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Running out of showers

The best shower in the house is, or rather was, the one in the extension. It’s a mixer shower, built into the wall, and since we upgraded the hot water system to be full mains pressure, it made for a very good invigorating shower. Unfortunately, there was something of a design flaw with the mixer unit – in hard water areas such as this, the workings periodically got gunged up with limescale, making it very stiff to turn on and off, and also causing it to leak. I don’t mind the occasional dribble down the outside of the unit, but I recently noticed some cracked grouting which makes me think it’s probably been leaking behind the tiles as well. There are no “user serviceable parts inside”, so I couldn’t take the unit apart to de-scale it. When it got stiff, the only option was to put more effort into forcing the valve open – a practice that worked fine right up until the point that the metal control lever simply sheared off in my hand! Metal fatigue, by the look of it, and it left a nasty scratch on my thumb, as well as leaving the shower half-on, with no easy means of turning it off!

I eventually managed to get a grip on the remains of the control lever and forced the shower off – fortunately it was always easier to turn off than on. I looked out the instruction booklet from when it was installed, which had a list of spare part numbers, and called out my usual plumber to give me a quote for repairing it. That was several weeks ago, and I’ve been in regular contact with him since then trying to get it resolved. It turns out that, although the shower is only about 8 years old, the manufacturer has discontinued it and the spare parts are no longer available. I’m going to have to have an entire new unit. Plus the plumber will only quote for a straightforward installation. If, when he removes the old shower, he finds that there has been a serious and substantial leak, that will cost extra to make good. I’ve now given the go ahead for him to order the new parts, and I hope he’ll be able to install it later this month. Hopefully without too many nasty surprises.

It’s not been terribly urgent to get it fixed/replaced, because I’ve got an electric shower in my en suite bathroom which is entirely adequate for a few weeks use. Ok, it’s not as powerful as the broken one, but Christopher and I relied on it for years before we got the extension built, and I’ve been quite happy using it as a temporary measure. That was until the plastic clip that supports the shower head suddenly sheared off yesterday morning. I’ve tried to mend it using super glue, gorilla glue, and even lots of gaffer tape, but it’s well and truly broken and won’t hold the shower head in place any more. I’ve ordered a replacement shower riser rail assembly unit, which should do the trick, but it will require drilling through the tiles to put it up, which is well beyond my DIY capability. I’ll either have to get the plumber to do that as well while he’s here, or see if Rob the decorator will do an emergency mission to fit it.

So from this morning, I’ve been reduced to using the shower above the bath in what used to be Christopher’s bathroom. At least I’m fortunate to have such a wide selection of showering possibilities!  I’m being very careful not to even look at it funny, in case some critical piece of plumbing decides to spontaneously shear off, as I now have no further fallbacks…….. It has also made me realise that the shower curtains in that bathroom are beginning to perish, so I’ll have to replace those or else I’ll be risking a flood. 

Oh well. I suppose I could say “It never rains but it pours”, which is a pretty accurate way of summing up the current circumstances!

{ 2 } Comments

  1. pauld | 15 September 2016 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    be careful and watch out for unexpected pipework hidden away behind the tiles and plaster. We got some pipes that I know go through 90 degree turns (i can only guess left not right) so i’m very carefull drilling anywhere.

  2. Gillian | 16 September 2016 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    Good point. And it’s an electric shower so there’s a big mains cable in there somewhere too. And since the MEB electricians who originally installed it were cowboys (they drilled right through the side of my fridge, and put a junction box directly below a joint in the pipework so that if it leaked it would short everything out!) I don’t trust them not to have put the cable in a non-obvious place.