with. The water can also take a while to run from the boiler, where it’s heated to the shower or tap outlet so there is a degree of water wastage while you wait for the heated water to reach the shower.

Before choosing a shower, make sure it is compatible with the water heating system you have. If your water pressure is low, you may find that a mixer shower is not powerful enough. You can get around this problem by installing a power shower, which has a pump to help boost the flow of water. Bear in mind that power showers use up to three times as much water as a normal mixer shower and are therefore less economical to run.

The water for electric showers is heated in a different way. An electric shower has a heating element contained within the shower housing, and is only plumbed into the cold water supply. The water is heated as it passes over the heating element and so you can have a hot shower at any time. Electric showers are economical to run.

You can now also get digital showers which can be programmed at a distance from the shower itself, so it’s possible to start your shower running before you even get up out of bed in the morning, meaning that the shower will be at an ideal temperature when you step in.