The History of the Shower and the Different Types of Showers Available
Bathing took a lot of time even during ancient time. Cleopatra had servants bring in vats of water to fill her tub, pour in some oil and perfume before she slips in the tub where she could spend an hour or so soaking. The ancient Romans were no different as they socialize as they bathe therefore making the bathing process last for hours. It is a good thing that showers were invented for a quick bath.
The waterfall is nature's "shower" and was speculated that it was the modern shower's origin. There were evidences that the ancient Greeks and Romans might have taken quick baths by having their servants pour water on them as they scrub and clean themselves.
The first commercial shower might have been the English Regency Shower manufactured in 1810. The shower was 12 feet tall with a round basin at the bottom for the bather to stand on. An overhead tank was placed to hold water. The idea didn't catch on as the overhead tank's water was cold. Soaking in warm bath was still the preference.
Progress and technology brought forth new inventions and one of them is the hot water system in our homes today. No more cold showers. Today, taking a shower is preferred than having a bath. The change in lifestyle is so much that a luxurious daily bath is a thing of the past. A quick shower in the morning before going to work or school and a quick shower before going to bed are all that we can afford.
Benefits of Showering
Taking a shower is safer for the elderly and disabled. There would be no need to step over a tub and be prone to slipping or sliding in the tub. Though there are tubs with doors that are especially designed for the elderly and disabled, taking a shower is still the easier way. You consume less time and less amount of water when showering. Less time and less water mean less heat and therefore more cost and energy efficient.
Choosing the Right Domestic Shower
There are many types of domestic showers available in the market. When choosing the best type of shower head, you have to take into consideration the size and shape of your bathroom. You also need to take into consideration the type of domestic hot water system that you have. Hot water for showering is either provided by stored hot water system or by a system of instantaneous heater that heats the cold water on demand. Generally speaking, there are only two types of showering systems.
- Mixer valve shower - one that uses the same water system that supplies the taps in the kitchen, utility, bathrooms and all other faucets in the house.
- Instantaneous electric shower - has a direct heating appliance connected to the shower system which heats the water by demand.
However, there are also two generic types of hot water systems.
- Hot water from an electric element or a separate boiler then stores in a cylindrical container
- Cold water heated on demand by an instantaneous boiler called a combination or multipoint type boiler.
About 50% of UK homes now use the combination or instantaneous water boilers. Taking into account the two types of hot water systems there are three general types of domestic showers.
1. Electric or Instantaneous Direct Acting Shower
2. Mains Pressure Shower
3. Gravity-fed Mixer Shower
Electric or Instantaneous Direct Acting Shower
This system can be used with any domestic water system. The requirement is to have cold water feed direct from the mains. A 15mm water pipe is required as supply and it is best if a gate valve is put in its run. An electrical line runs from the shower to a power source. It is best to have a qualified electrician do the installations. If you are a regular DIY-er, make sure you follow the wiring regulations, check and double check, to avoid accidents. It is mandatory for the electric shower to have its own circuit. Mains Pressure Shower
Basically, this is a system of domestic showers that is fed from a domestic heating system that feeds hot water instantaneously on demand to the shower head or nozzle. This is the most popularly used in modern UK homes as this is the latest system in plumbing installation. The combination or multipoint boiler heats water for the central heating and the domestic hot water on demand. There is no hot water storage cylinder or tank.
Gravity-fed Mixer Shower
This is a shower system that is fed from a stored hot water system. The hot water can only be supplied if there is pre-heated water in the storage tank. There are still a lot of homes in the UK that have hot water storage tanks (in the airing cupboard) with the cold water supplied to them from another water tank (in the attic) and then heated by a boiler. The most common problem for this set up is that the hot water has a lower pressure that the cold water. This problem is more apparent when using a shower for mixing the hot and cold water to get a suitable water temperature might prove difficult. The usual remedy for a mixer shower is to add a power shower to even out the hot and cold water pressures. These three are the main types of domestic showers. However there are in-betweens that are worth knowing. Under Mixer shower are: thermostatic mixer shower, power shower, and shower pump.
When considering what type of domestic shower to choose make sure you choose the one that is most suited to your domestic hot water system.