The Complete Guide to Buying a Saniflo Toilet System

Saniflo products are growing in popularity as the go-to plumbing system for bathrooms. With super easy to install tech (see: saving cash) and a plethora of environmental benefits, Saniflo is causing a real stir among the astute home renovator.

So maybe you’re considering whether or not to purchase one. Whether it was a recommendation from a friend or something you noticed in Bathrooms Weekly, it’s important you know how a Saniflo toilet works, when to install a Saniflo toilet and the pros and cons of the revolutionary technology.

To help you out, we’ve spoken to the in-house engineers here at Anchor Pumps. With decades in the pump and plumbing industry behind them, our team has helped us put together this complete guide to buying a Saniflo toilet.

What is a Saniflo Toilet?

The main difference between a standard toilet and a Saniflo toilet (upflush) is that a standard toilet is operated using a gravity system, that uses the forces of nature to flush the waste into the general waste system. A Saniflo toilet does not use a gravity system; instead it uses a centrifugal pump to flush the waste into the general waste system.

How Does a Saniflo Toilet Work?

A Saniflo toilet is made up of four key components. These are called:

– Float Switch (Membrane)
– Microswitch
– Blade (Macerator)
– Impeller

Each has its own separate function that works together to make a Saniflo toilet. We’ve noted each component below in the order that they operate.

Blade

When the toilet is flushed the waste (urine, faeces, toilet paper) is funnelled into the blade. When the waste hits the blade it will be macerated into smaller pieces. This allows the waste to be flushed into the general waste system with ease.

Float Switch (Membrane)

The float switch (also known as the membrane) is a small float that helps operate the pump. After the waste has been macerated by the blade it will then go on to gather in the tank. Over time the waste will accumulate in the tank slowly raising the float switch. When the waste reaches a certain level the float switch will detect pressure from the water and will operate the microswitch.

Microswitch

As noted above, the microswitch is operated by the float switch (membrane). When the microswitch is operated it will activate the impeller which will then pump the waste out of the toilet and into the general waste system.

Impeller

This is a rotating component of a centrifugal pump that will accelerate the waste out of the Saniflo tank and into the general waste system.

Why Would You Buy a Saniflo Toilet?

If you’re doing your research on Saniflo products then I’m sure you will have seen them touted as the revolutionary product that will complete all your home renovation dreams. But seriously, why should you invest in a Saniflo toilet? Here we list our top reasons for buying a Saniflo toilet.

Fighting Gravity

When the flush is activated in a standard toilet the waste is sent into the general waste system using gravity. Simply, the toilet piping goes directly down into the sewers.

When a toilet is located below, or a good distance from the general waste piping, it may be necessary to upflush the waste. Simply, the toilet piping does not go directly down into the sewers and instead needs to travel up or horizontally before reaching the general waste line.

In this case it would be appropriate to install a Saniflo toilet to ensure the toilet flushes efficiently and waste pipes do not become blocked.

Environmentally Friendly

If you are environmentally conscious then you will happy to note that macerator pumps are far more efficient than a standard toilet. Shredding the waste ensures that you get a smooth flush to the general waste line, while using an impeller to accelerate the waste to the sewer uses far less water than a standard toilet.

Easy Installation

Standard toilets can be a pain in the backside to install. Luckily, one of the major advantages of a Saniflo toilet is the ease at which they can be installed. Avoiding the need to break floors (or the bank) a macerator pump has the ability to upflush meaning you don’t need to make extensive changes to your plumbing. This ensures the construction work is completed quickly and at a low cost.

How Much Does a Saniflo Cost?

Saniflo systems come in all manner of shapes, sizes and pump capacities. Some will service a single toilet only, some will service a complete bathroom and some will service an entire office. Fortunately, deciding which one is right for you is not a difficult task. It all depends on how much waste you want to upflush. Here we list the simple domestic circumstances and the appropriate pump for the job.

Single Toilet Only – Saniflo Domestic – £242

If you’re only looking to upflush a single toilet, then the Saniflo Domestic is the perfect option for you. Running at 240 volts, the Saniflo domestic comes in at nearly a pound per volt at £242.

picture of a saniflo single toilet system

Find it here: http://www.anchorpumps.com/manufacturers/saniflo/saniflo-domestic-range/saniflo-domestic-sanitary-system-for-single-toilet-only-240v-1001

Single Toilet and Sink – Saniflo Sanitop – £285

If you would like to upflush a single toilet and a sink then you will need to purchase the Saniflo Sanitop. Coming in at £285, the Sanitop is a powerful macerator pump that can handle up to two bathroom appliances.

picture of saniflo sanitop toilet system

Find it here: http://www.anchorpumps.com/manufacturers/saniflo/saniflo-domestic-range/saniflo-sanitop-up-domestic-sanitary-system-for-single-toilet-and-single-sink-240v-6001

Toilet, Sink, Shower and Bidet – Saniflo Sanipro

If you would like to upflush all your bathroom appliances (up to four) then you will need the Saniflo Sanipro. With the capability to upflush your toilet, sink, shower and, if needed, bidet, the Sanipro is a bargain at £332.

picture of a saniflo sanipro bathroom system

Find it here: http://www.anchorpumps.com/manufacturers/saniflo/saniflo-domestic-range/saniflo-sanipro-domestic-sanitary-system-for-toilet-sink-shower-and-bidet-240v-1006

How Do You Keep a Saniflo System in Full Working Order?

