This is a very common question we get asked by customers. And unfortunately there are so many different options out there that it’s difficult to know what’s best for your particular situation. There are only 2 real options as far as we’re concerned. Anything else that “claims” to increase your water pressure, might do so, but very poorly and the difference will be almost unnoticeable. Trust me, we’ve tried and testes them all, and sometimes have even been asked to take them out after a week or two, because all they do is wake the neighbours, and don’t actually boost the water pressure at all.
We wrote this article last Summer on the subject, view article, as pretty much everything in the article still holds true. Your 2 main options are
1. Increasing your cold water main
2. Fitting a ‘break tank’ (cold water storage tank) + booster pump
Lets assume that upgrading the cold water mains isn’t an option OR has already been done but made no difference. So the best option is to find a place in your home to fit a cold water storage tank + a booster pump (See picture of one of our plumbers Markus, fitting the pump. Gives you an idea of how much space you’ll need for the pump). The MAIN issue for us is finding the space for this, and also every home in South West London is different, their plumbing systems are different, they might have:
- a combi boiler – that is fed straight off of the incoming cold water mains – can be very difficult to do anything about the water pressure in this situation, because a combi boiler CAN only produce hot water at a certain rate. So boosting it up past that rate is a waste of time, and money. Often it means a new boiler / system.
- they might have a pressurized system boiler and a vented hot water cylinder in the airing cupboard – Again can be very difficult to sort out, and would typically require a new UNVENTED hot water cylinder, as well as a booster pump + break tank. the boiler is fine, and we can re-use that, the main drawback is that we can’t boost the water pressure to a ‘vented’ / old school hot water cylinder.
- or a pressurized system boiler and a pressurised, unvented hot water cylinder in the airing cupboard (eg Megaflo, which actually require a flow rate of 20 litres per minute, as a minimum, coming into them – and all to often we get called out to jobs where the customer only has 12 l/min coming into the property? And that’s shared between all the outlets, so if someone turns the dishwasher on while you’re in the shower…you’re going to know about it) – this is what we like to see in a property, because all we need to do now is find a place to fit a booster pump + break tank and we can boost the water to the cylinder (and thus all the hot water outlets), and to the rest of the house.
- or a totally electric system, where the hot water is heated and stored in a tank / cylinder, with electric storage heaters on the walls to heat the rooms – again, quite good to see, as we could possibly do the same as above.
There are probably a few more variations / combinations of these, but your get the picture, there are so many different heating and hot water systems out there so there pricing up a job without actually doing a thorough investigation is very difficult.
As well as varying heating / hot water systems, the incoming cold water mains will vary too – people might still have the old lead water main running into their property, with the old “Victorian” stopcock in the pavement. The bore on that pipe will probably be so furred up from lime scale & hard water in London, that you won’t be getting great flow rates through it anymore. Even if it wasn’t furred up / scaled up on the inside, it’s generally not wide enough anyway, to give you the flow rates you need.
On top of that every home in South West London will have varying incoming cold water pressure and flow rates – and this to be honest, is the biggest hurdle we plumbers face, when trying to help customers wake up to a better shower in the mornings.
This article is still a work in progress, but please follow this link to read more on the subject…
We wrote this article last Summer on the subject, view article, as pretty much everything in the article still holds true.
Here is also a nice case study where we boosted the water pressure to a large 5 bedroom Victorian house in Clapham / Battersea, on one of the roads adjacent to Clapham Common.
And if you have any questions at all, please give us a call on 02077388967 or drop us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll do our best to answer them.