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Water Pressure Explained

Water pressure is quite a simple concept to grasp, but is so often overlooked when planning a brand new Kitchen/Bathroom. We are going to give you some handy tips on how to avoid buying the wrong item for your system, and point you in the direction of some items that not only look great, but will work best for your system. 


Whether it is a new shower, or a brand new tap - you need to know that you have the resources available to run it efficiently. There is nothing more frustrating than a slow tap, or a dribbling shower. So what are you looking for? Obviously it isn't just water pressure, but it is a massive factor for installation. Make sure you meet all the basic criteria before considering an item, i.e. enough space to fit the item, the correct connections and the correct application. Once your sure that the item's boxes are all ticked it's time to check your water pressure to make sure you have enough of it!

I'm not a plumber, how do I check my water pressure?

It's actually really simple. You do not need any special equipment, and there are a few tricks to work out your water pressure, which will be explained below with the different water systems that are available;

Low Pressure Gravity System

This is probably one of the most common systems in the UK, which is slowly being replaced with newer systems. It usually consists of a cold water tank in your loft, and then a further heating tank located somewhere else on the premises (most often in the airing cupboard). The higher that the tank is from the endpoint (i.e. your shower or tap) the more pressure that you will see. A very rough calculation is 0.1 bar for every meter above the endpoint the cold water tank is. So if the cold water tank in your loft is 3 meters above the kitchen tap, then you will see roughly 0.3 bar pressure. Obviously this can be lower, depending on the quality and age of the pipework that the water is running through. Older systems may see less pressure due to build up inside of the pipe over time.

If you have this system you can install a mixer, pumped digital or all-in-one power shower and you will have get ideal performance from these products. If you decide on a something with a higher pressure requirement due to design limitations on low pressure taps, fitting a pump will boost the flow rate & pressure even more.

Mains Pressure Unvented System

An unvented mains pressure system stores mains pressure water in a large strengthened hot water tank, usually found in the airing cupboard. The hot water will be heated either by immersion heaters fitted in the side of the hot water tank, or by a central heating boiler. This type of system does not require a cold water tank in your loft and provides a high water flow rate & pressure.

To make the best use of the flow & pressure of these systems we would recommend any tap on our store, as well as digital or mixer showers. Alternatively, for a more gentle flow rate you can reduce the flow, or purchase an Eco Shower or Tap.

Mains Pressure Combination Boiler

A combination boiler heats cold water direct from the cold mains supply as soon as you turn on the shower or a hot tap in your home. The boiler is normally wall mounted (commonly in a kitchen area) and you won't have a cold water tank in your loft or a hot water tank in your airing cupboard. Because the water supply to the system is mains fed this produces a forceful showering experience without any assistance from pressure tanks or pumps.

To make the best use of the flow & pressure of these systems we would recommend any tap on our store, as well as digital or mixer showers. Alternatively, for a more gentle flow rate you can reduce the flow, or purchase an Eco Shower or Tap.

Cold Mains Supply

If you do not have or want to use your stored hot water, an ideal solution is to fit an electric shower to the cold mains supply. The benefit of an electric shower is that it is always ready to use as the water is heated instantaneously within the shower. The amount of hot water flow produced by an electric shower depends on the power rating measured in kilowatts (kW). The higher the kW rating the better the flow.

Most mains water supplies will provide enough pressure to operate an electric shower. In the rare instances that it cannot then you can purchase a pumped electric shower, or even a separate shower pump to boost the pressure. This must be fitted to a cold water tank and the internal pump will then generate the pressure normally provided by the cold mains.