Occasionally you will hear stories about how ‘Saniflo toilets seem to break easily’. In our experience, most issues with a Saniflo system come down to misuse. Here is our best advice to keep your Saniflo in full working order.

  • Only human waste and toilet paper should be flushed into the system
  • Do not flush sanitary items like wet wipes, condoms or tampons into the system
  • Try to flush the Saniflo system at least once a day
  • If you’re going on holiday (even for the weekend) we recommend flushing the system a couple times before you leave
  • Do not empty washing machines into your saniflo system. There is an appropriate model for this purpose

How Much Does it Cost to Install a Saniflo Toilet?

While it’s not a particularly difficult task to install a Saniflo toilet, there are several components to the job that we believe are best left to the professionals. Take the electrics for example. There are several regulations that need to be followed and we believe in a ‘better safe than sorry’ approach when dealing with water and electricity.

So how much will it cost you to install a Saniflo toilet? Well, each home and job will vary, but after speaking to a variety of plumbers we’ve agreed that if you have pre-purchased the Saniflo system then it would come in at around £500-£800. This is based on about 10-16 hours of work at a cost of about £50 per hour.

Number of Hours Work – 10 – 16 hours
Hourly Rate – £40 – £60
Estimated Cost of Installation – £500 – 800

Please note: Plumbing prices will differ based on your location and the required work to complete the job in your specific situation. The above is to be used as guidance only. To ensure you are paying the lowest price possible we recommend purchasing the Saniflo system through an approved Saniflo distributor.

The Complete Guide to Rainwater Harvesting

Let’s be honest, rainwater harvesting can sound like a bit of an absurd concept in the UK. It rains at least half the year and it’s not like we have the severe summer droughts of the Australian outback.

Yet even if it does seem a little silly there are some very good reasons to install a rainwater system, even here in the UK.

For example, water bills are rising to extortionate amounts. Earlier this year the government’s water regulator approved a 2% price rise on water, which could add as much as £395 to a yearly bill. Add to that the chronic leakage issues of our national water network and the increasing number of droughts we’re seeing across the UK; consequently it’s not unreasonable to foresee the price only going one way, up.

Additionally, the UK’s population is growing rapidly each year and fresh water is essential for life. The sheer immense pressure that will be put on an already short supply will only increase, and if you take pleasure in gardening or simply enjoy a long, refreshing shower, then rainwater harvesting may be a cost effective and environmentally friendly system to have in place.

What are the advantages of Rainwater Harvesting?

Specifically speaking, rainwater harvesting is the practice of collecting rainwater from surfaces such as roofs, gardens and flooded areas before then storing and filtering the water to make it suitable for human consumption or utilisation.

In 2017, water that can be utilised for human benefit is often in short supply, with expensive man-made resources such as dams and reservoirs required to meet demand. Aside from saving the amount of water you get from the nation’s supplies, what are the other advantages of rainwater harvesting?

Rainwater is Considered Safer than Water from Domestic Mains

Not only has water been stored in dams for long periods of time, but the water through your mains is treated with a variety of chemicals in order to eliminate any bacteria that may be present.

Rainwater Harvesting Systems Can Help Tackle Flooding

The impact of flooding can also be lessened by installing rainwater harvesting systems. During heavy rainfall, storm drains can sometimes struggle to cope with the sheer amount of water trying to escape. The extra run-off facility of harvesting systems can help to ease that burden and reduce the damage that flooding can cause.

Rainwater Harvesting is Cost Effective

Rainwater harvesting can save you serious dollar. Rainwater harvesting systems require only a minimal cost to maintain and once you have it set up correctly, the only thing you will you need to consider is the huge reduction in water bills.

Saving the Environment One Drop at a Time

Save money and save the environment? Is it possible? With a rainwater harvesting system not only can you avoid paying massive water bills, but you can also avoid the environmental damage caused by having the water pumped to your home.

Avoid the Hosepipe Ban

Another summer, another hosepipe ban. After working hard all spring to get your garden blooming, you don’t want to let all your hard work go to waste with a hosepipe ban. Stored rainwater can be perfect solution to stop you falling foul of summer watering bans rules.

