How To Plumb In An Electric Shower Unit For Newbies

If your bathroom has no shower and you would like to install an electric unit, you can do most of the work yourself. Though the electrical side of things is pretty straightforward, you should leave the final connections and tests to an electrician. You can do all of the plumbing and save money on labour costs, and we are going to take a look at how to do it today.

Though a professional plumber will probably use plastic pipes and push on fittings, we will do the job with good old copper pipes and compression joints. You will see how easy it is, and there is little that can go wrong. If the project develops a leak that you cannot fix, there are plenty of professionals out there that can put it right for you.

Before you start, I advise you to check the water pressure. If it is too low, the shower will not function.

Mount The Unit

Read the manufacturers instructions to find the correct height for the shower unit. Remove the front cover first. The fixing screws are often on the top and bottom. You will also need to lever the plastic out of the middle of the knobs and remove the screws that hold them in place. When the cover is off, you can see the holes you need to use for the fixing screws. Use whatever fixings are appropriate for the wall to mount the unit.

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Steven Depolo

Water Supply

You need to connect the shower unit to the pressurised cold water supply. There are several locations for it. You have the option to:


  • Run the pipe upwards into the loft and connect to the header tank supply in the loft.
  • Run the pipe to the sink and connect to the cold water supply to the tap.
  • Run the pipe to below the bath and connect it there.
  • There is a cold water supply to the toilet cistern; you can connect to that.


The inlet to the shower unit often features a compression joint. You must undo the large nut and remove it. Inside, you will find a metal ring called an olive. Slide the nut onto the pipe first, followed by the ring. Push the pipe into the shower unit and tighten the nut. It will crush the olive onto the pipe and make a watertight seal. Some people prefer to wrap the olive with PTFE tape before tightening it.

The rest of the compression joints work in the same way. You must fix pipes from the shower unit to the water supply using elbow joints and straight joints where necessary. At the point of final connection, you use a T joint. Turn off the water supply and open the taps to drain the system. Cut a section of pipe out of the cold water feed and install the joint.

You can now leave the electrician to do their part before reassembling the unit and trying it out.

A new shower is one of those fantastic jobs that only take one day. It is a useful feature too, and the whole family will benefit from it. Try it yourself; it isn’t as hard as you might think.


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