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  • Planning a loft conversion?

    Any new living space that requires a water supply must take into account how that water is going to be powered, which is where Salamander’s extensive range of booster pumps comes into the design equation.

    Despite certain limits and conditions, a loft conversion is considered to be a permitted development and does not require an application for planning permission*. Creating additional roof space is restricted and the integrity of the existing roof and materials must be maintained. However, apart from responsibly dealing with bats (which are a protected species), there is little that stands in the way of creating extra living space in the loft where, typically, up to 30% of a property’s potential space is located. A conversion project will therefore provide a significant amount of extra room that can be used for a wide variety of accommodation. More often than not, a second bathroom or bedroom en-suite will add most value to the property. Ask any estate agent. Many credible sources estimate that a professional loft conversion can increase a house’s value by between 10-20%.

    Researching loft conversion ideas is not difficult thanks to the internet. Most sites focus on how easy it is and, if water is involved, recommend switching to a space saving high pressure system, with design advice on ‘statement’ baths, ‘wall mounted’ taps and ‘deluge head’ showers. It is, nevertheless, important to bear in mind that conversion plans may be complicated, especially when more water is needed. Crucially important is whether the existing plumbing system can cope with the additional heating or plans to add a shower, bath or WC. Is the boiler capacity up to the job and is the water pressure good enough to get sufficient flow to the roof space? The removal or re-siting of tanks and cylinders is a major consideration, structurally as well as in terms of cost.

    When it comes to water pressure, we will quickly ‘switch off’ from websites that default to boring technical specifications and installation manuals!

    So, how can homeowners answer such critical questions? For help, go to www.waterpressureproblems.com which takes a consumer logically through what causes low or erratic water pressure, how to identify your plumbing system and then how to fix the problem. With highly engaging content, this user friendly site prompts a request for more information or even a follow up call from a recommended plumber. The key interactive element is an improvised water flow test that will indicate how many litres of water per minute are coming through the taps and, therefore, whether a mains booster or simple shower pump can help.

    Ever since noise was identified as a legal nuisance in 1960, designers, planners and inventors have had to build acceptable noise levels into their calculations.

    Fitting a universal or specific shower pump to a low pressure gravity system or a mains booster pump to a high pressure combi system, is by far the most cost effective way of pushing a greater volume of water to the new roof space or around the whole house. Up to now, however, noise levels of continuously rated pumps have been a barrier, certainly when it comes to installations in smaller living spaces like the loft or attic. Quiet Mark is an international stamp of approval from the UK Noise Abatement Society recognising technology that has been designed to reduce noise. The award of Quiet Mark to Salamander’s HomeBoost pump is therefore an official endorsementthat it is one of the quietest products in its category.

    Launched in 2012, HomeBoost, quite literally, reshaped the shower pump market and, still, leads the way in domestic mains booster pump technology.Where there is poor water pressure in the home, HomeBoost can be fitted directly onto the incoming mains water supply to increase water flow up to a constant 12 litres per minute, compliant with the latest water fitting regulations (to find out more go to www.Home-Boost.co.uk). The pump senses variations in incoming water pressure and only works when the water pressure falls below 12 litres per minute, making it a very economical solution for an increasing number of UK households experiencing water pressure problems.Smart technology keeps noise to a minimum with no detriment to performance level.

    If you are just supplying one or two showers, there is nothing to beat Salamander’s CT Xtra and its brass equivalent, CT Force. These are shower specific pumps which are premium products for simple installations

    Also using this pioneering technology, Salamander’s next generation of CT shower pumps shares some state of the art design and performance features which critically lower vibration and noise to unheard of levels. Well …almost!

    Often the noise of the running pump is transmitted through the surface that the pump is mounted on which, in a loft conversion, is most likely to be floorboards that can amplify the sound of the motor. All models in the CT range have anti-vibration feet which are specially designed to absorb any vibration generated by the pump. Furthermore, advanced engineering has minimized vibration and maximized active cooling which improves the pump’s performance to reduce component wear and, therefore, noise transmission.

    While property prices remain prohibitive, homeowners will continue to look for ways to improve their existing homes and add extra space where they can. Loft conversions are an obvious consideration especially since new regulations (2011) enable the majority of people to carry out this sort of development without having to obtain planning permission from the local council**. Access, headroom and structural safety are always important considerations but an extra bedroom with shower or bath still offers the best return on investment.

    The implications of using more water, though, are considerable. Loft conversions can be a great home improvement but if there is low water pressure, it’s unlikely that you will get the experience you want from en suite facilities at the top of the house. To make your water perform you must include a pressure pump as part of the design and installation. If you decide a pump can boost water circulation to avoid having to change the whole plumbing system (which could double the project cost) then the choice of Salamander Pumps offers the best solution for most plumbing systems.

    Salamander_Logo_CMYKVisit www.salamanderpumps.co.uk/pumps for more information and advice on selecting the right pump or call 0191 516 2002

    *Building Regulations approval is required to convert a loft or attic into a liveable space

    **If roof space is restricted and you need to install a dormer window, planning permission will be needed

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