Bristan showers you the wayJuly 7, 2016
There are showering solutions available for every type of application, and to suit every budget. Here, Helen Smallridge, Bristan’s product group manager for mixer showers, answers some frequently asked questions.
Q: What do installers need to think about when they are recommending a shower?
A: It’s important for an installer to know if the new shower is replacing an existing product and is to be fitted in the same location, or if the homeowner is investing in a complete refurbishment or new bathroom/shower room.
In retrofit installations replacing a shower like-for-like is always going to be the easiest, most cost-effective approach, causing minimal damage to tiles and décor and reducing inconvenience for the customer.
New projects, where bathrooms/shower rooms are being refurbished or created completely from scratch, present a lot more scope in terms of styling and aesthetics. The homeowner might already have a very clear idea about the look they want, and the installer will advise them on how best to achieve it.
Q: Are mixer showers always the right choice?
A: A shower should always be selected in accordance with the property’s water pressure, as well as the boiler and/or water heating system installed. The effectiveness of a mixer shower is largely dependent on a good hot water supply from a boiler or cylinder, and the cold water pressure being constant, and preferably balanced. In some cases there might not be enough hot water to meet demand, so this should always be checked before making any recommendations.
Q: Are they the preferred option?
A: Mixer showers are often considered the most desirable option because they offer benefits in terms of performance and aesthetics. They usually deliver a higher flow rate than other types of shower, and there are many design choices on offer, ranging from traditional to contemporary. Another design benefit is that mixer shower valves can be either exposed or concealed.
When installing a mixer shower it is now considered best practice to opt for a thermostatic type, or, alternatively, an ancillary thermostatic mixing valve (TMV). Both options regulate the shower’s temperature and will shut down the water supply if there’s a dramatic change in either the hot or cold water supply, reducing the risk of scalding.
As well as being able to offer safety benefits, some mixer showers provide water-saving features like flow regulators too.
Q: Are homeowners opting for the new digital showers on the market?
A: While digital technology is undoubtedly the latest trend in the shower market, the premium price tag is restricting choice and uptake and, as a result, mass market appeal hasn’t yet been achieved.
Bristan’s strategy is to listen to our customers, and to develop products that meet their needs. Bristan has therefore evolved its mixer shower offer, with a new product called Artisan Evo.
The wireless, digitally controlled, thermostatic mixer shower offers digital technology at a fraction of the cost. It includes a heat up mode and an eco-flow option and the wireless controller can be positioned up to 10 metres apart from the slim-line valve, which can be fitted in an airing cupboard, under the bath or in a loft space if it’s more convenient. This makes the installation easier and quicker, and reduces disruption and cost for the homeowner. It has a minimalist, sleek, modern look and is available in black or white, with an adjustable riser rail or ceiling head.
Q: What are the choices if a mixer shower isn’t suitable for a property?
A: If a property’s water supply isn’t suitable for a mixer shower, an electric shower can prove a good alternative. Electric showers have really moved on in recent years, and are more aesthetically pleasing than in the past. What’s more, electric showers are quick and simple to fit and can be installed just about anywhere.
In recent years thermostatic electric showers have been introduced, as, just like any other type of shower, they can pose a risk of scalding if there’s a sudden change in water temperature at the outlet. Using thermostatic technology, our Joy Thermostatic electric shower delivers safer, balanced water temperatures even when water is being used elsewhere in the home, reducing the risk of scalding and providing a more comfortable showering experience.
Meanwhile, our BEAB Care and RNIB endorsed Joy Care (available from July 2015) takes into account the needs of the elderly and people with disabilities, without compromising on style or performance. As well as delivering safe water temperatures, it has large, easy to move dials, raised markings and an audible click when settings are adjusted, an illuminated stop/start button, an LED digital setting display and a grey contrasting back box. Longer riser rails and handle style dials are also available if required.
Both of our Joy showers feature phased shutdown technology to help reduce lime-scale build-up, significantly prolonging the life of units installed in hard water areas, and are available at a cost-competitive price.
Q: Couldn’t a power shower be installed instead?
A: This could be another option for homes where there is low water pressure. The added use of a pump increases the rate of water flow through the shower head, resulting in an exhilarating shower experience. However, this comes at a cost – water usage is almost three times greater than a standard electric shower, making a power shower less efficient and more costly to run.