How to Harvest Rainwater

Although a standard plastic tank is usually sufficient to store water for use in watering nearby plants, if the harvested water is intended to be used indoors or in large gardens, you will need to invest in a suitable pump system that can be incorporated into your home’s plumbing system.

At its most simple and complex, all rainwater harvesting systems will be made up of the same basic components.

Catchment Area

A catchment area, as you might expect from the name, is an area that is typically designed or altered to collect water. Usually this area will be the roof of your home as the system can be adapted to easily draw water from your home’s drainage system. In more complex systems, you can also collect water from gardens and flooded areas on your property.

Conveyance System

This is just a fancy term used to cover the eavestroughs, downspouts and piping that will be put in place to deliver water from the catchment area to the storage system.

Storage System

Again, as you might expect from the name, the storage system is simply a barrel, cistern or a tank that can hold rainwater for future use.

Distribution System

After you’ve collected the water in your storage system you will need to be able to get the water from its storage place to where it is being used. The manual labour method can be a good start for small gardens, but if you want the water to be fully integrated with your home, then you will need to invest in a pump that can be fully installed to run in harmony with your existing plumbing system.

4 Things to Consider Before Purchasing a Rainwater Harvesting System

Rainwater harvesting systems can be purchased in all shapes and sizes. When considering what system you may need for your home, there are a number of questions to reflect on.

1. How Do You Plan to Use the Water?

How you intend to use the water will be the biggest factor in what system you decide to purchase. Are you simply looking to utilise harvested water in the garden during the summer, or do you need to fully integrate the system into your home for toilet and showering use? How you plan to use the water will require a different set up and, consequently, come at a different cost.

2. How Much Water Do You Need?

Similar to the first question, you need to consider how much water you intend to use. A retired couple looking to utilise harvested water in the garden will need a different system to a family of six who intend to integrate the system with their home’s plumbing. Think about your household water habits, the number of people in your house and if the current plumbing fixtures installed in your home are water efficient.

3. How Much Water Can You Collect?

So you may have an idea of how much water you need, but how much water can you realistically collect? The calculation is simply based on the square feet of your catchment area and average rainfall in your region. Theoretically if you have a catchment area of 100 square feet and receive around 800mm of rainfall annually, then you can collect up to 25,000 litres per year.

The calculation looks like this:

Square Feet of Property

divided by (÷)

3.2

times by (x)

Annual Rainfall

You can estimate how much rainfall you receive annually using Met Office data here: http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climate/uk/regional-climates

To be even more precise with this figure you would deduct about 20% of the total to account for water that is lost to overflow, evaporation and leaks.

4. How Much Water Can You Store

It is important you estimate how much water you can possibly collect. As mentioned, all rainwater harvesting systems come in different shapes and sizes. Tanks and cisterns can have limited storage capacity. If you purchase a system capacity unsuitable for your region you will need to install an overflow pipe that leads water away from your home. Excess water flooding from a harvesting system can damage your property and foundations.

Deciding on Your Type of Rainwater Harvesting System

After you have answered the four questions above, you can then decide what type of rainwater harvesting system you need for your home. While there are a variety of systems that vary in complexity and size, these can often be covered in three basic models.

Water Butt Systems

The simplest of all rainwater harvesting systems, the water butt is a large plastic container which is connected to one drain pipe. These are great for small scale harvesting and are often the optimal system for people looking to reduce water consumption from their mains when gardening.

The benefit of this system is that you can install the water butt yourself and get harvesting straight away at minimal cost. Remember that if you are purchasing a water butt system you need to calculate how much rainfall you expect to receive. You may need to install an overflow pipe or purchase a larger container if you are expecting large amounts of rainfall (I.e. in an area of the UK that receives particularly high percentages of rainfall all year round).

Gravity Feed Systems

The water butt can be a great system to trial rainwater harvesting, but if you want to ramp things up and reduce your reliance on the mains a step further, then you will want a more complex rainwater harvesting system. The first system to consider is a gravity feed system. These are systems that collect water on the roof of your property when it rains and feed the water directly into the filter system of the tank.

The benefit of this system is that you can harvest large amounts of water directly into your home using gravity. This avoids the costs and complexity of integrating with a power source to pump the water around your home. The downsides of this system are that you may lose a large percentage of your harvest potential by only collecting at roof height and you will need to hire a professional fitter to ensure your system is safe and stable.

Pump Feed Systems

Gravity is great and we will thank Sir Isaac for his discovery for many years to come, but if you want to make a professional job out of your rainwater harvesting system then you will require a pump feed system. With the tank at ground level, or even under the ground, you can maximise the amount of water you harvest before using a pump system to move the water around your home.

