A Comprehensive Guide to Installing an Electric Shower
A new electric shower can be a great addition to your bathroom, providing the best shower possible. Many put off the decision to get an electric model though, as they simply don’t know how to install one. This article aims to make the whole process simple though, talking you through everything in language you can understand. So, if you’re thinking about purchasing a new shower, this article is one that you really should read!
Before we continue though, there is one important thing to point out: the first part of this article only covers replacing an existing electric model with a new one. It is not designed to assist you in installing an electric unit from scratch, as this is something that must be carried out by a fully qualified plumber or electrician. Never attempt to install an electric shower from scratch, as it’s a complex job, and also one that can be dangerous. After all, water and electricity aren’t known to mix particularly well! Please scroll to the latter part of this article to find out what to do if you want to install an electric shower from scratch.
Choosing the Right Electric Shower
The first step to installing an shower is a simple one, however it is also one of the most important. We have a comprehensive electric shower guide to help you pick out which model is right for you. There are showers to suit all budgets, and there are also many designs, ranging from simple units, through to more high-spec ones, featuring digital displays and all manner of other features.
The looks and features of a shower are important, however the main thing to look at is the wattage. Your existing unit will already be set-up to cope with a specific wattage, so it is important that you don’t exceed the wattage of your current shower. If you want a shower with a higher wattage, you’ll need to get a plumber or electrician to install the shower for you.
You should also look at the components of the shower, as some are easier to install than others. Well-designed showers, with plenty of room for a spanner and easily accessible connections will make installing a new model far easier. Also, don’t forget to check if the shower comes with a riser – most do, but there are a few that require you to purchase the riser separately.
Other than buying the new shower, you shouldn’t need to buy anything else, as you’ll only need commonly found tools to complete the job – tools you will probably already have somewhere in your garage.
Removing Your Existing Shower
Before you can install your new shower, you’ll first have to remove the old one. Before you do anything though, you must turn off the water and electricity – if you don’t, you could end up with a flood, or electrocuting yourself. This step is the most important step in this whole guide, so please don’t think that it can be ignored. If you do not know how to turn off your water or electricity, do not proceed, and call a professional.
Once you have turned off the water and electricity, it is time to remove the shower. You’ll need to be reasonably careful when doing this, as you don’t want to damage any of the pipes or electrical connections – you’ll need them when you install your new shower! To get to the back of the unit, and therefore the screws fixing it to the wall, as well as the connections, you’ll need to remove the front of the shower unit. Sometimes the front of the unit simply unclips, and sometimes you’ll need to unscrew it. If you are going to keep your old shower and attempt to sell it, try to keep all the screws and fittings, as this will make it worth much more.
If you are then going to install your new shower straightaway, there’s no need to do anything with the electric supply. If you are going to install your new shower at a later date though, you should definitely ensure that the exposed electrics are safe, as you’ll certainly want to turn the electricity back on at some point. If this is the case, we recommend employing a professional electrician or plumber, as you can’t take any risks when it comes to the electricity in your home.
Installing Your New Shower
So, you’ve now prepped everything for the installation of your new shower, and there’s good news here: installing a new shower isn’t the most difficult piece of DIY you’re ever going to do. To start, you’ll need to fit the back panel to the wall, making sure you’ve secured it well, while of course making sure the various connections are accessible. Then, simply connect the electricity and the water to the relevant connections, and you’re nearly done. It’s worth saying this again though: make sure you’ve turned the electricity off before you do this job.
Once you’ve made the connections, it’s simply a job of fitting the wires and other components into the shower casing properly. It’s easier to do this with some showers than others, which is why the point about choosing the right shower, which is mentioned further up this page, is a really important one. Ensure that all the wires are placed safely into the unit, with no kinks or other things that could damage the wires. Once you’ve got everything in place, attach the front of the shower unit.
When you have attached the unit to the wall, you will often need to seal it around the edges, to prevent water from getting into the unit and causing problems. This is a simple job and can be done using a sealant from your local DIY store. If you are unsure as to which sealant to use, simply ask a member of staff. Once you have applied the sealant, give it some time to dry before you turn the shower on.
Now you’ll simply have to install the new riser and shower head, which is a simple job. Remember to think about how tall – or short – the people in your household are though, to ensure that everyone can shower in comfort! Don’t forget to attach any accessories before you attach the riser, such as soap trays, as there’s not much more annoying than having to take the riser back off the wall again! Once everything has been installed, you can turn the power and water back on, and test the shower.
If you find that there are any issues once you’ve finished the job, it is then best to call a professional plumber or electrician. They will be able to then diagnose if there’s a problem with the actual shower unit, or whether you have a more serious problem with your electrics or plumbing.
Installing an Electric Shower from Scratch
If you do not currently have an electric shower, but would like one, you should not attempt to fit it yourself. This is because wires and plumbing will need to be installed, and this is not something that even the most accomplished DIY expert can complete safely. Instead, you should contact a Part P certified plumber or electrician, and they will be happy to complete the job for you. This might cost you some money, but you’ll have the peace of mind of knowing that everything has been done correctly and safely.
So, if you want to install a shower from scratch, the only real decision you’ll have to make – aside from actually picking the shower – is which plumber or electrician to use. The best way to decide on a professional is to get recommendations from your friends and family, as one of them is almost certain to know a good person for the job. Don’t simply judge each potential professional on their price though, as picking the lowest price can often be a mistake. It is better to pay a decent amount, and ensure that everything is installed perfectly.
Of course, the price will play some role in your decision though, and it is therefore prudent to get a few different quotes. Generally, the cost of installing an shower from scratch will be higher than the price you paid for the shower, and this is because a lot of time and expertise is needed to complete the job properly. The price will usually also include getting a ceiling-mounted double pole switch, which turns the electricity supply to the shower on and off. This is extremely important, and this step should not be skipped. If you already have one of these switches installed, the plumber or electrician will be able to connect it to the shower.
Once the installation has been completed, make sure you receive a copy of the BS7671 certificate, which will prove that the installation has been carried out in compliance with building regulations. Keep this certificate in a safe place, as you’ll need it if you decide to sell your home in the future.