Shower Switch Not Working? Here are 6 Solutions

There are numerous reasons a shower switch may fail to work. Our troubleshooting guide covers them all and provides you with the best solutions. Here is a quick view of all the gremlins haunting your shower.

  1. Low-quality shower switch.
  2. Shower switch is overheating.
  3. Shower isolator switch malfunctioned or burned out.
  4. Pull cord shower switch needs repair.
  5. The Socket switch overheated.
  6. Poor electrical connection.

There are many different types of shower switches but their function essentially remains the same. They control the flow of electricity to your electric shower and once faulty, can mess everything up. Our guide looks at all the solutions you need to enjoy a hot shower again in no time!


1. Low-Quality Shower Switch

Cheap switches are notorious for both overheating and suffering from malfunctions. If you find that the switch has inferior quality, get the best one that you can afford and replace the old one. You will enjoy a shower that works perfectly for years to come.

Indeed, it’s really essential to resist the urge to go for a cheaper brand or to buy a switch without being 100 percent sure that it’s a high-quality product.


2. The Switch Is Overheating

Faulty or loose connections can cause a shower switch to overheat. This common problem prevents a shower switch from working because the heat causes the plastic and wires to melt. This disruption interferes with the flow of the electricity and the switch fails to function properly.

A surefire sign that the switch is overheating is when you see smoke or smell something burning. Unscrew the case to have a closer look (but remember to turn off the power source before you tamper with electrical devices and wiring). If this is the issue, the switch has to be replaced.

If you wish to install the best quality electric shower products, check out this post on The 10 Best Electric Shower Reviews In The UK (2021) for product reviews and detailed guides.


3. The Shower Isolator Switch Malfunctioned or Burned Out

If the shower isolator switch overheats, it can malfunction and your electric shower will not function properly. Here’s a quick DIY guide to fix this problem.

  1. Turn off the main power.
  2. Unscrew the cover of the switch to expose the wires and switch.
  3. Look for visible damage such as burned and molten wires or loose connections.
  4. Make a note of what parts need replacement and purchase them from a local hardware store.
  5. Reassemble the switch after you’re done with repairs and turn on the main power.
  6. Switch on the isolator switch and check to see if it’s working.

4. The Pull Cord Shower Switch Needs To Be Repaired

Pull cord switches and isolator switches have essentially the same function, but different models of electrical showers use different switches. Both the pull cord switch and the isolator switch control the flow of electricity towards the electric shower.

Repairing or Replacing the Pull Cord Switch

Pull cord switches are mounted on the ceiling and have a cord to turn a shower on or off. When they malfunction, your shower’s performance may take a nosedive or not work at all.

Pull cord switches are often accompanied by circuit breakers or fuses in the main distribution board. Trip the breaker or remove the fuse to isolate the electrical supply.

Next, unscrew the screws using a screwdriver. Notice where each wire is connected inside the switch. After you remove the old, damaged switch, replace it with a new one and connect each wire correctly.

Fit the switch into the backplate using the screws that you removed earlier. Before you secure the cap on the switch, test the pull cord to see if it is functioning.


5. The Socket Switch Overheated

If your switch is wall-mounted, it is called a socket switch. When drawing power from the main source and the terminals in the switch are not tight, power arcing can occur. This arcing causes overheating and fire.

An easy way to tell if the switch has arced is if you smell something burning. Undersized cables that can’t bear the load of the 40-50 amps also cause arcing. Check the cable and see how much load it is able to bear.

To fix this issue, you might have to replace the entire cable if it cannot bear enough load. You might also need a new isolator or replace any wires that have melted or burned. Remember to only get high-quality products so that this highly dangerous situation is not repeated!

Electrical safeguards prevent overheating from occurring. Practice electrical safety to elongate the life of your electrical devices and reduce the chances of accidents in the electrical equipment.


6. Poor Electrical Connections

Faulty electrical connections can cause several issues. Here are the most common problems that you might encounter.

Increased Resistance

Poor electrical connections increase resistance in the switch. This resistance generates heat inside the switch or the cables. If the connections are not tightened and fixed and the switch continues to be used, this will eventually cause a short circuit.

Sticking or Welding

Welding can occur due to contamination and corrosion in the wires, creating contact resistance. A brazed joint, poor welding, and a loose rivet joint can also lead to the melting of the wires.

Poor contact alignment in the switch, mechanical problems that reduce contact force may also cause sticking. High electrical current or fluctuations in current or voltage can also cause welding of the wires.

Short Circuits

Short circuits are a fire hazard and must be fixed ASAP. The cable damage can extend to other areas of the house, causing a series of accidents in the wiring. Isolators must be installed to cut off the circuit from other cables.

If other parts of the switch that support the electrical connections are poor conductors of electricity, this can also cause a short circuit due to overheating. Ensure that the components of the switch apart from the cables such as the screws etc are also good conductors.


Avoiding Fire Hazards

Although some of these issues are minor inconveniences and can be fixed by homeowners, other issues can result in fires and electrocution. If you have even the slightest doubt regarding your capabilities or the extent of the damage, hire a professional.


If you wish to install a new electric shower, check out our post on How Much Does It Cost To Install An Electric Shower for the latest electric shower prices and models in the UK. You can also read about How To Fit An Electric Shower to do the project yourself.

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About the Author Harry Thompson

Involved in home renovations throughout his life, Harry is an expert in everything to do with home and garden DIY. In his spare time, he enjoys cooking and tending to his garden.