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Help PigletJohn! Shower related.

(13 Posts)
ItOccurredToMe Tue 21-Jul-15 02:45:24

Hi PigletJohn,

You don't know me, but your reputation goes before you here on MN, so I hope you don't mind being stalked like this!

I have a drippy shower and I wondered if you might be able to shed some light on it with your MN-renowned expertise?!

It's in an upstairs bathroom, and uses the massive downstairs hot tank rather than an electric shower.

It has chrome controls about waist-height coming out from the wall. These controls turn the water supply on/off with a lever, and you can change hit/cold temperature settings with a dial in the very centre.

There is a long silver coloured pipe almost to the ceiling, where one massive shower rose sits centrally, and another (much smaller) detachable rose is clipped to the side of the long silver pipe.

Halfway down the long silver pipe is a small dial to be able to switch between the large rose and the small detachable one.

The shower controls that sit waist-height have been replaced (at a huge cost) because the compressor had failed internally. This was evidenced at first by us being unable to have sufficiently hit water, without having to run a cold water tap in the sink at the same time. Next, it became impossible to fully turn off the shower. The constant drip would end up with a massive puddle on the floor if we forgot to shut the screen doors. Eventually it just wouldn't turn off at all, so we had no choice but to replace it.

The replacement works like a dream except for one thing: it drips! It's on average one drip every 8, 3, 8, 3, seconds - so irregularly - but my concern is that these things only get worse over time. Also I live in a house full of growing forgetful boys and can't imagine they will always remember to shut the shower door, preventing a flood!

However, if I call the plumber back, it would be nice to know what's going on, either to talk with knowledge or to ascertain whether I could do something about it easily myself first!

Do you have any idea why it's dripping?

ItOccurredToMe Tue 21-Jul-15 02:50:31

Sorry , it's the mixer valve cartridge that broke, not a compressor.

Begins with a C though <runs and hides in embarrassment!>

ItOccurredToMe Tue 21-Jul-15 02:58:43

Here's a picture to help...

PigletJohn Tue 21-Jul-15 08:52:38

it depends where the drip is coming from.

If it is coming from the shower head or the mixer knob (if there is one, I can't see) then it will be the mixer valve.

Or it might be coming from where the hot and cold supply pipes go into the mixer, or come through the wall, in which case it will be a joint.

If the leak is coming through the wall, or inside the wall, it will be very tiresome, and you will be wishing you'd got a surface-mounted mixer.

ItOccurredToMe Tue 21-Jul-15 08:58:48

Thanks for answering so soon!

The leak is coming from the shower head.

If I turn the midway handle to shut of the hand-held shower head, the top large head doesn't drip. Or at least after about half an hour it starts to slowly drip, but not right away.

When I turn the handle back to the hand-held shower head, it streams a lots of water out of the removable small shower head, as though it's been building up pressure in the pipe. Then it turns back to drip again.

I have descaled the shower heads to perfection! However it has made no difference.

ItOccurredToMe Tue 21-Jul-15 09:04:06

Isn't this surface mounted? Or am I being a dumb blonde because the pipes are hidden behind the wall, making it not a surface-mounted shower?

I've enclosed a picture of the new shower closer up.

PigletJohn Tue 21-Jul-15 09:07:13

it's the mixer then.

If you are in a hard-water area, there might be scale in the body preventing the new cartridge from sealing; or it might be that the new cartridge was fitted without new sealing rings and a smear of silicone grease. Your brand may or may not supply new seals with a replacement cartridge. You can look at their Spares website to see.

There is a faint chance that the knob and cartridge might not have been assembled correctly when it was changed so that it does not quite reach the "off" position.

Identify the make and model first, then you can look at the contents of the spares pack and consult the maker about fitting instructions for a new cartridge. For example an Aqualisa cartridge costs in the region of £80. It should not be very difficult to dismantle and fix, unless you have a faulty cartridge which is very unlikely. Some manufacturers may have local service agents who will no doubt have high charges but will have all the tools, parts and experience.

PigletJohn Tue 21-Jul-15 09:12:50

yes that is a surface mounted one. It might possibly be branded John Sydney though IIRC they are actually made by one of the big manufacturers and have standard parts inside.

If you need to, have a look at showerdoc.com to identify it.

PigletJohn Tue 21-Jul-15 09:16:28

Might be made by Bristan who are a very sound company. A set of seals should be available. You can also try showerspares.com

ItOccurredToMe Tue 21-Jul-15 09:22:20

Thank you so much, you've covered all the angles beautifully.

It really does feel like it hasn't turned off properly, and needs to just turn one more notch to solve the problem. But I dare say that it could feel that way without the necessary washers too, so will ask the plumber whether seals were supplied and installed or not, and take it from there.

I really appreciate your help, what would Mumsnet do without you?!!

PigletJohn Tue 21-Jul-15 09:48:30

BTW in your second pic I think I can see brass nuts (should be chrome) and visible white sealing tape (should be inside joints and not on show) which suggests you have not got a first-class plumber.

ItOccurredToMe Tue 21-Jul-15 10:14:51

He put the wrong size fitting in because they don't make the same model and he had to get extensions. He asked for chrome but they only do brass apparently, he was hopping mad.

Because they don't fit well, there was a bit of 'give' and he eventually managed to secure it, but had to use lashings of silicone to help keep everything in place (short term).

He wants to cut in through the wall behind to adjust the pipe work in the wall, so it will be comparable with new sizes. He said that's easier to do than removing tiles in case plasterer is needed to fill in holes etc.

Something to do with 15mm or something, wasn't taking too much notice of numbers as all I hear was that the measurements are not comparable with what's sold nowadays.

Does that sound cowboy material?

ItOccurredToMe Tue 21-Jul-15 13:41:37

I've been busy PigletJohn. Some good, some not so good.

I contacted the manufacturer, who suggested that I remove the handle and turn it a few notches before replacing it.

Sounded so simple.

I did it and the drip stopped. So you were right, it just wasn't set right to turn off. But I seemed to have created a new problem with the temperature and the bloody casing is loose. I don't remember if it was loose beforehand to be honest, as I was too scared to touch it because he plumber had such a terrible job of getting it stabilised rock solid!

Anyway, I re-contacted the manufacturer who suggested I send in a photo, and decided there's a missing plastic tag inside that is designed to sort out water temperature. They're now sending a replacement without the plastic bit snapped off.

I searched high and low for the plastic bit they mentioned but couldn't find it, so I can only imagine it was broken either before it reached my house, or by the installer.

Either way, one problem fixed and a new one to be fixed when the pasts arrive!

Oh the joy! My DH is fuming at me blush but I'm secretly pleased that it's sopped dripping because DH was just going to live with a drip (not me, the shower)!!!

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