Installing a shower pump is one of the most common and cost-effective ways to improve shower performance in a home. However, problems occurring during installation can reduce the product’s lifespan and cause problems further down the line. Ken Vance, Training Manager at Salamander Pumps, advises on how to avoid five common pitfalls during the installation process.
- CARRY OUT SOLDERING BEFORE INSTALLING THE PUMP
During the soldering process, flux can cause damage to a shower pump. Flux residue on the pump or the hose reacts with moisture in the air, having a corrosive effect on the pump. Gradually this can cause pin-prick holes and cracks in the product, resulting in water leaks.
It’s important not to attempt to protect the pump and its hoses during the sweating process simply by covering it with some form of material, as this can be ineffective due to the spitting of the flux. In fact, to ensure the flux avoids all contact with the pump and its hoses, the best method is to ensure all solder joints are completed and flux residues removed prior to the pump connection.
To do this, ensure all fittings are in the correct place and ready to be soldered, before then removing the pump and hoses, placing them a distance away while the soldering is completed. Only after this phase is finished should the pump then be re-introduced to the fitting and secured into place.
- FIT AN APPROPRIATE HOT WATER CONNECTION
It’s vital to use the correct hot water connection, such as a flange, during shower pump installations to reduce the amount of air entering the pump from the hot water cylinder. This is because having an aerated supply of water to a pump, showers and other outlets can cause a whole host of problems, including unnecessary, and perhaps sudden, fluctuations in temperature, increased noise levels, accelerated degrading of the pump’s internal workings and cavitation, which can lead to an eventual leak and a premature breakdown of the pump.
Fitting a flange will reduce the amount of aerated water entering the pump and is a requirement for some pump installations. There are various flanges available for a shower pump installation, including a Surrey Flange (such as Salamander ‘S’ Flange), a Warix Flange, and a Non-Stop Essex Flange. Therefore, it’s important to check the fitting guide ahead of installation to ensure an appropriate flange is installed.
The Surrey and Warix flanges are both top entry flanges, meaning that they screw onto the hot draw off connection on the dome of standard type hot water cylinder.
In comparison, the Non-Stop Essex flange is a side entry flange, which requires drilling into the side of the cylinder. This flange is best for when a pump needs to be situated above the hot water cylinder.
Salamander’s CT range of regenerative pumps do not necessarily need a flange to be fitted, this is due to the robust regenerative impeller used to boost water pressure. Provided the pump is installed at the base of the hot water cylinder, and the cold-water tank is stored in the loft, they can be teed from the first tee on the downward hot water leg.
- DON’T BEND HOSES MORE THAN 30-35 DEGREES
Due to the noise-reducing, anti-vibration design of Salamander’s hoses, it’s important that the hoses are not bent more than 30-35 degrees during installation, if at all.
Bending, twisting, or placing excess strain on the hose can cause problems with the water flow, causing the pump to run dry, water starvation and cavitation, which will potentially cause excess air to run through the pump. Air can cause a range of issues for the pump, so it is crucial that the hose is fitted as straight as is possible.
- ENSURE THE THERMOSTAT IS BELOW 65 DEGREES
On both directly and indirectly heated cylinders, it is essential that the water temperature is set to 65 degrees as temperatures in excess of this can cause damage to the pump end, including the seals and impeller.
In cylinders where the temperature is uncontrolled, such as an AGA, a blending valve must be installed to bring the water temperature down to 65 degrees. Although, it’s important to ensure that the valve has a low minimum operating pressure, to ensure it is not restrictive, such as the Salamander Pumps’ HWSTMV.
- ENSURE THE CORRECT AMOUNT OF COLD-WATER STORAGE
Installing a shower pump is an excellent solution for boosting the water performance so that the demand for water within the property can be met, but it is also important to ensure that the stored water capacity is enough to deliver the increased usage of water. If the stored water is not sufficient for the property the pump may run dry, which will cause damage to the shaft seals.
Usually 227 litres (50 gallons) of usable water per bathroom and 136 litres (30 gallons) per shower or en-suite will be enough to cover the property’s needs.