The benefit of this system is that the pumps, like the KSB Hya-Rain, can clean and filter the water for you, ensuring that you are receiving a clean source of water. These systems also maximise your harvest potential by connecting to large underground tanks. The only potential downside to this system is the initial set up cost, but once you have the initial sting out of the way, you will recoup the costs when paying reduced water bills.


 

The Complete Guide to Buying a Central Heating Pump

Suffering from cold radiators even with the heating on full blast? Does your system seem to take an age to heat up? Or maybe you’re enduring a chronic humming sound that magically appears when you turn on your central heating system? If you’re experiencing any of the above, it’s likely that your central heating pump needs replacing.

But what is a central heating pump? How does a central heating pump work? And how do you know that it really needs replacing?

Well, if you’re new to the world of central heating, it’s likely you will discover that finding the answers to these questions can be a tad overwhelming. Incomplete and complex information abounds in the plumbing world, and it only gets more complex when researching pump systems.

That’s why we’ve developed this complete guide to central heating pumps. Covering every element that you will need to know when purchasing a central heating pump, this guide includes: What is a central heating pump? How does a central heating pump work? Does my central heating pump need replacing? And we also analyse a variety of common central heating pump problems.

What is a Central Heating Pump?

Ok, let’s start with the basics. What exactly is a central heating pump for? Well, central heating is a large, water-based system that heats all areas of the home.

It works via a central boiler that heats the water before being pumped around your home. In this system it’s important that hot water is efficiently pumped to all areas of your home as quickly as possible. The longer the water takes to travel to different areas of your home, the cooler the water will be and the less heat you will receive.

Essentially a central heating pump is a system used to speed up the process of circulating hot water from your boiler, to your radiators and back to the boiler. The pump is an efficient tool that ensures water is moved around your home before it cools.

diagram showing the placement of a central heating pump in a central heating system

How does a Central Heating Pump work?


Central heating pumps are not complex tools. Most pumps will be made up of six simple components that you can see in the diagram below. Please keep in mind that some pumps will not have a pump pressure adjust dial.

diagram showing the different components of a central heating pump

Central heating pumps work by taking water into the pump, pressurising the water with the impellers, before then pumping the water around your heating system at a higher speed.

If you would like a more detailed description of how central heating pumps work, please watch the video below.

Common Central Heating Pump Symptoms and Fixes


As with most things in your home, issues will no doubt crop up with your central heating pump. If you’re having problems with your central heating, the pump may be to blame if you’re experiencing any of the issues below.

As usual, we’ve listed our best advice for fixing the problem. If you are not confident in dealing with the issue then please contact a central heating technician to assess your system.

1. My Pump is Rattling or Producing a Humming Noise

A pump that has been installed incorrectly will have an impact on your central heating system. Not only can the rattling have long-term wear and tear consequences on your pump, but it can also stop your pump from working efficiently.

Fix: Check the pump fittings. If you find any loose screws or bolts then tighten them.

2. My Central Heating is Making Noises

Not to be confused with noises coming from your pump, alternatively you could be hearing a general humming or knocking noises coming from your wider central heating system. This could be a sign that air has entered into your pump.

Fix: If you suspect air has entered the pump then follow the pump’s manual to bleed the system.

3. My Pump is Making NO noise

As with all machinery, you should expect a small amount of vibration and noise. If your pump is making no noise and the central heating is failing to distribute heat evenly around your home, then you may have a jammed Impeller.

Fix: You’ll need to open the pump and thoroughly clean it. Foreign bodies can sometimes enter the water supply that can affect the running of the pump.

4. My Pump is Not Starting

If the central heating system is not activating the pump or a fuse has gone then your pump will not start.

Fix: Call a qualified professional to check the wiring.

Find out how to test you central heating pump here.

Does My Central Heating Pump Need Replacing?


In some circumstances the fixes listed above may fail to resolve your problem. Internal corrosion is common in central heating pumps and in this instance you will need to replace your pump.

While we advise calling a qualified central heating technician before replacing any equipment yourself, there are some circumstances where you can be certain your pump needs replacing.

My Pump is Too Hot to Handle

Generally, a hardworking pump will a be a tad warm, but if your pump is getting too hot to touch then it may be a sign of serious damage. In this case you may need to check the warranty of your pump provider, but generally you will need to replace the pump.

My Pump is Making a Grating or Knocking Noise

If your pump is making a grating or knocking noise then this could be a sign of serious damage inside the pump. Again, check your warranty with the pump provider. Most will replace the pump if the original was faulty.

My Pump is Only Heating Some of the Radiators

If your radiators are working downstairs but not working upstairs then this may be a sign that the pump is starting to fail. If your pump has a pressure dial then you can try to turn up the pump pressure, but if this fails to work then you may need to invest in a new, more powerful central heating pump.

