Shower pumps are a common feature in many homes, allowing you to get a good water flow at the shower head even if the normal water pressure in the house wouldn’t allow it. However, shower pump problems can often occur too. Here are some of the most common issues and how to deal with them.
If your pump isn’t working at all, check that the power to it is turned on and check that it hasn’t tripped out – due to running dry, for example. Next check that none of the inlet or outlet pipes are kinked or blocked and stopping water from getting through. Try resetting the pump by switching off the power for a few seconds.
Pump Up the Volume
One of the most complained-about shower pump problems is noise. Often this is due to the way the pump is installed. It’s important to ensure that anti-vibration feet are fitted, where supplied, and that the pump is on a firm platform. Any pipework on either side of the pump needs to be properly supported by clips and bends in flexible hoses kept to a minimum.
Feel the Pulse
If the pump pulses when it’s running, this is usually due to some form of blockage. It could be limescale in the shower head or a collapsed hose causing back pressure at the pump. You can check this by removing the head and then the hose in turn to see if the pump then runs smoothly. It it still doesn’t, then check any filters on the pump itself.
Go with the Flow
You might think that of the shower pump problems to have, too much flow would be one of the better ones, but it can lead to your wasting water and using stored hot water faster. The best way to tackle this is to close the isolator valves on the outlet side of the pump down slightly – don’t restrict the flow on the inlet side of the pump.
You’ll often hear shower pumps referred to as positive or negative head, but what does this actually mean? It’s all to do with where the water that enters the pump comes from. If it’s fed from a header tank that’s above the shower, then it will be positive head.
If the shower is above the header tank level, then you’ll need a negative head shower pump, although many modern pumps are capable of working in both sets of conditions.
What a Waste
Mostly, we think of shower pumps as supplying the water feeding the shower. Depending on where it’s located, however, it’s possible you may have a shower waste pump too. Products like the Saniflo shower can be used to permit a shower to be installed in locations – basements, for example – where normal gravity-flow drainage for the waste pipe isn’t possible.
Running on Empty
Most pumps have dry run protection, which cuts in to protect them from damage if the water supply is interrupted. If this protection kicks in, the pump will stop. You need to turn off the mains power to the pump – there will usually be an isolator switch or fused spur – for a few seconds to reset the pump. You then need to open and close the taps to get any air out of the system and allow the pump to return to its normal state.
In a Jam
If your pump makes a constant humming noise, it may well be that it’s jammed. There are a number of possible reasons for this. In hard water areas it could have become clogged with limescale, or the problem could be due to a fault like a broken impeller. In either event, this is probably a sign that you’ll need to replace the pump.