Today didn’t start as expected. The top of the tap on the kitchen sink broke away, turning it from a tap to an indoor fountain. The copper in the, 8 years old, tap had eroded to the point where it was as thin as foil.
So work started late, delayed by emergency plumbing. It should have been a simple job. I selected a tap online from Screwfix that appeared to be substantially the same as the original, so that there would be the least potential difficulty. It didn’t work out that way.
The new tap is subtly different than the original. To be fair on the whole it appears to be better engineered than the original. Unfortunately it was let down by a slightly deficient fixing bracket and accompanying rubber pad. The fixing bracket reached less than 2/3 the way around the underside of the tap. It proved impossible to tighten the tap firmly in place so that it was fixed solidly to the kitchen sink. Although time consuming, fortunately I was able to reuse the bracket and ‘O’ ring from the old unit to make a secure fixing. Much time was wasted getting the tap fixed firmly to the kitchen sink.
The new tails supplied with the tap for connecting it to the water pipes were longer than those of the original tap, so I had to dig out a pipe cutter from the tools in the barn to shorten the copper pipes. The tails on the original tap were push fit, the new tap required a fitting on the pipe to screw the tail onto. So this required a visit to the plumbers merchant to buy a couple of fittings. I now had all the materials to get the job done. The first connection to the hot pipe went fine. However the second fitting although substantially the same had been machined too close to the flats on the body meaning that it wasn’t possible to get a standard spanner in the space available to tighten it. So a second visit to the plumbers merchant was required to find a more sensibly machined fitting. Finally with the correctly manufactured version of the fitting I was able to get the job done.
Because of the design compromise saving a few pence on the fixing bracket and the poor quality control in the manufacturing of the fittings, what should have been a simple job taking less than an hour took more than twice that time. This may be one reason why plumbing is so expensive and also might be a reason that we have such low productivity in the UK.