My Pump is Leaking

If the pump is leaking, then it may need to be replaced. This is almost certainly as a result of corrosion which can’t be fixed. If brown liquid is leaking from the start capacitor, or it looks burnt out, you can replace this part only.

Read our guide to replacing your central heating pump here. 

What Central Heating Pump Should I Buy?

If you are in the market for a central heating pump then have a look at our recommended options below. They have all been tested by our in-house engineers and are the highest quality pumps available on the market.

1. Grundfos UPS2 15-50/60

image showing grundfos central heating pump

Regarded for its high quality, the Grundfos UPS2 15-50/60 is a universal replacement pump. Directly replacing the old UPS 15-50 and UPS 15-60, it is ideal for tight-fit installations and can be fitted without disturbing the pipework. There is an option of the UPS2 15-50/60 to be fitted as a pump head only, meaning that it can be fitted onto any existing UPS pump types. So, what other benefits does the Grundfos UPS2 15-50/60 offer?

The Grundfos UPS2 15-50/60 is highly energy efficient, offering three different settings. The settings refer to the speed in which hot water is circulated around the system and distributed to radiators and faucets. The best speed setting to use is the lowest speed at which the system works without any problems. The lower the setting, the more energy efficient the pump will be. This pump is designed for a 4m, 5m or 6m performance.

The plug-in control box can be mounted on the top, left or right of the pump offering versatility and accommodating a range of installation options.

Find the Grundfos UPS2 15-50/60 here.

2. DAB Evosta 40-70/130

image showing an evosta central heating pump

As the DAB Evosta is powered by a permanent magnet synchronous motor, it can generate torque at zero speed which in turn, creates constant oscillation through water membranes. This increases efficiency, enabling hot water to be pumped at high speed to radiators and faucets as and when required. An ideal replacement for older three-speed circulators, the Evosta 40-70/130 covers 4.5m and 6m head models with a single pump.

A big benefit of this particular circulatory pump is the frequency converter, which is highly energy efficient. A fitted electronic device detects any changes of demand within the system and adapts to one of the six variable speed settings available.

Find the DAB Evosta 40-70/130 here. 

3. Lowara Ecocirc 25-4 (180)

image showing lowara central heating pump

Perfect for single family houses or apartment buildings, the Lowara Ecocira 25-4 (180) uses a variable-speed electronically communicated motor type. The motor is powered by a spherical rotor, which is shaftless, reducing the amount of noise as the motor turns.

A ceramic bearing ball is encapsulated within the impeller unit as part of new anti-blockage technology. The ceramic bearing separates water flow from the parts of the system that are magnetic, which reduces the amount of magnetite and sludge build-up.

The Lowara model is fitted with a built-in sensor that monitors temperature. By ensuring that the pump ceases to continue working when the temperature of the water reaches 125 degrees, it prevents itself from overheating.

Find the Lowara Ecocirc 25-4 (180) here. 

4. CPL CP50 (130)

image showing cp50 central heating pump

The CPL CP60 (130) is a high-efficiency, glandless circulating pump, which is perfect for domestic households and is simple to connect. A glandless pump operates with no shaft or seal, meaning that there is nowhere for the water to leak.

Offering versatility, this pump type can be used for all heating and air conditioning applications with temperatures ranging from -10 degrees to +95 degrees.

The CPL CP50 (130) is easy to operate and comes with a three stage speed control system, which applies variable differential pressure. The varying pressure dials can be selected to suit radiator and underfloor heating applications.

Find the CPL CP50 (130) here. 

Ensure that your house gives you a warm welcome this winter and take a look at our selection of domestic circulating pumps. By choosing to install a domestic pump, you can save yourself money on your energy bill by ensuring that your heating system is operating at maximum efficiency.

The Plumber’s Guide to Fixing Low Water Pressure

Fed up with waiting hours to fill a bathtub? The morning shower lacking any real pressure? Or maybe you’re dissatisfied with inadequate performance from your combi boiler? Then you, like millions of others across the UK, may be experiencing low water pressure.

The good news is that you don’t have to continue living this way. The cause of low water pressure issues can range from the simple to the complex and quite often you may not even require a plumber to fix the problem.

So how do you diagnose low water pressure issues? What are the solutions to these problems? And, most importantly, when should you call a plumber?

Well, here at Anchor Pumps pump systems are our forte and we’ve spoken to our most experienced in-house engineers to help us create this guide. Find out how you can diagnose and fix all your low water pressure problems below.

What is Low Water Pressure?

In the UK, the standard measurement unit for water pressure is the bar. A plumber will classify a home plumbing system as experiencing low water pressure if the pressure in a home’s system is less than one bar. One bar is equivalent to one atmosphere, the standard atmospheric pressure on Earth at sea level.

In standard circumstances, the amount of water pressure we experience in our supply depends on a variety of factors.

