Month: May 2016

Shower Pumps Explained – What to consider before installing

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While they may be an essential part of many millions of bathrooms across the country, plenty of people will need shower pumps explained to them before they can successfully select and install a suitable model.

Before you can understand shower pumps, you must also gain an appreciation for the other elements which will affect your choice and the type of installation that will be appropriate for your home.

It is not simply a case of picking a pump that fits your budget; there are also bylaws which will play a part in determining which products you can and cannot use. So here are some of the things to consider before you take the plunge.

Shower Pumps Explained – The Basic Options

The core purpose of booster pumps is to increase the pressure of the water which is delivered by a shower, ensuring that it provides a more invigorating and satisfying experience for those who are dissatisfied with a limited flow rate.

There are a range of pumps at different price points and designed for integration with different systems. But even the most affordable models should be able to improve matters, turning a weak flow shower into a decent one, serving as a water pressure booster.

The most important thing to remember before proceeding is that you are only permitted to fit pumps to a gravity system, which consists of a shower that is fed by a header tank or cistern. So if your system is powered directly by a connection to the water mains, installing a pump is not an option.

Unpicking the Restrictions

It may seem unreasonable to prevent people from installing pumps on a direct mains supply, or integrating a power shower booster before or after a combi boiler. But the reason behind this restriction is simple. The laws are in place to prevent pressure building up during the hours in which the system is not being used.

If a pump were present and pressure continued to rise, seals could be blown and leaks would occur. So with these factors in mind, it should be clear why gravity fed systems are the only ones suitable for the addition of a pump to improve shower performance.

Weighing the Options

If you have a gravity-fed system, with a water tank in the loft supplying your shower, then a pump could be a sensible investment. But to properly compare pumps, you will need to know a little more about how they differ from one another.

The key factors to consider are flow rate and pressure. Most pumps will be sold based upon both elements, with flow rate expressed in litres per minute and the pressure indicated in ‘bar’. In general, you should not get carried away solely by the advertised pressure rating, since flow rate is arguably more important and indicates that a pump can output a considerable volume of water in a short time frame.

The type of fittings through which the water is ultimately delivered will also affect pump performance. Handsets with hundreds of tiny pinprick holes create their own back pressure, akin to putting your finger over the end of a hose in the garden and turning a gentle cascade into a jet.

In contrast, shower heads that are designed to create a deluge via a smaller number of larger apertures cannot hope to deliver the same pressure benefits. All of which means that the pump ratings provided by manufacturers need to be considered in the context of these other contributors to overall performance.

Additional Calculations

With gravity-fed systems, there is clearly a finite limit to the capacity of the tank which supplies the shower with water. The pressure and flow rate of the pump, in combination with the type of shower head or handset to which it is connected, will determine the length of time it takes for the tank to empty.

As a result, it is necessary to do some calculations and to find out the capacity of the tank itself before you make a final decision. Powerful pumps will use the available water in a shorter period of time and for larger households with several people needing to use the shower each morning, this may become an issue.

You can search for shower pumps (http://www.anchorpumps.com/pump-type/shower) of all types on our site, allowing you to improve your shower experience with ease.

How to Reduce Water Pressure in the Home

How to Reduce Water Pressure in the Home

From installing a pressure reducing valve to contacting your water supplier, there are a number of ways in which you can reduce the water pressure in your home. While some deem high pressure water as an advantage, it can be costly and may lead to damage to your home and appliances. If you are concerned about the pressure of the water in your home, this guide will help you to identify some of the potential problems.

Pressure reducing valve: decreasing water pressure

If you find that the increased water pressure in your home is causing you some concern, you can reduce the flow by slowly turning down the internal stop tap. The pressure and flow will be reduced as the flow of water is decreased by creating a reduced downstream from the stop tap. Alternative methods can be found by installing a pressure reducing valve to protect the pipework in your home.

Should you find that damage is being caused inside your property, e.g. to your appliances, you can isolate the supply of water through your external or internal stop tap. For emergencies, contact your water supplier.

Identifying the cause of high water pressure

Suddenly developing high water pressure is rare but if it does happen in your home it could be due to the water supply that runs to your property. Increased pressure will be identified when you see an excessively strong flow of water from your cold water tap. You may also notice that some things in your home are leaking, toilet cisterns over-fill occasionally during the night or intermittent leaks appear.

