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BMA issues urgent safety alert on stop-button showerheads

The Bathroom Manufacturers Association (BMA) has issued an important safety warning. Stop-button showerheads, when used with instantaneous electric showers, can cause scalding.

The latest trends on social media and online marketplaces have seen a surge in the popularity of showerheads featuring a start/stop button. While these present no issues for mixer-valve showers, which blend hot and cold water from separate systems, they can cause a significant safety hazard when used with instantaneous electric showers. Electric showers represent around half of all showers in the UK.

Electric showers function by heating cold water from the mains over electric heating elements to achieve the desired outlet temperature. UK-manufactured electric showers are tested, and third-party approved with showerheads and controls all made to UK and International standards. Showerheads not supplied with the shower unit should be approved by the shower manufacturer. This keeps electric showers safe, reliable and an energy-efficient way of showering.

Start/stop-button showerheads with instantaneous electric showers are a problem because they stop the water flow at the outlet without deactivating the heating elements. This causes the water within the appliance to overheat rapidly, potentially reaching temperatures as high as 80ۜ°C. When the shower is resumed, scalding water can be discharged under pressure due to the abnormal stop at the showerhead. Scalding water can lead to severe burn injuries.

Under normal operation and with the manufacturer’s supplied showerheads, instantaneous electric showers have several safety devices installed to ensure safe operation.

The BMA is concerned that too few suppliers of start/stop-button showerheads are providing clear warnings not to use their products with instantaneous electric showers. Clear advice should be provided both at the point of sale and in the product instructions. The association is collaborating with Trading Standards authorities to make consumers aware of the dangers of this type of showerhead being incorrectly installed.

The BMA advises consumers to consult the shower manufacturer’s website if there is any uncertainty about their shower type. They encourage consumers to exercise caution and prioritise safety when purchasing and installing new bathroom accessories. They advise not to use start/stop type showerheads with electric showers.

Trading Standards advises that if you have purchased a product that you think may be unsafe, stop using it immediately and report it to Trading Standards via Citizens Advice Consumer Service at 0808 223 1133.


Notes: Read the electrical showerhead with stop function technical summary

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