Pump Vs. Gravity Fed Shower - Which Is Better?


Installing a new bathroom is no joke. With so many fixtures and fittings, not to mention plumbing and electricity to work with, redesigning a bathroom is a lot of work. One of the main fixtures in your bathroom will be a shower, whether it's a separate shower cubicle or an over-bath shower. How your shower is plumbed in can make a huge difference not only to cost, but also to your shower experience.

Basically, there are two kinds of shower, pump fed and gravity. Which one you choose will depend a lot on your needs, and on your existing plumbing, not to mention how much money you have to spend. But which of these two options is right for you? Read on to find out the differences between pump and gravity fed showers, and the pros and cons of each.

Gravity Fed Showers...

Gravity fed showers draw water from the hot and cold water tanks and use gravity to bring them to your shower head. The advantage of gravity fed showers are that they are cheap to buy and easy to install. However, they have some drawbacks. The water pressure in gravity fed showers can be low. This depends a lot on how far the shower head is below the water tank (the greater the vertical distance between them the better water pressure you will have) as well as the size of the pipes between the tank and the shower (the wider the pipes are in diameter, the better pressure you'll have). In general you need a minimum of one meter vertical distance between tank and shower head for the shower to work properly, which often makes gravity fed showers impractical for bungalows and flats that have self-contained water tanks.

They also use water a lot faster than water can be refilled into the tank, particularly hot water. That means that the duration of your shower will depend a lot upon the size of your water tank. The bigger tank you have, the longer you'll be able to shower. This can make gravity fed showers a problem for large families who share a bathroom.

Pump Showers...

Pump showers are sometimes known as power showers. They work by using a pump to draw water from both hot and cold water tanks. The biggest advantage of having a pump shower is that the water pressure is higher, in fact there is no better way to get great water pressure in your shower than by having a power shower. But of course it has disadvantages too. Firstly, pumped showers are more expensive to buy, as well as more difficult to fit.

Because of the massive amount of water used by a power shower the pipes leading from the water tank to the shower often have to be replaced with wider ones. This can mean a lot of disruption, damage to your walls, and you will need to employ a professional to help out. If pipes are not replaced serious leakage can occur. For similar reasons drainage also occasionally needs to be changed. Some drains, particularly those in already installed bath tubs, simply can't handle the amount of water that comes out of a power shower, which will leave you standing ankle deep in dirty water. Because pump showers use a lot of water the size of your hot water tank is extremely important. The bigger your tank the longer you can shower for.

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