The causes of this could simply be geographical, with the water pressure in the new area to which you’ve moved being higher than that you are accustomed to. Or, it could be because work is being carried out in a nearby area, which has caused air to get into the pipes. When the air gets trapped it can increase the pressure of the water but this will only be temporary.

Identifying why you have noisy pipes

If you start to hear noises in your pipes, there are a number of possibilities as to why these are occurring. Firstly, air may have got into the pipes, you could have a faulty tap or it may be down to loose pipework. All of these symptoms can create the juddering, banging noises in your pipes that you may have noticed.

If you’ve developed a leak in one of your pipes, this could sound like a rushing noise, which is probably more prominent during the night. The majority of noises in pipes arise from internal problems and a plumber should be contacted if you are concerned.

Locating your external stop tap

An external stop tap will normally be located on the boundary of your property and can be accessed if you have any immediate issues with your water supply. However, the majority of new properties will also have an internal stop tap to isolate individual water supplies.

If you are on a water meter, the stop tap will usually be located with your meter and will normally be a brass tap or a square plastic head, which will need to be turned 90-degrees to switch off the water supply. An older meter may have a separate stop tap, which will normally be brass.

Identifying why you have low-pressure water

Finding that your property has low water pressure could be down to a number of factors. The elevation above sea level of your property in relation to the local reservoir and water mains could be the reason as this will decrease the pressure in your home if the supply must be pumped uphill. Pipe conditions, shared water supplies and peak times of demand are other reasons why you may experience lower water pressure.

If lowered water pressure has suddenly occurred, you may need to check your stop tap to make sure that it is open fully. If you can, you can also check the external stop tap to see if this is opened fully too, but you should only do this if it is safe to do so.

Should you have any concerns about the water supply to your home, you should contact your water supplier immediately to discuss your concerns. We also offer a range of helpful guides that may help you to solve the problem in your home, including our article: “What causes Water Hammer & how to eliminate it”.

How to increase water pressure in your garden

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Many people look at how to increase water pressure inside the home, yet outside in the garden warrants just as much consideration. When plants and flowers need watering, grass needs sprinkling or pools and ponds need filling and keeping clean, having adequate water pressure is vital to ensure the job gets done quickly and efficiently. Here’s what you need to know.

How to increase water pressure outside

If your outside water pressure is low, it can prove a cumbersome and time-consuming task to water your garden or fill your pool on a sunny day. In some cases, your water pressure may not be forceful enough to allow your hose to reach the parts of the garden that are furthest away. Fortunately, there is no need to put up with low water pressure outside.

As a first step, complete a few simple checks to see if there is anything you can easily remedy to boost the pressure. See if there is any pattern to the low water pressure. Does it happen all the time, or at certain times of the day?

If you are using water outside at peak times of the day, this may affect water pressure. Mornings and evenings, for example, are more likely to result in low water pressure when demand for water is at its greatest. Experiment to see if watering outside at different times of the day influences the pressure.

Check your hose

In many cases, outside water pressure can be influenced by something as simple as your hose. Check that there are no leaks or worn parts in your hose. A new hose, or making repairs to your existing hose, may be all that is needed to solve the problem.

If your hose appears in good working order, perhaps the attachment on the end could do with replacing. If it is old, or not providing you with adequate water pressure, a high-pressure spray attachment could make all the difference.

Make sure that the hose is correctly attached to the spigot. There shouldn’t be any water leaking from the spigot. A corroded or damaged spigot may also reduce the efficiency of your hose, so if this is the case, consider getting a new one fitted.

Other checks

It may seem obvious, but not turning the main water valve on fully is a common mistake that people make which can cause low water pressure outside. Locate yours and check that it is fully open.

Locate your water pressure regulator to see if this can be adjusted, to increase water flow. This can often be found in the same location as you main stopcock. Identify what the pressure rating is (PSI) and whether there is capacity for this to be altered.

In many cases, calling out a plumber may be necessary in order to increase water pressure in your garden. This is especially the case if you want to make any adjustments to your pressure regulator. A plumber may also be able to offer suggestions, and diagnose potential issues that may be affecting your water supply.

