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The modern shower dates back to 1767 when William Feetham patented his shower invention. There are now many different types of showers with around 90% of all UK bathrooms having a shower installed. However, very few UK bathrooms actually have a ‘digital’ shower. Although the digital shower is a modern innovation (introduced around 2002) it can, of course, be styled in a traditional way, or at least the shower controls, wall/ceiling rose and ‘telephone’ handset & hose can be given a classic makeover.
What are the benefits of a digital shower?
The main innovation with the digital shower over an electric shower is the precise control over water temperature. Hot and cold water flow into the shower’s processing unit and this is mixed together to get the desired temperature. This can be absolutely precise – for example, 41 degrees is a common factory setting for the temperature although this can be raised or lowered as required. There are often useful adjustments that can be performed on digital shower systems such as an eco mode that reduces water-flow allowing for water and energy savings.
The other big plus with the digital shower is that you can completely avoid having hot or cold spikes in temperature, often the result of another tap being switched on or off in the household. The shower works in a similar way to a mixer shower but controls the temperature using a digital thermostat called a ‘thermistor’. With the Burlington shower range the thermistor checks the temperature 10 times every second so that the water temperature will stay exactly the same. There are also built in safety features so that if the water supply is cut-off the shower will automatically shut down.
Yet another useful feature of digital showers is that the shower controls are kept completely separate from the water in the valve, which means they always stay cool and remain safe to touch.
Digital showers can look fantastic, either with classic styling or alternatively ultra modern with touchscreen displays or colour-coded lighting systems that let you know the temperature of the water. You can even buy a digital shower with wireless or Bluetooth connectivity so the control unit can be up to 10 metres away, which means you can switch it on and get the water up to temperature from any point within the bathroom (or even outside). Rather strangely some models can even be controlled via your mobile phone – not too sure why this is needed but some people take their mobile phones everywhere!
Digital shower installation
You can use a digital shower with either a high or low water pressure system (ie mains pressure or a cold water tank), although the low pressure control unit tends to cost between 10% to 20% more.
One thing which will slightly offset the higher cost of a digital shower over a plain ‘electric’ shower is that the installation can be straightforward – the showers usually have push-fit isolation valves, standard electrical plug fittings and easy to set up cable connections. You can often avoid having to remove tiles if the processor box can be hidden out of sight rather than being installed in the shower enclosure – the water flowing to the shower head and control unit via a riser rail rather than having to channel pipes into the wall and damage tiling.
Are there any downsides to a digital shower?
Not really! If you don’t like new technology you’ll probably say there are more things that can go wrong with a digital shower than than a hose connected to your hot and cold bath taps! The only real downside is that they are more expensive than an electric shower although they have of course many more benefits. If you are very thrifty you can buy an electric shower for under £50 whereas the starting point for a digital shower will be around £250.
For a premium quality, classsically styled digital shower with the controls, processor, traditional trim kit, slide rail, vertical arm, telephone handset & hose, prices start around £600. Old Fashioned Bathrooms have a superb range of 1910 style shower sets and component – view them all here or visit their showroom in Mickfield, Suffolk.