10 Ways To Add Value When Installing Care Showers

10 Ways To Add Value When Installing Care Showers

Craig Baker, Marketing Director at Mira Showers, has 10 added value features you should consider when installing ‘care showers’.

The most significant challenge facing housing design in the UK today is the rapidly ageing population. Housing design has to take account of that, particularly in that intimate and also potentially dangerous of spaces: the bathroom.

A properly designed and well-considered bathroom that meets the needs of people with different levels of mobility and capability will allow people to remain in their homes for as long as possible.

It’s important you consider what ‘added value’ features may be desirable in a care shower to either make it easier to install, saving time and money in the process; or to benefit the end user and offer them better value for money.

1. Accessible ‘dashboard’
Apart from addressing the potential reduction in mobile dexterity of users, age is also associated with a degree of visual impairment. Consequently, control areas should be uncluttered and with easy to access functions.

Tactile raised areas, large on/off buttons, backlit buttons and Mira-Showers-Car-Showersaudible clicks on temperature levers or bleeps on buttons deliver an appliance all can use. Colour contrasting panel and fittings also act as aids to navigation.

2. Ease of operation
Beyond large, obvious and ‘noisy’ buttons, rotary levers that controls temperature fitted with a ginger or hand loop can be operated easily by those with limited dexterity.

3. Assisting the carer
Extra-long slide bars which can be easily adjusted for height because the friction clamp bracket can be operated with just one hand are also features that occupational therapists consider to be ‘inclusive’. Long anti-kink hoses also enable carers to provided assisted showering. These also permit the user to sit, if that’s more comfortable for them. It also helps if slide bars are flush, so they cannot be easily mistaken for grab rails and accidentally wrenched from the wall.

4. Enhanced safety
Thermostatic temperature stability in an electric shower keeps showering safe for all the family. There are a number of mechanisms to achieve, yet advanced showers pre-empt supply variations and react to control them, before and as they occur; as opposed to reacting to a water temperature change by correcting the incoming flow of water. Available metrics for this pre-emption include incoming temperature, flow rate, outgoing temperature and position of the temperature control knob. It calculates and reacts at up to 84 times a second to control the flow rate and changes, if needed, the combination of heating elements – there are other things that it does too.

5. Long life heater
Limescale is a potential problem in around 60% of UK homes, and can greatly foreshorten the lives of electric showers. However, tank technologies exist which can minimize the effect of limescale. As with ‘thermostatic-ness’, there are a number of ways of realizing this: one good example is where the heater rods bundled is wrapped in a spiral which has a similar effect to swirling the water within the tank, thus reducing ‘hot spots’ which result in the precipitation of calcium on the elements, ultimately leading to their overheating and demise.

“Care showers are significant performers in the current shower market and as the population ages further, sales will necessarily increase. The success of care showers will also be powered by ever more accessible technology and accessible prices.”

6. Optimised flow control
Optimised flow control is important from the perspective of user comfort and convenience, as variance – whether through pressure demands elsewhere or seasonal variations in incoming water temperature – is as annoying as it is undesirable. Poor flow can often also be perceived as a fault with the shower, resulting in pointless call-backs. Look out for computer controlled models that seek to select the correct element and flow combination to ensure that the maximum available power is used, with a maximum flow limitation of 10 litres per minute; for maximum customer satisfaction.

7. Maximum temperature adjustment on user interface (UI)
Adjustable temperature limits give the option of selecting preferred maximum temperatures from up to eight different settings. It is obviously convenient for the user or their carer – within safe bounds – to be able to set their own maximum temperature limits. Where such adjustability doesn’t exist then, of course, temperature has to be set in advance in the valve assembly by the installer; and future adjustment for different users or requirements is going to be a hassle.

8. Space aware and fitter friendly
Look for a compact size that maximises the room available and gives flexibility of appliance positioning, not to mention easier adjacent siting of ancillaries like grab rails. It helps if fittings are also corner-mountable to further save space if required. 15mm brass connectors and integral earth bonding with 16mm terminal blocks are a benefit too.

9. Low pressure option
Community housing can often suffer from either low or erratic water pressure supply problems – either because of its multi-storey construction, or because of multiple demands made broadly simultaneously. Consequently, low pressure models with integral pumps – providing strong and consistent flows from head pressures as little as 80mm – should be sought.

10. Pump connectivity
A new ‘smart’ feature to be considered is wireless pairing to a waste water pump. This simplifies installing or retro-fitting a wet room in situations where a conventional gravity fed drainage system would not be feasible. The pump rate matches shower flow for more efficient drainage and reduced noise. When the shower is off, the pump can continue to clear water from the tray, while any pooled water is drained by a purge function. Fail-safe automatic shutdown also obviates the risk of flooding.

Care showers are significant performers in the current shower market and as the population ages further, sales will necessarily increase. The success of care showers will also be powered by ever more accessible technology and accessible prices. As the ‘Smart Home’ concept increasingly takes hold; users will be lining up to enjoy the same breadth of functionality that they enjoy from other appliances. Of course, any forward thinking installer will be there to exploit that – if not doing so already – but it pays to know what you or your customer is getting.

For more information visit: www.mirashowers.co.uk

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