These include:

The height of the home’s water supply inlet relative to the water mains supply. Water pressure will fall the higher it has to flow through a pipe.

• The proximity of the house to pumps installed along the water mains. Water pressure will be higher the closer a property is to the pumping station.

• Geographical elevation of the property. Low lying areas generally have a high water pressure, while pressures are lower in high lying regions.

• Geographical location of the property. Cities like London with a vast amount of people and old pipework (small and potentially damaged) will experience poor water pressure when demand is high.

• Usage and the time of day. Water pressures are often lower in the morning when a large part of the population is using water over a short period.

• Leaks in the water supply system. If water is being lost from the mains or any connecting supply pipe, the final water pressure will inevitably fall.

Now, even if the mains and supply pipes are in good working order and the property is located in a low lying region, not far from a pumping station, you may still experience low water pressure due to household causes. These causes are explained further in the next section.

What’s Causing Low Water Pressure?

Before you go buying a pump, messing around with any pipes or unscrewing taps, it’s important that you identify what is causing the low water pressure. If you believe you may have a low water pressure issue in your home, even if it is just in one area e.g. in one tap or only in the shower, then use the exercise below to test the quality of your water flow.

If you think you may have water problems then you can easily test your flow in three simple steps. All you need for the test is: a measuring jug, a timer and a calculator (or excellent maths skills!).

graphic showing the three steps to checking if you have low water pressure

If you are experiencing low water pressure throughout your home then you may have one of the problems outlined below. Do the checks below to help diagnose your issue.

Obstructed valves

Perhaps you’ve just bought a new home, or maybe you’ve had building work conducted that required shutting off your water valves. Whatever the reason, there is a chance that your water valves were not fully opened. If the water valve is only semi-open then you may be restricting the amount of water entering your home, so make sure that the valve is open the full way. If the valve seems fully open but you are still encountering water pressure issues, then the valve may be broken. If this is the case do not under any circumstances try to fix it without proper training.

Often found under your kitchen sink, a water valve in most British homes will look like the below. Again, if you believe the water valve to be broken, contact a plumber immediately.

image showing the user what a water valve looks like and how to operate a water valve

Leaks

Leaks are the worst case scenario when it comes to low water pressure. If the water pipes are damaged then this will cause low water pressure, as not all the water will make it to your taps. After you’ve checked to see if the valve is fully open, you can conduct a leak check of your home. Now, this may seem scary but it is actually quite simple. After checking that the kids don’t need an immediate shower, close your main water valve and take a reading from the water meter. Check back in two hours and if the figure on the meter has increased, then this is a sign that your pipes have a leak.

Your water meter will look something like the below.

image showing the user what a water meter looks like

You will usually find it in one of these places:

– In the path outside your home

– In a box on an outside wall

– Inside your home: either under the sink, in a cellar or in a downstairs toilet

Clogging

Not to be confused with clogged drains, water pipe clogging is generally one of the most common causes of low water pressure in British homes. These clogs usually build-up when iron pipes are present. Iron is particularly vulnerable to rusting which can then break off and cause an obstruction within your system. With this issue, you also face the problem of things like dirt, gravel or sand entering your pipes through the mains water supply.

Unfortunately, if you suspect that clogged pipes may be restricting your water supply then you will need to contact a plumber. In this situation, the best scenario will mean that you will only need to have your pipes removed and cleaned, with the more serious scenario meaning that you could need your water pipes completely replaced.

Designer Taps

OK, we get it, designer taps look fantastic. But are they built to be efficient in your plumbing system? Modern taps are built for modern homes and they often have lower flow rates that are specifically designed for use within high-pressure systems. Our advice is to weigh up the pros and cons. What do you value more, a stylish shower head or a long, refreshing morning shower?

Low Pump Power

Regular maintenance checks are advised to make sure your pump is working at optimum capacity, so if you suspect that your pump is over two years old then one of two things may be happening. Either your pump is malfunctioning or it simply isn’t manufactured to be powerful enough for your needs.

With millions of people right across the UK complaining about water pressure issues, we suspect that most homes are simply using malfunctioning or improper pumps.

How to Boost Low Water Pressure in Your Home

Note: It is illegal to add a booster pump directly to mains water pressure. The added pressure created by a booster pump can damage mains pipework. In most cases you will need to insert a break tank.

In many cases, the issue is simply that the mains water pressure supply is too low. The simplest solution to your water supply issues lies in a booster pump. Found in homes of all shapes and sizes, booster pumps are a relatively cheap option to add extra pressure to your water system.

Booster pumps are designed to increase water pressure by passing water into the pump from your mains supply and then ejecting it into your home water system at a higher pressure. Don’t worry though, most quality pumps will be fitted with a pressure switch which creates a pressure setting that cannot be exceeded. Not only are you getting a long, stimulating shower, but you can relax in the knowledge that your pump is keeping you safe.