Pressure booster pumps

If your water pressure outside has not improved after making these checks, you will need to take further action. For reliability, convenience and efficiency, a booster pump may be required. This can solve your low water pressure problems and may prove an invaluable long-term solution.

There are a wide variety of outdoor water pumps that can be used for different applications. A sprinkler pump, for example, is useful for ensuring that water effectively reaches all grassy areas. It can be beneficial for gardens of any size, as well as recreation parks or hotel grounds.

With improved water pressure, an outside pool can be filled more rapidly. Once filled, products such as Intex pool pumps, which also have the benefit of including a filter, can be used to circulate the water and keep it clean. For ponds or large water features, circulator pumps will maintain adequate water flow and keep it clean.

Installing a pump may be far easier and more cost-effective than you imagined. There are many different types of outdoor water pumps to suit your specific application. Contact Anchor Pumps to discover how water pressure can be boosted in your garden.

Cheap ways to make your home more energy efficient

energy efficient

If you’re keen to create a more energy efficient home, the good news is that it’s perfectly possible to do so without spending a fortune. Some strategies require no outlay at all, and others are even supported by government subsidies. We take a look at some of the most popular.

Home insulation

This is one of the most important measures you can take and good insulation does make a huge difference to your home, keeping out the heat in summer and keeping it in in winter. Without good insulation, the energy you put into your air conditioning and central heating will just disappear into the ether and will cost you money, whilst damaging the environment. You can bring in an expert to install insulation for you, or get down to your local DIY store for the necessary kit and a tutorial.

Double glazed windows

Double glazing can be costly initially, but it is also a fantastic long-term investment for your home and one that should add value to it whilst keeping in the warmth. You’ll immediately notice the difference in terms of your energy insulation and efficiency when you install double glazed windows. They also look good and are far more secure than older single glazed varieties. And you’ll save money in the longer term through the efficiency savings.

Energy efficient lightbulbs

Old glass bulbs are now unavailable for sale and the technologies available for ‘greener’ lighting evolve all the time. Look for CFLs, or compact fluorescent bulbs, which last for up to twelve times as long as old fashioned incandescent bulbs. These save a great deal of energy, and money.

Energy efficient appliances

Look for replacement appliances which bear the HE logo and which are highly rated when it comes to energy efficiency. Whether you are upgrading your shower to one of the Grundfos Go or Grundfos Magna Pumps, or looking to replace your inefficient old tumble dryer with a newer and greener model, you’ll find plenty of options available with clear information about how the European energy standards work. Some cost a little more initially, but they’ll recoup the higher outlay through cost savings, whilst reducing your carbon footprint.

Be mindful of your energy usage

One easy way to reduce energy consumption at home is to be more careful in the way that you use it. Switch off lights, and put on a jumper before you switch the heating on. Keep thermostats switched down a notch and don’t leave things on standby, or phone chargers plugged into the wall when they are not being used. Another great tip is to limit the amount of time you spend in the shower – pop a timer in and cut it down to a couple of minutes. Put a waver saver into the toilet if you don’t already have an energy saving flush built in – your utility company can often provide one free of charge.

Schedule an energy usage audit

There are various services – usually non-profit – which will audit your home for energy efficiency and give you ideas as to how you can live more greenly. Look online too for ideas and if your utility firm offers a smart meter option then take them up on it. If you have children then this can be a great way to get them involved. Kids are naturally interested in environmental issues and usually have some great ideas.

Consider a composter

An easy way to reduce waste at home is to invest in a composter for the garden, so that your old food waste can be put to good use. Contact your local council as they often offer free or subsidised composters as part of their energy saving initiatives. You can also use eggshells to protect your plants from invaders and rolled up newspaper makes great seedling trays.

Get creative and go online for ideas as to how to reduce, reuse and recycle in your home. A water butt is also a worthwhile investment from a similar perspective – rainwater makes for better plant watering than chlorinated tap water and saves you money too.

For larger investments

Look at renewable energy investments for the home; a biomass boiler such as a wood burning stove for example or a solar energy panel or two on a south facing roof. Government subsidies are still available for energy generation so it’s worth contacting an installer to find out what options are available, and at what investment levels.

Good luck with your domestic energy challenge!