There’s never been so much choice when it comes to shower systems, from power and electric to digital and mixer showers, but how do you ensure you’ve got the right type for your boiler?
If you have a combi boiler or you’re thinking of getting one installed, it’s reassuring to know if your current shower is compatible. If it is, you’re practically guaranteed a continuous, high pressure, warm flow of water. If not, you may need to consider changing the current shower in order to ensure it is compatible, but most importantly to get the best from your investment in your new combination boiler. This guide aims to enhance your shower experience by providing you with information about different types of boiler system and the best showers to pair with a combi boiler.
Types of boiler
Gravity boiler system
Gravity boiler systems are particularly common in older homes, and usually consist of a cold-water tank in the loft, and a hot water cylinder in the airing cupboard. The water is brought down and heated inside the cylinder to feed your shower and taps. Gravity boiler systems often result in low water pressure, however this can be resolved using a shower pump.
Unvented boiler system
In an unvented boiler system, a high pressure water cylinder fed from the mains, is heated by an immersion heater, boiler or even solar panels to provide a generous and powerful showering pressure. These are generally more common in modern homes.
Combi boiler system
Combi boilers are most common in newer homes, and also a popular upgrade when replacing your heating and hot water system. Quite different to the other two types of boiler discussed, a combi system features a boiler with no tanks or water cylinders, designed to heat water as and when you need it, rather than storing the hot water before you’re ready to use it.
The benefits of a combi boiler
- They provide a high pressure water supply with a generous flow and pressure
- They are cost-effective and energy efficient, as water is heated instantly as and when it is needed, rather than being heated and then stored in a cylinder.
- You’ll never run out of hot water.
- They are available in compact sizes, making them perfect for smaller properties or properties without loft space, with some designed specifically to fit inside the space of a kitchen cupboard.
- Since they require no hot water cylinder, they typically cost a lot less to install.
The best showers for a combi boiler system
Power showers have proved very popular in days gone by as they contain an integrated pump to boost the water from older, gravity-fed hot water systems. Since they’re designed to be installed to low-pressure water supplies, it means they’re therefore unsuitable for combination boilers. However, mixer showers, digital showers and electric showers are all ideal for use with a combi boiler system.
Thermostatic mixer showers
Thermostatic mixer showers are traditionally considered the best type of shower to pair with combi boilers. If somebody else in your household tries to use hot water while you’re showering, this can cause fluctuations in temperature as combi boilers can only produce so much hot water at a time. With a thermostatic mixer shower, it can control any changes in the water temperature, maintaining a consistent and comfortable showering temperature throughout and preventing a scalding hot or freezing cold surprise.
Designed specifically for combination boilers and other high-pressure systems, digital showers are thermostatic which similar to mixer showers they respond to fluctuations in temperature and pressure, such as when someone in your household runs a tap or decides to shower at the same time. With a digital shower you can also create presets to ensure you get the perfect temperature every time.
Digital showers are also available for older, gravity fed systems and feature an integrated pump to boost the water pressure. These are ideal for a modern shower aesthetic without having to upgrade your boiler.
Electric showers also work well with combi boilers, however, they aren’t considered to be as compatible as a mixer or digital showers. The main benefit of an electric shower is that it will keep working if your boiler fails as the water is heated by the shower itself as opposed to the boiler.