See our booster pump recommendations below.

What type of booster pump do you need?

If you’re considering purchasing a booster pump there really is only a handful of pump brands worthy of your time. These are Grundfos, Salamander and Stuart Turner.

Here is the top pump from each brand:

Salamander Home Boost 1.6 Bar Mains Water Pressure Booster Pump 240V

One of the leading options for correcting low water pressure is the Home Boost range from Salamander pumps. These are able to raise your water pressure to around 1.5 bar whilst still ensuring you stay compliant with water-use and installation regulations. They are compact and easy to install and quiet in operation too, so they won’t disrupt your home with extra noise.

Image Showing the Salamander Home Boost 1.6 Bar Mains Water Pressure Booster Pump 240V

Find the Salamander Home Boost 1.6 Bar Mains Water Pressure Booster Pump 240V here

Grundfos Scala2 3-45 Variable Speed Home Booster

Another leading option is the Variable Speed Home Booster range from Grundos. The SCALA 2 is a fully integrated, self-priming system that is ideal for boosting water pressure in domestic applications. Integrated speed control also means that the pump will only operate when it’s needed, so it won’t hit your energy bills either. This pump must be used in conjunction with a break tank.

Image showing the Grundfos Scala2 3-45 Variable Speed Domestic Home Booster Pump Set

Find the Grundfos Scala2 3-45 Variable Speed Home Booster here

Stuart Turner Flomate Mains Boost Extra 200

Stuart Turner’s Flomate range is one of the finest pump collections on the market. Designed to be connected directly to the incoming mains, Flomate Mains Boost Extra is fully compliant with UK water regulations. The 3 bar of pressure will give a deserved boost to your water supply while the tech also comes with an integrated break tank which removes the need for inserting a separate cold water break tank.

Image showing the Stuart Turner Flomate Mains Boost 3 Bar (Combi-Boiler) Pressure Booster Pump

Find the Stuart Turner Flomate Mains Boost Extra 200 here.

How and Where to Fit a Booster Pump

While a booster pump can be fitted by yourself, we suspect that the majority of people reading this article may want to contact a plumber.

Saying that, booster pump installation is much simpler and quicker than most would think. All of the fittings you need for installation are included in the pump kit. Included are: washers, a filter washer, a straight connector, an isolation valve connector and some adapters to cope with either 15mm or 22mm pipe connections. Full instructions are also included, so you’re ready to start installing as soon as you get the kit.

Installation should take approximately an hour and you only need a few tools to get started. As mentioned above, if you’re not confident doing it yourself, you can get a qualified plumber to carry out the work for you.

Depending on your area, it should only cost about £50 to £100 to install a booster pump.

If you are feeling confident and you’re ready to install, then watch this excellent video from Salamander Pumps for guidance.

Low Water Pressure and When to Call a Plumber…

So if you read this article thoroughly you should be able to take the first major steps to diagnosing why you have low water pressure. If you’ve found the issue then you should also know how to go about fixing that issue. If you are still unsure then scan the following list of issues to see if you can identify your problem. Please note that all of the below problems will require the attention of a qualified professional.

1. Dripping Taps

At first glance, it might not seem like a massive issue, but a dripping tap can have a major impact on your bank account. Over the course of a year, a dripping tap can cause you to flush hundreds of gallons of water down the drain, along with a sizeable amount of money.

It may seem like a simple, easy task to replace a washer or two, to create a water-tight seal, but due to the technical requirements of each tap, the job is best left to a trained professional.

2. Clogged Pipes

Be it your sink, toilet, bathtub or drain – if it has a pipe connected to it, it can get blocked. Not only is determining if a water pipe is clogged a complex job for a plumber but so is fixing the issue. In the best case scenario a plumber may have to go through and remove all the piping before cleaning and making small repairs. In the worst case, they may need to replace all of your water piping. Again, due to technical aspects of ensuring your pipes are safely removed and re-fitted, the job is best left to a trained professional.

3. Broken Water Valve

A broken water valve is another common plumbing problem that may be causing low water pressure in your home. Now it may seem like an easy fix; replace the old valve with a shiny new one and you’re done, right? No. Water valves are connected to the mains water and removing them can be a complicated job with disastrous consequences if you get it wrong. Definitely leave this job to a professional.

4. Leaking Pipes

Water leaks can be costly, so looking after your water system correctly should be a priority. Even if a leak is relatively minor, it may still cause serious damage over time, along with a costly impact on your bank balance. To save yourself from damaging your property further, ensure that finding and repairing leaking pipes is left to a professional.

Looking for a plumber in your region? Check out our average price for a plumber article here.

