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The running costs of seven different types of shower are compared here.

shower or power shower which is cheaper
 Energy Saving:  120 - 1100 kWh each year
 Money Saving:   £22.44 -  £293.857 each year
 CO2 Saving:  25.2kg - 403.7kg each year
 Comment:  Aviod immersion heated power showers
 Energy range that could be saved with this measure.
 Money Savings range you could have employing this measure.
 Carbon Dioxide emission range that could be saved with this measure.

How much does it cost to have a shower?

Power showers can be expensive; depending on how the water is heated for the shower. What you may not appreciate is the amount different types of shower will cost you to run. The table below shows seven types.

Seven types of shower, their running costs and CO2 emissions.
Type of shower Cost of 10 minute shower
(Carbon Dioxide Emissions)
Cost of a shower a day for a year
(Carbon Dioxide Emissions)
Electric shower 8.5 kW £0.266
Electric shower 10.5 kW £0.327
Low flow shower gas heated water in cylinder £0.104
Low flow shower electric heated (immersion) water in cylinder £0.497
Power shower using gas heated stored water £0.248
Power shower using electric immersion heater £1.189
Combi boiler power shower 30kW £0.217

What may surprise you is that power showers which use gas to heat the water cost about the same as a high powered electric shower to operate, the high power electric shower however will be less forceful. The “same cost, more force” aspect is simply due the lower cost of Gas per kWh.

As an observation, it may in spite of this, be sensible to have an electric shower in case the gas boiler fails. It will also use less water, if that is a concern where you live.

The very cheapest option is just to use a mixer valve off the gravity fed water from a hot water cylinder, where a gas boiler has been used to heat the water, this is only strictly true if you use the full cylinder of hot water over a day or so, otherwise the heat is simply lost to the house. Lag your cylinder well

The key tip here is do not use an electric immersion heater to heat water it costs a fortune!

The tips here are based only on running cost however it is worth noting that if you are deciding whether to install, for example an electric shower instead of using immersion heated water, it will take you 8 to 12 years to pay back the investment, by which time the shower will have broken and you will be onto a second one! Mind you installing a replacement will be much cheaper, since the initial costs include all the wiring and labour.

Please note that the calculations in the above table include an efficiency factor for heat losses in hot water cylinders.

Comments and Questions

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reply - rdh  2017-10-09 14:52:18
In theory the shower costs nothing if all the energy is provided by the solar panels. But was all the PV electricity spare, and do you sell back to the grid on a feed in tariff scheme?
miss - sylvia  2017-10-08 17:54:20
how much for gravity shower if emersion is powered by an iboost from solar panels?
reply - rdh  2017-10-09 14:52:56
In theory the shower costs nothing if all the energy is provided by the solar panels. But was all the PV electricity spare, and do you sell back to the grid on a feed in tariff scheme?
Mrs - Karen  2017-02-19 07:58:07
Hi please can you help?wehave a electric showered keep the blue light on even when not in use, we been told this doesn't use much electric,is this true
Kind regards
reply - rdh  2017-02-20 12:14:44
Yes this is correct. Power is only consumed when water flows.
Mr - John  2016-02-06 22:15:26
Could you tell me which would be cheaper to run, please - an electric shower, or a shower using water heated by a LPG modern combi boiler? I realise that an exact comparison would be difficult, but a general indication would be really helpful - I haven't been able to find an answer anywhere!
Kind regards, john
Power shower Vs Electric shower with Solar PV panels - Dr M S Iyer  2013-04-22 11:10:00
I wonder whether anyone has looked into how an electric shower compares with a power shower if both are operated with a 3.84Kwh solar PV panel system
Reclaiming energy from water cylinder's excess hot water? - Les C  2011-11-22 07:35:53
You stated: "this is only completely true if you use the full cylinder of hot water over a day or so, otherwise the heat is simply lost to the house." Are you aware of any technology that can reclaim back that energy which is stored as excess heat in the cylinder but not needed for bathing or laundrey? I'm looking at ways of making householders aware of this form of wasted energy. Any ideas? Keep up the good work. Les C
Reclaiming energy from water cylinder's excess hot water? - Richard  2011-11-22 13:01:47
Hi Les It is very difficult to recover low levels of heat. Transferring the heat should be possible with losses. I worked a bit with this company 10 years ago, their heat transfer pipes certainly work, but are probably expensive. http://www.thermacore.co.uk. The ideal I guess is to transfer low level heat to electricity, I found this which may offer a route in the future http://www.rsc.org/chemistryworld/News/2011/May/03051103.asp Tell me if you find anything, I'd be interested. Cheers Richard
Power showers - David  2010-08-25 10:34:39
The advantage of a well designed or set up power shower (gas heated or indirect tank heated), is that the actual volume of water, thus usage/heating requirements can be quite low by using only needle jets (fine spray), however the high pressure compensates by wetting and massaging you just as much. My (cheap) shower rose has both needle and normal jets but with a good pump, the feel is still better than large jets and / or gravity fed, thus costs can be kept low or lower than gravity fed and the feel good factor is higher. Experimenting by plugging the shower tray drain. the factor difference of water consumption is about 8 to 1per minute...quite a saving. The only down side is needle jets calcify quickly, so a caustic head clean is required more often.Have a play!!!