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Shower pump- keeps breaking. Help!

(10 Posts)
sophie150 Mon 08-Jun-15 08:49:33

Hi. We have a tank type boiler and a rain shower which requires a pump.
We've been through about 4 pumps in 5 years and the last pump has just gone this morning and we've only had it 6 months!
Are they just rubbish or are we doing something to kill them? Would we be better off with a combi (would this mean no pump?) we've only had the boiler about 6 years though and there's nothing wrong with it so loathed to go to the expense to change!

PigletJohn Mon 08-Jun-15 09:19:24

I gather you have a hot water cylinder, and a cold tank, perhaps in the loft. How big is it?
How much higher than the shower outlet is the cold water tank?

How long do your showers last?

Do you sometimes get air pumping through the shower mixed with the water?

What is wrong with the pumps when they are broken?

sophie150 Mon 08-Jun-15 09:28:03

Thanks piglet john! Yep in the loft. We have a largeish cylinder and two plastic tanks. Showers are 5 - 10 mins. We do run out of water occasionally which lets air into the pump so we're quite careful not to let the water run out, but it probably happens once a month. I did wonder whether we knacker the pump getting the air out when this happens. The tank is almost directly above the bathroom.
No idea what is wrong with the pumps. No plumber has ever said- they've just replaced them. Definitely not the fuse as it's not a sudden death - you can feel them dying slowly over a couple of weeks as the water pressure gets less and less.

PigletJohn Mon 08-Jun-15 11:39:58

what size is the larger plastic loft tank? (the round thing in the airing cupboard is not a tank, it is a cylinder)

It may have a capacity embossed on the side, in litres or gallons.

Lift the lid (it should have one). Is there dirt, drowned wildlife, bits of insulation wool at the bottom or in the outlet pipe? If there is no lid, measure the top of the tank with a tape measure, and buy a lid from a DIY shed or plumbing place. Note the brand of the tank if visible. Observe if the limescale tidemark is a couple of inches below the overflow pipe hole neat the top of the tank.

Observe the float. Look for a way to tie it up (often a nail or hook will be in the roof timber above, from last time) with a piece of string to prevent it filling the tank. Tie it up and run the cold tap to half-fill the bath. Then take a bucket into the loft, hold it under the ballcock, undo the string, time how long it takes to fill the bucket, calculate how many litres per minute it delivers. If there is a valve on the pipe to the ballcock, first turn it fully open then half a turn back. It does not matter if that makes the ballcock noisy, that's easily fixed.

Getting air in the pump will wear it out faster.

PigletJohn Mon 08-Jun-15 23:04:55

just remembered:

do you know how to clean out the filters in your pump? Have a look in the instructions. It would be not very funny if the poor flow resulted from filters clogged with lime or sediment. This is especially likely if you have iron pipes, hard water, or a dirty cold tank.

mamadoc Mon 08-Jun-15 23:30:04

This kept happening to us and it seemed to be due to the pump getting clogged with lime scale (very hard water area). On our plumber's advice we got a filter and (touch wood) no problems since.

sophie150 Thu 11-Jun-15 09:07:44

Ooh thanks both Will take a look re the lime scale.
. We can't see in the tank unfortunately as its in a built in cupboard on a shelf up high- would be difficult to see up there. It does hVe a lid though and has been checked recently when a plumber came to fit a lid.
I think the air point is probably the most likely. We'll have to be super careful about not letting the water run out.

PigletJohn Thu 11-Jun-15 09:09:51

measure it please.

If it is in a cupboard I deduce it is quite small.

Why is there a cupboard in the loft? Has it been converted to a habitable room?

sophie150 Thu 11-Jun-15 09:26:16

It is a very big floor to ceiling cupboard which goes across most of the end wall in the loft. We had the plastic tank replaced with a much bigger one when we got the shower.

The people who lived here before were a bit strange and put in velux windows, boarded it etc even though it only has ladder access. The fact that this has made for a very draughty loft space and loft hatch is another issue!

PigletJohn Thu 11-Jun-15 19:02:09

you could add a second tank to double the capacity, linked together with two pipes.

The supply pipe must go into one tank, and the draw from the other, so there will be movement of fresh water. They must be at the same level.

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