Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Water Showers Problems on Unsuspecting Home Owners

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Water Showers Problems on Unsuspecting Home Owners

Article excerpt

We have seen a tremendous increase in the number of houses with showers fitted over the past 15 years or so.

This can be put down to increased overseas travel and use of showers in hotels, coupled with significant advances in plumbing technology with the result we can all have showers of a reasonable quality at a reasonable price. Back in the bad old days, a shower in a house might be two pieces of rubber hose bunged on the ends of the hot and cold taps of the bath or, at best, a shower head fixed over the bath with a trickle of tepid water.

The first change came when the electric shower was produced. A simple act of passing a flow of cold water across a hot water element meant that we could harness the pressure in our cold water mains to produce a good steady flow of hot water. That is until somebody flushed the loo or ran a downstairs tap, so reducing the water pressure and increasing the temperature to scalding point.

The problem with the traditional older shower was, or indeed is, that there is just insufficient height between the shower head and the cold water storage tank above. This difference in height, or as it's called, "head of water", dictates how much pressure of water comes through the shower head, even though the hot water tank is set at a level lower than the shower itself.

The second change was the advent of the shower pump. This overcame the inadequate water head and pushed the water through the system to give a good flow of water.

The third and most common change is the advent of the combi-boiler. This boiler uses the pressure of water passing through the cold water mains and gives a good supply of hot water to the shower head without the need for a cold water tank. It can be susceptible to fluctuations in pressure from flushing loos and kitchen taps, but to a lesser extent.

The problem with showers is that there is an awful lot of water sprayed on to the enclosing walls. If the shower cubicle is all glass or all plastic sheet, then there should be no problem except at the joint between the glass panels and the shower tray which can be vulnerable to leaks.

Most showers are surrounded by ceramic tiles bonded to the wall. It is important that these tiles are of a high quality in order to prevent them absorbing water. Similarly, the joints should utilise waterproof grout.

The large amount of water sprayed from the shower onto the user and then the walls can mean that any less than adequate ceramic tiling absorbs the spray through to the wall behind. If the wall behind is solid brickwork or blockwork, this is unlikely to be a problem. On the other hand, if it is a timber framed partition the water could soak through into the timber framing, causing wet rot or even worse, a dry rot attack.

The joints between the walls and the shower tray are extremely important. …

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