Friday, April 20, 2007

Bark: Ignorance really *is* bliss

... especially where plumbing is concerned. As Fleur was mildy concerned about the fairly odd noise the new shower was making (a kind of cross between hissing and whizzing), we arranged for a plumber to come around to give us the benefit of a professional opinion. The good news was that the noise was pretty much what I'd thought it was: the impeller in the power shower pump spinning, because there's an imbalance between the hot and cold water pressure. Nothing to particularly worry about, but something that would eventually lead to the pump motor breaking and SHOWER DEATH, as we found out that because of the water system we have, the shower we used to have (and as a consequence of that one being installed, the one I bought to replace it also) isn't actually designed to be used with our plumbing set up as it's essentially directly connected to the water mains. Great.

I have figured out a way to stop the noise and minimise the damage to the impeller motor; simply by closing the flow valve on the pipe to the shower to prevent the cold water cycling back down the hot water pipe - which also has the added benefit of preventing cold water backflowing into the hot water tank, cooling down our hot water and wasting a load of energy. It does mean we have to make an extra step to turn the valve back on again whenever we want a shower, but I can live with that. It was also nice to be told that Charles and I did a good job with the installation of the shower and didn't fuck anything up. Okay, so the type of shower itself is utterly inappropriate for our water system, but there's no way I could have known that - given that it was precisely the same type of shower that had been previously installed and that had given us over six years of trouble-free operation. It's not like installing it will affect the rest of the plumbing, it's just that the water pressure imbalance will eventually wreck the pump - but given that I reckon the old shower lasted a good 15 years plus, it's not something I immediately need to be concerned about. I'm sure we'll get our money's worth out of it.

No, what's more concerning is that the plumber didn't have any idea what was causing water to trickle out of the overflow in the bath, which is something that's clearly been happening for quite a while (judging from the limescale trail on the bath), but had never really bothered me until last week when I noticed it while I was fitting the new shower. Being naturally curious, I did some research on the internet to see if I could dig out any answers to the cause. Clearly, it's not a problem with the main waste water pipe being blocked and backing up, otherwise you'd have water bubbling out of the bath plughole long before it backed up the overflow pipe, so there must be something really strange going on. Some people seemed to think that it might be because the waste water pipe from the washing machine and the bath are connected, which wouldn't surprise me at all, because the previous owner of our flat was a real DIY cowboy. So I think I'm going to have to take the side panel off the bath this weekend and see if there's anything untoward going on with the plumbing.

Regardless of what I find under the bath tomorrow (dead bodies, a nest of rats), I decided long ago that the whole bathroom needs completely gutting and replacing, because I somehow doubt that dusky pink bathroom suites are going to come back into fashion this millennium. At the moment, you could call it a UNSP - a Unique Non-Selling Point... So I'm going to have to put aside some money to get it done - a couple of grand should do it. Unfortunately, this means that the plans for an LCD TV will need to be delayed, as a bathroom that won't flood the flat takes slightly higher priority than an HD widescreen TV, dammit.
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