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Domestic Pressure Boosting

Categories: Resources, Tips, Articles
By on the 17 October 2016

Water companies in the UK are constantly under pressure from authorities to reduce their leakage figures. One of the key ways of doing this, and a cheaper alternative to actually fixing leaks, is to reduce the supply pressure in the system.

It’s simple - if there’s less pressure, there is less leakage.

But what about our water pressure at home? Don’t we pay our water companies to provide us with decent water pressure?

The answer is ‘not really’. Water companies are obliged to provide us with an uninterrupted supply of clean, potable (or ‘drinking’) water which is free from dangerous substances and a minimum static pressure of 0.7 bar.

Shower with running water Disappointing water pressure is a common problem in the UK

0.7 bar, is not a lot of pressure. When you think of a really good shower that you’ve perhaps had in a hotel the pressure is normally over 2 bar.

You may find that your water pressure is fine when you just have a single shower on, but as soon as someone turns on a tap elsewhere your pressure drops significantly. Disappointing water pressure is a growing complaint for home owners, especially with the increased trend for rain head showers, but the water companies in the UK are under absolutely no obligation to do anything to increase your pressure if you have the statutory 0.7 bar. This is not even enough for most combi boilers to operate efficiently.  

The only real option for homeowners is to fit a pump system to increase water pressure. However, it is very important to select the right system for your property.

Head shower with running water Booster systems allow multiple showers to run at high pressure and flow

What system do I need?

This depends on the water requirements of your property - usually how many of what type of showers you have, and what sort of water system you currently have. If you do not currently have a cold water tank in your property you may need to have one installed as part of the boosting system. This is because water byelaws in the UK prohibit the direct connection of pumps to the water mains which draw at a rate of more than 12 litres/minute, only about enough for one shower. If you do only have one shower, then there are special pumps which are limited to 12 litres/minute should provide a modest boost to your pressure - ask our team about these if you are interested.

If you have a combi boiler, the flow rate that your system can sensibly operate will be limited by the boiler's capacity, as it will only be able to heat water at a certain rate. Your boiler's technical specification sheet should tell you the maximum flow rate it can operate at. When sizing a pump, this needs to be taken into consideration.

If you have a hot water tank in your property you may be able to install a pressure boosting pump at your incoming mains, but only unvented cylinders are suitable for this. If you aren't sure which you have, check with the manufacturer or your installer.

How do I go about sizing or specifying a system?

There are calculations that need to be done to work out what sort of system you need, so the best thing to do is get in touch with one of our sales advisors who will be happy to help select the right system for you and your property.

Get in touch and our team will be happy to assist you.