Many times as plumbers we are requested to change shower faucets. Most of the time they are what we refer to as a “retrofit” to explain a little bit, older homes have a 3 handle faucet and people nowadays have grown to enjoy a single handle style.
As with most calls Draincom receive we try to get the story as best as the customer can tell us being a non plumber.
Talking to the customers, Draincom customer support was able to determine that they were older and were having trouble due to arthritis.
To install a retrofit kit, it requires a plate and we have to open a hole in the shower wall in order to reach the piping and the old valve. Draincom received a call to have a look at a leak on a lead service pipe. Here is the full story spoken by our professional:
I of course arrived at their house and inspected the site. I determined that the wall was tiles in a fashion that was much older.
There was a lot of mortar added to the wall and tiles to square it out. I took my trusty angle grinder, marked the tiles as to where I was going to cut with the template provided, and started to cut my hole.
This is a difficult task as if the tiles get damaged beyond the trim plate there is a risk of a leak.
Now most of the time I am extremely cautious, but this time the grinder bit in a strange way and I got cut pretty badly.
Being that I had already started the job and I had first aid training, I decided to stop the bleeding and carry on.
The customer was very helpful and even helped me to dress my wound. As it has turned out, she was a retired nurse and was able to patch me back up so I could return to work!
I finished cutting the wall as I had planned , and the piping was exposed. The old piping inside was galvanized and looked fairly easy to tie into with copper.
I proceeded to turn off the water and cut out the old piping. When it comes to old threaded piping, heating it up to get it to loosen up is the preferred method.
After getting the old pipe out I started to install the new piping in copper. I soldered up two short pieces of pipe with a male adapter to join the old threaded piping.
After the installation of the piping , I soldered in the new shower valve with very little trouble. I then pressure tested the new lines, and no leaks were found.
It would have been a little embarrassing to install something new and have it leak. The new valve was measured to be dead centre of the Reno plate and it sure did line up.
I ran the new pipe for the toe tester (spout) and installed the plate. The trim plate from the new shower valve and the Reno plate was perfect , and the installation looked very good.
I installed the tester, a slip on style, and siliconed it all up nicely. After testing it and having the customer fully test and inspect everything , I had asked that they let the silicone dry for a few hours before use.
I also installed a hand shower for them, with the install of the new valve was nothing and therefore was no need to charge any extra.
When the job was completed, they were both over the moon happy with their new install and gave me a nice big tip.
Be aware that installing a new faucet can be very difficult even for the seasoned professional. If in doubt hire a plumber.