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When we bought our new house a few years ago, we discovered to our dismay that the shower that was fitted had an aversion to hot water. It was a cheap generic brand that was fitted all across the estate when it was built and we found that we couldn't find a replacement thermostat to repair it. However, a few months later we finally got around to purchasing a new one, and the model we went for is the Mira Gem 88.
Mira are one of the best-known suppliers of showers both here in the UK and abroad, and so any problems could be easily fixed, as replacement parts are plentiful. The Gem 88 is a simple mixer shower, as we didn't want the extra expense of having electricity supplied to either a power shower of electric one. We purchased it from B&Q for £220, although I am sure you can get one in most hardware stores or on the internet and probably a few quid cheaper than we paid.
As we know nothing about plumbing we asked a local one to do the honours, which took a couple of hours and then we were ready with our shiny new Gem 88. It is not suitable for people with combination boilers installed in their house but is fine with the gravity fed systems that most people still have. The shower has adjustable fittings from 149mm to 154mm meaning that it should fit onto any pipe configuration if you already have a shower installed. The shower also uses Mira's anti lime scale technology meaning it is safe to use even in areas with very hard water supplies without taking any other measures.
The shower is installed on the wall, and has an all chrome finish. It is also available in an all white finish, but this wouldn't have fitted into our colour scheme. It has an easy to adjust handle for temperature control, an adjustable showerhead, and convenient hose retainer and soap dish. In addition there is a neat little hook which holds the shower head in position and so there are no pipes dangling all over the place. All of this looks very smart, without being too bulky as some showers can be. There are 4 different spray patterns that the shower head can dispense, these being standard flow, soothing flow, a forceful flow and a water saving reduced flow, ideal for all of you with a water meter, or large family wanting to use it. I will say here that with our gravity fed system that the reduced flow doesn't seem to be any less than the standard flow, but I'm guessing this is dependant on the plumbing present in the individual property. It says on the instructions, (although again it means nothing to me!!) that the minimum pressure is 0.1 bar, right through to 5.0 bar and if the pressure is still not enough for you, it is fully compatible with a standard pump which can be installed in the attic next to the water tank at a later date quite simply by any reputable plumber.
The control of the water temperature is very easy, using the traditional red and blue colouring to depict hot and cold, with a simple handle being turned clockwise to turn the shower on and a dial being turned to alter the temperature. In addition the shower responds to the changes on the dial quickly so there is no risk of burning as with some showers which don't react and then go mega hot thirty seconds later!
The shower also comes with a one year guarantee giving you the piece of mind that you will not have another hefty bill if anything goes wrong, and being one of the largest suppliers of showers, any problems can be easily sorted due to the availability of spare parts and the familiarity that most plumbers have with this brand.
To sum up, I would recommend this shower to anyone who would prefer a mixer shower over an electric one, or for anyone who cannot have a power shower installed due to the size of their hot and cold water tanks. It provides an invigorating shower, at a decent pressure and looks very stylish up on our bathroom wall as well as offering the peace of mind that a large reputable company can.
Thanks for reading and this review can also be found on Ciao under my same username.
Mira Gem 88 Shower
Having moved from a flat where we only had a freestanding shower and no bath I am now loving the fact that our brand new flat has both a bath and an over bath shower. I have taken a few baths but being on the large pregnant size it is a bit of a tight squeeze and therefore I have stuck to mostly having showers. The shower fitting was of course already in place and the shower unit that was used was this Mira Gem 88 shower and I couldnt be more pleased with it.
The instruction booklet that comes with the shower has nothing of any real use inside it for me particularly as the information inside is that only of the fitting and instillation instructions. The booklet is quite comprehensive and does give a good detailed guide on how to install and to use the shower correctly. There are two booklets given and one is just giving details on the shower control unit and the other gives full details on the unit as a whole. I have had a quick scan through both booklets but as I say there is nothing here of any importance if your unit has come already installed.
To look at the shower it does look very neat and tidy. You are able to get this particular shower type in either silver finishing or in white, ours is in a white colour and this is good with me as it makes the bathroom appear clean and fresh which is just how I like it. The overall look of the shower is really that of a simple one, with basic functions and a standard size showerhead spray.
The showerhead spray has the ability to be used in a series of three different spray settings each giving a different amount of water and soaking ability. The three settings are start, sooth and force. Of course just from their names you are able to pretty much guess how each setting performs. The start mode comes out as a standard water spray giving you a good area of water coverage and a fast but not too powerful water spray. The sooth setting gives a lesser amount of water at a far more softer spray force and this in my opinion is far too gentle and nothingy for my liking. The final setting force does exactly what it says and comes out with pure force giving the ability to spray away not only dirt but the aches and pains of the day. This setting is one of my favourites and with the water turned up nice and hot it can really force away all of the days stresses and strains from a lot of muscles especially those in the back area.
The showerhead is held up on the wall with an adjustable arm that is fixed tight and very sturdy in both looks and when moving the showerhead up and down to the desired levels. On this arm there is a soap dish of a standard size so that only one bar of soap is really all that can be put onto it and this can be moved easily from left to right positioning. Another great feature is the shower hose holder. This little fitting sits under the soap dish and tucks away nicely holding the shower hose in place so that it does not get in the way when you are washing.
The final part of the shower unit is the separate shower control. This sits nicely on the tiles below the showerhead arm and a few inches down from the soap dish. This is a bulky white control that just to look at you are able to see is very simple and easy to use. There is really only a couple of things you can do with it and they are being able to turn the water on and this is done by twisting round the dial from a nine o clock position anticlockwise to the twelve o clock position. Of course you can have the water not fully turned on to give the whole shower less power but this is not something I do and therefore it is always turned to twelve o clock when in use. The second option is to turn the water temperature up or down. The temperature setting dial is positioned as the water power one was and sits when off in the nine o clock position, however this dial can be turned to cold water but twisting clockwise to twelve o clock or to the hottest water setting by giving an anticlockwise turn to the six o clock position.
The whole part of the shower control is easy to use and easy to understand. The cold and hot water is of course depicted by the blue and red colourings to either side of the nine o clock position so you really cant go wrong. The good thing I like about this shower as opposed to my old one is that when turning the water pressure off after you have finished your shower there is no chance of you getting hit with cold water as the movement of turning both dials around to the off nine o clock position is smooth and quick ensuring that the water stays the same temperature as you had previously had it set to.
All in all I have had many showers with this unit now and I can say I am really pleased with it. Of course I did not buy or fit the unit myself so I could not say how difficult it was to install but I do know after doing a little research that the cost of the shower unit as a whole is somewhere in the region of £180 if you are looking to buy and install yourself. As the shower is so simple to use and really does not have that many functions or special features, I could really not see it being that difficult to install if you know what you are doing.
I think at that price the whole shower unit really is a good price for what you are getting. The shower is simple yes but highly effective and really how many special features would you need in a shower unit anyway?? I would recommend this to everyone, as the shower is simple, clean and snazzy looking at a great price.