Shower Pumps

Common shower pump problems & solutions

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.

Basic Checks

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.

Head Scratcher

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.

Tips for cleaning your shower head

A shower pump is a popular upgrade to many homes, allowing you to have a satisfactory shower even if the water pressure in the property wouldn’t otherwise allow it.

Tips for cleaning your shower head

Shower pumps are generally very reliable and require little in the way of maintenance. However, some regular attention and cleaning can make sure that your pump has a long working life.

Pumps usually have a reservoir which can be removed for cleaning. This is easy to do just by removing a screw and detaching the reservoir – though take care, as there may be some water in it. Every year or so the pump should be flushed using an anti-bacterial solution to avoid a build-up of sludge.

The filters in shower pumps can become clogged with limescale if you live in a hard-water area. To clean these, you’ll need to isolate the electrical supply to the pump and turn off the water valves either side of it. Filters are usually located behind the flexible connection pipes to the impellers. Check the manufacturer’s instructions if you’re unsure.

Your pump will last longer if you pay attention to the rest of the shower too. The shower head should be cleaned and descaled regularly – especially in hard-water areas – as this is a common cause of poor water flow. While you’re there, it’s also worth cleaning the drain from the shower tray to keep it free of hair and soap scum.

Poor flow may also be due to an airlock. You can cure this by turning off the electricity to the pump, then opening the shower mixer taps to allow any water out of the system before closing them again. To vent the pump directly, you’ll need to remove the connection pipes after first closing off all of the valves.

How to increase shower water pressure

Many houses suffer from low water pressure, and this can be frustrating when it comes to enjoying a great shower. Low pressure can be due to many reasons, from blocked or poorly designed pipework to low mains pressure. Ever wondered how to increase water pressure in your home? Check out our tips below…

how to increase water pressure

If you’re having problems with low shower pressure, then the Anchor range of home booster pumps might be  the answer, but there are some other things to check first. If it’s only the shower that’s the problem and water pressure in the rest of the house is sufficient, it could be due to a clogged system. If you’re in a hard-water area, deposits can collect in a shower system, particularly the head, causing a drop in water pressure. Cleaning or replacing the shower head may be a quick way to solve this problem.

A problem in many properties is the position of the shower relative to the cold-water header tank. In most British homes, bathrooms are fed with cold water via a tank in the loft. To perform well, a shower will generally need a difference of around a metre between the position of the shower head and the water level in the tank. A quick fix if you don’t have sufficient distance to give a good flow is to fit a low-pressure shower head.

A more permanent fix is to use a booster pump. The range of home booster pumps available at Anchor Pumps include pumps that can be used to increase pressure just to the shower, aswell as a range of pumps to improve water pressure to all outlets in the bathroom.

If you have low water pressure throughout your home, you might want to look at improving things by boosting the pressure of the water coming into the house. Depending on the design of your system, this may also require you to have a storage tank. 

For more questions regarding your water pressure, and to help you find the
best pump for your home, CALL: 0800 112 3134

Positive & Negative Shower Pumps Explained

If you are installing a shower or replacing one, there are so many things to consider. You’ll need to know about the flow of your water as well as which floor you are putting the shower in.  As well as deciding on the type of shower which suits you, you also need to think about the pump.

shower pumps explained

You don’t want shower pumps which are too noisy for a start. You also need to know whether to buy positive or negative shower pumps. This will depend on where your cistern or water tank is in your house. Although this may sound complicated, it is pretty straightforward.

Just think about where in the house your shower is – is it on the top floor or ground floor? You then need to know where it is in relation to your water tank or cistern.

You will need a positive shower pump if the bathroom and showers are on floors below the water tank – that is, your cold water tank is in the attic or if the cold water tank is above the shower head if you live in a single-storey flat or bungalow.

A positive pump needs a flow rate of at least 0.6 litres a minute and relies on gravity to start the impellers to pump hot and cold water. This type of pump must also be at least 50cm from the cistern.

A negative shower head pump works by sucking water from the tank to the shower and is the best choice for when the shower head is at the same level or higher than the water tank. This can be used in loft conversions, for example.

It is possible for a house to need both types of shower pumps, depending on where the showers are located – ground floor or top floor – and where the water tank is kept.

The tank position to the shower head does suggest the variety of pump that’s needed (positive or negative) however this is a general rule and as a general rule there are always exceptions. For example the shower type is important, generally an electric shower won’t work with a pump or a steam shower will need negative pump where a positive would usually work. If you are unsure on which pump is best for you, please contact our sales team.

Shop the full range of shower pumps online today at Anchor Pumps

5 Steps to installing a shower pump

Nothing beats an invigorating shower to relax aching muscles and help you to unwind. Unfortunately, many homes just don’t have sufficient water pressure for a decent shower. If this is your problem, don’t despair, why not try installing a shower pump to boost your water pressure to a strong level for the perfect shower.

installing a shower pump

Choose Your Pump
In order to get the most out of your shower, you need to select the right shower pump from the wide range available. Do you need a shower pump for a negative head system or a positive head system? A twin shower or a single shower pump? Unfortunately, it is never a case of one size fits all. Take your time to find out what type of pump will suit your needs best. Read our guide to choosing the best shower pump here. 

Check Your Water Pressure
Shower pumps operate at different pressure levels. Before you install your shower, work out if there is enough pressure available from your water tank to operate the shower pump when it is turned on. If there is not, you will need a negative head system. If there is, you need a positive head system, which generally requires a minimum inlet pressure of 0.2 bar.

Position Your Pump
It is best if you can place your shower pump close to the hot and cold water storage tanks. At the same time, however, shower pumps must also be easily accessible for maintenance.

Fix the Pipework
Having selected and positioned your pump, you will then need to plumb it in. Flush all pipework through to remove any debris first of all. Shower pumps are usually supplied with cold and hot water feed pipes that lead from the pump to the cold and hot water storage tanks. Once you have fitted these pipes, connect the pipe that leads to the electricity supply.

Prime the Pump and Plumbing
Before you can use your shower, you will need to prime the pump and connecting pipework. Switch the supply of electricity off, and run a bucket of water through the hot and cold water feed pipes and the pump. Keep pouring water until it runs out clear.

Anchor Pumps supply many all of the leading brands of shower pumps, such as Grundfos and Stuart Turner pumps.