How to Install An Electric Shower

Before you get going with installing a new shower you need to do some planning. In fact, it's probably worth doing some research before you even buy an electric shower, to make sure that what you're buying is going to both fit into your bathroom and work with your electricity supply and plumbing. Once you've done that, you'll need to decide whether you're going to have it professionally installed, or whether you're going to do it yourself.

As experts in all things plumbing, we've put together this quick guide to help you get your head around installing your electric shower. We'll cover the plumbing and electrical requirements then give you a step-by-step walkthrough on actually installing your new shower.

What are the plumbing requirements when installing an electric shower?

The good news is that your plumbing requirements are pretty simple for an electric shower. You'll need:

  • Access to the mains cold water supply
  • A 15mm diameter water pipe

Yup, that's it! Obviously, this may be easier said than done. If you're replacing an existing electric shower, there's a good chance you'll have a pipe in place already. However, if it's a completely new shower, you may need to run a pipe from the water supply to the position you're putting the new electric shower.

You'll probably need to run this through the wall.

What are the electrical requirements when installing an electric shower?

The electrical requirements for your new electric shower may be a little more complicated though. Installing electrical devices into your bathroom is tricky, as you need to make sure everything is properly insulated from the water.

The shower you choose may affect the cables you need, but it's usually best to opt for a 10sq mm cable, even if that's bigger than you need, as it can save you from having to change it down the line. When you install your new electric cables, you'll have to connect them to a different fused supply circuit. Electric showers also require a ceiling-mounted pole switch so you can turn your shower off and on.

If you're starting from scratch, you may need to pass all your cables through a wall and connect them to your wider circuit. It's advisable to use an electrician.

A step by step guide to installing an electric shower

Once you've got your plumbing and electrical needs sorted, you just need to crack on with getting your new shower unit installed. There are a couple of things you need to do before you get going, and some of this depends on whether you're installing a unit from scratch or replacing one.

Start by:

  • Disconnecting any power supply to the existing shower, if you're replacing one.
  • Turning off the water supply to the shower, if you're replacing an old unit
  • If you're replacing a unit, remove the old one from the wall.
  • If you are installing a new one, make sure that any pipes you've installed don't contain water and that any electrical wires you've installed aren't live.

Now, it's time to install your new electric shower.

Step 1 - work out the shower unit position and mark the fixing holes

You've probably already worked out where it's going to be installed, but if not, now's the time to do so. Make sure your shower unit is going to fit, then hold it in place against your bathroom wall and mark where you need to add the fixing holes. Ensure that the pipe and electrical supply are in the correct places for your unit.

Now you've done this you just need to drill the holes. We'd recommend a masonry bit, but if you're drilling into a tiled wall you may need a tile bit. Make sure you drill your holes to fit the screws and wall plugs you're going to need.

Push your wall plugs into the hole and apply silicone sealant.

Step 2 - fix the casing to the wall

Simply feed the pipe and the electric cable through the correct holes in the casing of your shower unit. Now you'll be able to screw it into your wall plugs. Make sure it's nice and tight. Your shower should come with its own screws, but this may not always be the case.

Step 3 - Connect the inlet pipe

There will be a pipe connection in your unit. Just attach your water inlet pipe here using a pipe wrench.

Step 4 - Connect the electric cables to the terminals

You'll have 3 wires to connect; live, neutral and earth. Connect the live and neutral cores first. There'll be a terminal marked 'load' and they can screw into this. Now you just need to connect your earth cable to the earth terminal.

Bristan Electric Shower

Step 5 - Attach the cover

The process for this will vary depending on your shower, but there should be instructions with your electric shower unit. Just follow those!

Step 6 - Attach the rail, or the showerhead holder, to the wall

Now you just need to sort out how you're going to connect the showerhead itself to the wall. Most electric showers will come with a rail that allows you to adjust the height, but some may have a single fixed point.

Attach it, whether it's screws or other fixings so that your shower will be in the position you want it. At this stage, you'll want to make sure you don't let the head dangle less than 25mm from the spillover. If you do, you'll be recycling dirty water, and no one wants that.

Step 7 - Screw the hose onto the unit and the showerhead

Connect the hose to the unit first. At this point, you may want to make sure it's working before you attach the shower head. Once it is, just connect the head and you're good to go.

What to consider if you want your electric shower installed professionally

If all of this sounds a bit daunting, there's a good chance you're considering getting the professionals in to do it for you. Before you do this, here are a few things you need to consider:

  • Get a number of quotes - as with any work, it's always worth getting a number of quotes. Even if it's a relatively simple install, you could end up paying way over the odds if you're not careful.
  • Check their qualifications - it's not as simple as grabbing the first plumber you find. As they'll be doing plumbing and working with electricals, you'll need someone who is 'Part P qualified', which means they're able to do both. A Part P certified plumber or electrician is essential for this work.
  • Work out the size of the job - if you're simply replacing your existing unit with a new version it may be as simple as taking one down, screwing the other in place, attaching the power supply cable and the water supply pipe, without anything major changing.

Now you're good to go. Just pick the quote that works best for you and you can have someone come in and install your electric shower unit.

Find everything you need for your new electric shower at Plumbnation

Electric shower installation doesn't have to be difficult. At Plumbnation we offer an array of easy-to-install power showers that are perfect for your bathroom refurb, whether you're aiming to stay on trend or simply replacing an old unit.

If you're doing the whole thing yourself, then check out our guide on fitting a shower tray and changing your bathroom taps. We can help you get your head around all your bathroom and plumbing problems.