How Much Are Home Improvements? Depends Who You Are…

Many of us rely on tradesmen to help us build our dream homes, whether that be building a new conservatory, painting and decorating or fitting a new bathroom. Lots of us are clueless when it comes to understanding what’s involved in the work we ask our tradesmen to do, meaning we readily accept their quotes.

So, do quotations really differ depending on who you are, or where you live? We gave a middle-aged woman, a middle-aged man, and an elderly man a list of 90 plumbers across 9 English counties. We asked them to call listed plumbers to obtain a quote for fitting mixer taps in their kitchen.

Fitting a mixer tap is usually a straightforward job for a plumber. With the plumbing already in place, it’s a case of swapping the older tap, for the new tap.

So, how much did quotations differ?

Differences by Region

London emerged as the most expensive for this particular job at £85. That may not come as a surprise, given that Londoners are used to inflated prices. The West Midlands was the second most expensive at £70. Those in the North West are in luck if they need the services of a plumber as it was cheapest at £63. This was followed by South West at £64.

cost-of-home-improvements-01

Quotes for the work varied across all regions, and in some cases, the range was quite extensive.

While London had the most expensive overall average, the difference between the lowest and highest quotes was just £7. This means that London plumbers are the most consistent when it comes to quoting, which I guess is good news. In contrast, there was a £20 difference between the lowest quote of £55 for the male caller and the quote of £75 for the elderly caller in the North East.

Ok, so calling a tradesman might cost you more money depending on location, we can live with that. But let’s take a look at how quotations vary depending on the caller.

Male, Female and the Elderly

Our three callers contacted the same plumber over a two-month period, asking for a quote for exactly the same job. We analysed quotes obtained by our three callers to find the average for each, and the results were concerning.

The average price across all quotations for each caller was as follows:
Male: £62
Female: £71
Elderly: £75

So, the male caller managed to obtain the cheapest price overall. He was charged nearly 15% less than the female caller and 21% less than the elderly caller. But was this the case in every region?

cost-of-home-improvements-03

Unfortunately, it was. In every single region apart from one, the male caller was quoted the lowest average price. London was the only exception, with the female caller receiving a lower average price by just £2.

The elderly caller fared the worst in 7 out of 9 regions, levelling with the female caller in the West Midlands.

Male VS Female

Now that we’ve established that the male caller obtained the cheapest quotes, we wanted to find out the worst offending region for overcharging women. We did our sums and figured out the percentage difference between the average price for males and females.

We can reveal that plumbers in the North East are the most likely to quote different prices based on gender, with a 53% increase between the male and female caller.

Male VS Elderly

When it comes to overcharging the elderly, the North East is the worst offender once more. The Elderly caller was quoted 36.36% more than the male caller in this particular region. The North West was the second worst offender, charging 27.27% more, followed by the West Midlands with 27.1%.

Lowest VS Highest

The range of quotes for the male, female and elderly caller varied significantly.

Lowest Quotes

For the female caller, the lowest quote was £40 and this obtained from a plumber in the North East.
The lowest quote for the male caller was £45. Plumbers in the North East, East of England, South West and North West all gave this price.
The most modest quote given to the elderly caller was £50 and this was obtained from three plumbers based in the North East, East of England and West Midlands.

Highest Quotes

The highest price given was £120. The quote was given by a plumber in the North East to the female caller and by a plumber in London to the elderly caller.
£90 was the highest price given to the male caller and that was quoted by a plumber in London.

cost-of-home-improvements-04 (2)

Of course, we acknowledge that plumbers and other tradesmen might not be able to give a precise quotation up front, without seeing the work in question. However, it does seem from our research, that on the spot quotations favour men over women and that the elderly pay the highest price. How much do your home improvements cost? Well, the data suggests that it depends on who you are.

Methodology

The aim of this study was to investigate the extent in which costings in the plumbing industry can vary depending on location and the caller. Anchor Pumps acknowledges that quotations will vary depending on region and the way in which a quote is calculated. For example, if the plumber charges a flat hourly rate or whether they charge by job type.

In total, quotes were obtained by ten plumbers for 9 different areas of England. Plumbers from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland were not included in the study. Each plumber was contacted on three separate occasions across a three-month period. First by a female caller, secondly by a male caller and then by an elderly caller. Each caller requested an over the phone quotation for the same job.

The Request: A new mixer tap installation to be fitted in the kitchen, a straight swap with the plumbing already in place.   

Please note that there were twenty-two additional plumbers who stated that they could not provide a quote over the phone without inspecting the work via a photograph or in person. These were not included in the study as no upfront quote was provided.

Quotes included in the study do not include additional VAT.

Below are quotes obtained for each region. The overall averages have been calculated to the nearest whole number.

If you would like to discuss the study, please email apmedia@gmail.com for further details.

London

South East

South West

West Midlands

East Midlands

East of England

Yorkshire

North East

North West