How to choose a shower?

I'm no DIY expert and no next to nothing about showers. But I want to order a new one added to the bath for my 84-year old mother-in-law, and I'd appreciate some advice on choosing it please. It needs to be as simple as humanly possible, and easy to operate with arthritic hands.
The warden of her sheltered housing told me that she herself was very pleased with her recently-fitted one, a Triton (model unknown). "You just press one button and it comes on at the right setting." That sounds just the job. Calling the agent who arranged it got me the additional information that you just preset a control, and thereafter a simple button press is all that's needed. (He was a bit vague about type - Triton T90?).
All the suppliers' web pages I've seen so far seem to assume you already know what *type* you want (manual, mixer, power, mixer/thermostatic, pressure bar, etc, etc). Can someone give me a quick summary of the types, or point me to a tutorial, and advise how I would go about narrowing down what seems a bewildering choice please?
Thanks.
--
Terry, West Sussex, UK


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Basically the type you need depends on the type of water system you have. References to "mains" means any high pressure, high flow supply system. A mains hot system would be a combi boiler, heat bank, unvented cylinder, or remotely pumped system.
1. If you only have mains cold available:
Electric shower.
2. If you only have gravity cold available:
Pumped electric shower (not straight power shower, which only pumps, but doesn't heat)
3. If you have mains cold + hot available:
Thermostatic mixer shower.
4. If you have gravity hot + cold available:
a) Thermostatic power shower b) Thermostatic mixer shower + external twin impellor pump
5. If you have mains cold and gravity hot available:
a) Venturi thermostatic mixer shower. b) Thermostatic pressure balanced mixer shower + external single impellor pump on hot.
All these types are available with preset temperature with scald protection, although these essential features must be checked for. The thermostatic mixers will have a tap like mechanical control to turn on/off and adjust flow. You can almost certainly obtain versions with handles suitable for reduced mobility, although the range may be limited.
Christian.
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Many thanks, Christian, that's very useful - much appreciated.
She has a gas boiler for CH and hot water. And I'm pretty sure the present taps are just gravity fed, although I'll have to check that.
--
Terry, West Sussex, UK


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<snip>
<snip>
4b - You really don't need a thermostatic mixer with a twin pumped system where you are unlikeley to run the hot water out. You *may* have to readjust once as colder cold water comes down from the loft but the temperature is not affected by other draw offs. And it's a lot cheaper to get a non-thermostatic one (and there's less to go wrong). Genuine exchange follows:
Man in specialist bathroom shop: "...so that's a decent pump and I can do you a nice thermostatic mixer for £xxx..."
Me: " But I don't need a thermostatic mixer with a pump"
MISBS: "Well no, but it was worth a try".
I would recommend a single lever nixer. They have plastic stops so you can't push too far towards hot.
--
Bob Mannix
(anti-spam is as easy as 1-2-3 - not)
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They are highly recommended for use in care/elderly situations, as they provide scald resistance and temperature limiting. The OP also has a requirement that the temperature can be set and forgotten without the constant fiddling required with a non-thermostatic type. I have had mains pressure and pumped gravity showers and much prefer a thermostatic type for both.
Christian.
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Does a 'thermostatic mixer' type allow you to direct the water to either the bath or the shower head? Does it require mains electricity (which would make her VERY nervous)? Do Triton supply this type? Any specific model code(s) anyone can offer please? That would allow me to google for a picture and maybe details of how they work - which still remains a mystery to me.
--
Terry, West Sussex, UK


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Normally, they are shower only. However, you can get thermostatic bath tap/shower mixers too. Generally, they look similar to traditional types, but one knob controls temperature (often with a removable high temp limit to prevent scalding) and the other knob controls flow.
Example:
http://www.screwfix.com/app/sfd/cat/pro.jsp?id 236&tsE944 (Screwfix 17236)
Straight thermostatic shower mixers generally come in two shapes. You get bar types and circular types.
http://www.screwfix.com/app/sfd/cat/pro.jsp?id !764&tsF039 (Screwfix 21764) http://www.screwfix.com/app/sfd/cat/pro.jsp?tsF397&id 482 (Screwfix 20482)
Another alternative is to use a concealed TMV3 valve that does the thermostatic mixing and just have a simple tap to allow water to the shower head. This provides no temperature adjustment to the shower user, but ensures that high temperatures can't be accidentally selected. Such a system would be common in a care environment.
http://www.screwfix.com/app/sfd/cat/pro.jsp?tsF156&id 024 (Screwfix 12024)

No. This is one of its advantages. The pump obviously needs electricity, but can be sited remotely near the hot water cylinder and isn't a danger.
Christian.
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shower
system
Using a concealed TMV3 valve and a cheaper unthermostatic mixer is the best option. The hot water is always at a set temperature and you can add cold to suit to trim off the temperature.
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Thanks - I rather think that miight be the preference, for safety. But what happens if the hot water supply is inadequate, perhaps because in a misguided attempt to minimise the gas bill she didn't turn the boiler on early enough? Is the thermostat a bi-metallic strip (similar to older room central heating thermostats), which would be clever enough to accommodate by reducing the cold flow? Or will it just get cold once the available tank water falls below the set temperature?
--
Terry, West Sussex, UK


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Control of your family is a separate matter.

It is wax. These valves are to be mandatory in new installations and renovations on the hot draw-off to all outlets.

That it will do.
It mixes hot water from the cylinder with cold water water to attain the desired setpoint. You can have this valve do the whole house. Have this set at about 55C, and add cold to suit at the TMV3 mixer of a whole house valve. To avoid influence from other outlets you could have a dedicated TMV3 mixer for the shower and have it set to 45-47C and add cold at the shower mixer to suit.
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Excellent, thanks very much!
--
Terry, West Sussex, UK


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Redring have recently released a model the selectronic specifically aimed at the senior citizen, disabled and blind market. http://www.applied-energy.com/redring/index.php?model=Selectronic

T90Si Thermostatic that would be. Pumped and un-pumped models. Only if your mains pressure is too low should you use pumped.

--
Z
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Thanks. I like the idea of touch-control, but fear the fact that it's digital and requres two controls and some understanding (memory) of the 3 LEDs might be too much for her. (Just bought her a microwave, but it *had* to be a plain manual type, even though fairly hard to turn the timer knob and open/close the door.)
BTW, I expect it's very expensive? Couldn't see a pric ementioned, which always makes me cynical <g>.
--
Terry, West Sussex, UK


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A Wholesaler quoted me 236 and VAT on top of that but they would have had to order it in themselves. It wasn't a wholesaler I deal with frequently. I don't know the price the shower would be sold to the public at to compare that price to.
--
Z
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