How to Identify Your Home's Water System (And Pick the Right Shower for It)

By George

29th Jan 2020

6 mins read

DIY & Technical

Tired of weak showers? Your bathroom's inefficient shower and its shower head could be working against you.

How to Identify Your Home's Water System (And Pick the Right Shower for It)

With water pressures across the country being…let’s say best, it’s essential that you choose the right showering products to complement your home’s system.

If you’re a longtime sufferer of pressure problems, you’ll be thrilled to find out that even homes with substandard flow rates can be made more effective if you choose wisely.

To help out, we’ve put together this quick ‘how-to’ guide to help you figure out which system your home has, as well as recommend specific products to complement it.

Domestic Hot Water Systems Explained

Before you even consider choosing a shower, the most important thing you must do is find out what kind of domestic hot water system your home uses. This, in turn, will help you figure out if the shower you are currently using is ill-suited to your situation.

In UK homes, there are four common types of plumbing systems; combination, gravity-fed, pump assisted, and mains high pressure. We’ve listed their key features below, with diagrams to help you determine which system you have in your own home:

Gravity Fed Systems

A gravity fed system diagram.
Gravity fed systems are commonly found in older homes and are likely to provide low water pressure.
  • Hot water is provided by a large hot water cylinder in your home.
  • No shower pump will be installed.
  • Your home will likely have low pressure of around 0.2Bar.

Combination Boiler Systems

A combination boiler system.
Combination boilers heat water directly from the mains, providing hot water on demand and powering your home's central heating.
  • A combination boiler provides your home with hot water on demand.
  • Your home won’t have any storage tanks.
  • No shower pump will be installed.
  • Your home should have medium pressure, between 1Bar and 5Bar.

Pump Assisted Systems

A pump assisted water system.
Pump assisted water systems make use of a booster pump to make showers more exhilarating.
  • Simply put, these are gravity fed systems with a booster pump installed.
  • If you listen carefully, you may be able to hear your shower pump when your shower is in use.
  • Booster pumps are available in “Positive Head”, “Negative Head” and “Universal Head” models.
  • Positive Head pumps are suitable for most situations in which your shower is positioned below your cold water storage tank.
  • Negative Head pumps are for situations in which your shower is positioned above the cold water storage tank (i.e. for loft conversions).
  • Universal Head pumps work in both of the conditions mentioned above.
  • A pump assisted system is likely to provide high water pressure, from 1.5Bar to 3Bar plus.

Mains High Pressure Systems

A mains high pressure water system.
You’re unlikely to experience poor pressure if you’re lucky enough to have a mains high pressure system.
  • With a mains high pressure system, your home won’t have a cold water storage tank in the loft.
  • Your home will have stored hot water (usually in a large cylinder in an airing cupboard), and a small kitchen cupboard sized boiler.
  • If your home uses a mains high pressure system, expect pressures of between 1.5Bar and 3Bar.


Selecting the Right Shower for Your System

Now here comes the fun bit! Once you’re certain about which water system your home has its time to start shopping for a shower. To give you a helping hand, we’ve selected a few of our favourite options for each system:

For Combination Boiler Systems: The hansgrohe Crometta Vario Thermostatic Shower System

With its sleek, minimalist design and trusted hansgrohe quality, the Crometta Vario Thermostatic Shower System ticks all the boxes when it comes to modern showers. Its functionality, however, is where it really shines.

Designed to be remarkably efficient and with a recommended operating pressure of between 1Bar and 5Bar, it’ll work flawlessly with your home’s combi boiler.

For Pump Assisted Systems: The hansgrohe Croma Select S EcoSmart 180 Shower System

Boasting an on-trend overhead rain shower as well as a versatile handset, the Croma Select S Shower System is one of hansgrohe’s most impressive and comprehensive showers. Additional features include EcoSmart tech; a hansgrohe innovation that saves water and energy by keeping flow low without impacting your shower experience. This model can reduce water consumption by 44%, without making things any less invigorating.

Higher pressures are the Croma’s forte. To make the most out of what a pump assisted system can provide, the Croma Shower System can be used with impressive pressures of up to 5Bar for truly revitalising daily use. With a plethora of settings to choose from and QuickClean nubs to help keep things looking smart, this Shower System is an assured choice for any stylish contemporary bathroom.

For Mains High Pressure Systems: The hansgrohe Crometta E Showerpipe 240 Thermostatic Shower Mixer

Another stunning hansgrohe shower system, the Crometta E Showerpipe 240 boasts a generously sized overhead shower perfect for providing invigorating experiences on mains high pressure systems. Its luxurious flow rate of 15 l/m at 3Bar is great for those energising morning showers.

The eye-catching shower system also features a handset, giving you precise control over the direction of your spray. We’re particularly fond of the system’s override button at 40 °C ; your installer can even set a maximum temperature limitation for additional safety.

Showers for Gravity Fed Systems?

Struggling with the poor water pressure of your gravity fed shower? While a shower pump may be in order, it is worth trying a more efficient shower head first. The ultra-modern Crometta S Overhead shower 240 1 Jet LowPressure Shower Head needs just 0.2Bar and requires up to 60% less water than conventional products.

Still Unsure of Your Home’s Water System?

Before you buy a new shower, we think it’s essential that you are certain of what kind of water system your home has. So, if you’re even the slightest bit unsure, contact a qualified plumber for an assessment prior to installation to ensure that you select a showering solution to match your system.

Enjoyed our guide to picking the right shower for your system? In need of more inspiration? Check out our style guide on Rainfall Showers, here.



George is one of our interior experts. He loves to write about the latest bathroom trends and he's a dab hand with bathroom DIY too.

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