Broken shower pump? Or something worse?


Postby thereverend » Fri Mar 28, 2008 2:07 pm

Hello everyone

First of all, apologies for my lack of plumbing expertise. Hopefully, this is where one of you kind souls comes in!

Several weeks ago, my shower packed up. I live in a basement flat and had an 'old-style' boiler system with water tanks etc. The previous owners fitted a shower pump to enable a decent flow of water from the shower head. This stopped working mid-shower about 4 weeks ago, and made a 'clacking' sound when switched back on. The shower would function for maybe 2 seconds before a 'clack' and the water flow stopped.

I was told it was likely that the pump had gone but, as I was having my boiler system overhauled (new Vaillant combi boiler installed now), there was no need for a pump as the shower pressure would be as good as the mains pressure. Hence we removed what we thought was the shower pump (small black box approx 15cmx15cmx15cm) which was attached to the hot water cylinder in the cellar during the works to install the new boiler system.

Problem sorted - or so we thought.

Unfortunately, the shower still doesn't work. Oddly, there still seems to be a(nother?) pump hidden behing the tilework in the bathroom. As previously, when I try to turn the shower on, it works for about a second (I can hear the pump kicking in), then stops abrubtly. I guess the pump is broken and, as the water flows through this before hitting the shower, will need to be removed before I can get the shower to work.

Unfortunately, the shower is 'hidden' behind tiles, so the only parts accessible are the thermostat bit and the lever itself which operates the shower.

Is my prognosis feasible? Or could it be something else - in the shower itself perhaps?

Sorry for such a long-winded message. Thank you very much for reading and I hope one of you may be able to help.
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Postby nitro23456 » Fri Mar 28, 2008 7:03 pm

if you have a combi boiler now you shouldnt be pumping mains pressure water. I am not convinced you have a pump.

I presume the shower isnt electric in anyway?
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Postby htg engineer » Sat Mar 29, 2008 12:36 pm

Is there no way of getting to the pipes that feed the shower and connect straight to hot and cold, by-passing the pump ? then the pump can be left (dead) you will just need to find the electrical supply and isolate.

Check under the bath, the pipes may be tee'd in there or the pump may be there.

If there's still problems then it'll be the shower at fault, if there is a pump fitted the flow will be restricted by the pump body and impeller.

(I can hear the pump kicking in), If you can hear a pump - then there must be one there. Unless it's the boiler you can hear ?

As nitro said - you shouldn't be pumping mains water.

If you cant find the pipes feeding the shower, you may have to start removing tiles, you say the pump is behind the tiles ? boxed in ?
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Postby thereverend » Thu Apr 03, 2008 10:32 am

Mystery solved - but what a palaver! Located the pump behind a 15mm panel. had to smash our way through tiles etc to reach it - was a huge 'Windmill' branded beast screwed to a brick which was then glued onto some chipboard which in turn was screwed into a cement base.

Disconnected this and removed it... tried shower again but it still didn't work! So there was nothing wrong with the pump after all.

So dismantled the shower for a second time - and discovered that a 3/8mm washer had come lose at the end of the Lefroy Brooks on/off lever unit. Seems the washer is/was held in place by a small screw - the head of which has sheared off. Hence whenever the shower was operated, the washer worked itself lose and blocked the water flow - in effect turning the shower off.

Have managed to drill out the trapped thread with a dentist's drill (I look after folks' gnashers) amnd have now sorted the problem.

Thanks very much to both of you for your kind help - really is very much appreciated.
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